Ethics and Personal Energy

If you’re a night owl, you’re probably less ethical in the morning.

One of the elements I should have included in my “How to Get Rich” writeup is the half-psychological half-physiological component we call “personal energy,” so perhaps it’s no surprise that here we have the Harvard Business Review taking a look at it. And what they’ve noticed is something fascinating — that people behave more ethically when their energy levels are higher.

The idea is that resisting the temptations to act unethically takes self-control, and your level of self control relates to your energy level.

In this case, the researchers compared “morning people” (who tended to be more energetic in the morning) with “night owls” and found that… true to the prediction… “morning people” were more ethical in the morning, “night owls” the reverse.

Question. In light of yesterday’s conclusion that Facebook was sapping people’s energy via distraction, would this study indicate that using Facebook makes people less ethical? What about smartphones? (Could someone PLEASE do this study??)

Footnote. In “The Corporate Surveillance State” I talked about how the “corporate organism” was constantly looking for ways to make people conform, obey, and become one with the machine… notably through cybernetic feedback mechanisms, since Huxley is so much better than Orwell at these things. While surfing the HBR website, I found the following gem: “Google [assesses] employees’ “Googliness” in performance appraisals to determine how fully people embrace the company’s culture and purpose.”[1]

Yeah, about that…


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