Lying: Why Employees Do It

I don’t know what’s worse: the lying, the getting caught, or the excuses that follow. The recent revelation of serial plagiarism by Chris Spence, the disgraced former director of the Toronto District School Board, and the final admission of doping by Lance Armstrong, seven time consecutive winner of the Tour de France, just makes one cringe at the stupidity of it all. It further erodes our trust in leaders. What were they thinking?

More telling is the nature of their crimes. That a trusted leader of the largest school board in Canada would commit the gravest error in education—stealing the work of others and claiming it as your own, or that one of the greatest Olympic athletes would besmirch the hallowed principles of fair play and sportsmanship, by using performance enhancing drugs, simply adds insult to injury. So the question remains: why did they do it? Not once, but time and time again.

The simple answer is that they thought they could get away with it. But what made them think that?

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Jack Muscat
Jack Muskat, Ph.D., is a Toronto-based Organizational Psychologist, writer and lecturer with over 25 years consulting and business experience with individuals and organizations. He advises senior executives and managers around selection and developmental planning. Dr. Muskat is an acknowledged expert on issues relating to organizational culture and leadership, succession planning and strategic management. He also teaches courses on leadership and negotiations at the Schulich School of Business.