Only when jobs involved making ethical compromises did women report less interest in the jobs than men.

That’s one finding from a series of recently released studies titled: “Who Is Willing to Sacrifice Ethical Values for Money and Social Status? Gender Differences in Reactions to Ethical Compromises.”

More from the studies conducted by Jessica Kennedy of Wharton and Laura Kray of Berkeley:

* Study 1, when reading decisions that compromised ethical values for social status and monetary gains, women reported feeling more moral outrage and perceived less business sense in the decisions than men.

* In Study 2, we established a causal relationship between aversion to ethical compromises and disinterest in business careers by manipulating the presence of ethical compromises in job descriptions. As hypothesized, an interaction between gender and presence of ethical compromises emerged.

The research points to the very good possibility that women may have more integrity than men.

What does this mean?

“We need to see more women at the top,” Kray told Slate. “I think that will change the culture of corporate America.”


With all the discussion lately about leaning in and having it all, the one thing largely missing from the chatter is a need to push the envelope when it comes to getting women in power. And when I say, push the envelope I mean quotas.

Yes, I said it, again.

Our whole economy collapsed recently because a lot of powerful men were unethical jerks. If that’s not enough to force the hand of our government to mandate that more women sit in the nation’s board rooms and corner offices, and in Congressional offices I don’t know what will.

And if men are indeed more unethical, what’s going to push them to give women seeking the top jobs a chance at career advancement?

We can blame women for not speaking up and blame an outdated workplace that doesn’t adapt to working parents, but we may be barking up a corrupt system that just doesn’t want powerful women.

On a positive note, the researchers of the gender and ethics study summed up their findings this way:

“We believe this research has at least one positive practical implication: Retaining more women may have positive ethical consequences for business organizations. As women occupy positions with authority, they may improve the ethical standards of the organizations in which they work, if they can maintain these standards on the way up the hierarchy.”

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