This study in sheds light on the ebb and flow of ethical behavior throughout the day. Contrary to the idea of fixed “good” or “bad” people, we found that ethical conduct fluctuates based on energy levels and the time of day. Notably, even those who are usually ethical may succumb to unethical behavior when fatigued.
The study explored the relationship between energy, circadian rhythms, and ethical decision-making. By categorizing participants as “larks” (morning people) or “owls” (night people) according to their natural rhythms, we investigated how these patterns influenced ethical behavior. Results revealed that larks were more likely to engage in unethical actions during the night, whereas owls were susceptible to such behavior in the morning.
Organizations are urged to consider employees’ chronotypes when assigning tasks involving ethical decisions. The research underscores the significance of aligning tasks with energy peaks to deter unethical behavior. Individuals managing their own schedules are advised to structure work hours in harmony with their body’s natural rhythm to mitigate the risk of lapses in ethical judgment. This study illuminates the intricate interplay between energy, time, and ethics, challenging the assumption of consistent moral behavior.
And watch the BBC World News interview Sunita gave on it here.