Lying to get ahead – the implications for employers

The news story of the month, all but knocking swine flu off the headlines, has been MPs’ misuse of the expenses system. After the first couple of exposés, it quickly became tedious.

A couple of days later, avid TV viewers may have been a tad bemused to see an ad for Blackpool, sexing it up by dint of playing on its similarities to Paris (they both have wrought iron towers, and …er, that’s it) and having a pretty French girl tell us, in French, how much she loves living there.

And last, but by no means least, well-known ex-soldier and fibber, Bear Grylls – he of the wilderness luxury hotel stays – is elected Chief Scout. Oddly, of the three, this is the most galling, perhaps because we expect better of an organisation based on honour.
When did it become ok to lie? And under what circumstances, if any, is it excusable? We’ve all heard of the white lie, but cheating on your expenses is theft – whether or not you return the money. And misrepresenting something, somewhere or someone is every bit as dishonest.

With several generations now presumably convinced that lying is a sure-fire means of reaching the top, how are employers to ensure a culture of honesty and mutual trust?

Personnel Today