Teens: Sometimes You Just Have to Lie, Cheat and Steal

Teens say lying doesn't make you unethical

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    A new survey raises some interesting, if not troubling, attitudes teens have about ethics.

    If you thought the Bernie Madoffs, those guys from Enron and Worldcom, and the Rod Blagojeviches of the world would eventually dry up and blow away, a new poll says you'd better think otherwise. This survey would suggest they'll just be replaced with another generation of liars, cheaters and stealers.

    A new national poll from Junior Achievement and Deloitte shows 80 percent of teenagers feel like they're prepared to make ethical business decisions once they're out in the real world. That same study shows 38 percent of those say you have to break the rules at school, if you want to have any chance at success.

    And that group that says it's so ethical? Well, half of them say lying to parents is okay, and more than 60 percent say they have lied to their parents in the past year.

    So what's it all mean?  

     David W. Miller, Ph.D., director of the Princeton University Faith & Work Initiative and professor of business ethics at Princeton University, says "there is a troubling incongruence between the degree to which teens feel ethically prepared to enter the workforce, and the unethical behaviors in which they engage. The survey results do prompt concerns about teens’ future workplace behavior and forecast serious challenges to businesses around how they will need to prepare and train these future leaders."

    So even in the 21st century, don't take any wooden nickels.