Men more likely to compromise their values to get ahead, study says

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Paul J. Richards

When you hear that men tend to be more upwardly mobile in business, here's one likely reason why: they are more likely to compromise their values to get ahead.

A new study has shown that men have less moral qualms than women when it comes to making more money or getting a better position.

Women, researchers found, show more moral outrage when presented with ethically dubious situations.

Scientists used three experiments to test which gender's morals were most easily corruptible.

The first presented dozens of male and female participants with morally questionable situations and then were asked to rate how they felt about them from bad to okay.

The second asked participants how interested they were in working in a variety of positions at companies that sought profits over ethics.

The last experiment, just for good measure, tested college students on certain words like "attorney," "corruption," "profits," "prosecution," and asked them what other words they thought of that were related.

Women were simply just nicer, kinder and more thoughtful, researchers found. Men didn't exactly condone immoral behavior in the study, just accepted it a little more than women did.

“As hypothesized, women experienced more moral outrage and perceived less business sense than men when confronting ethical compromises made for either monetary or social status gains,” the authors wrote.

“Women’s relatively strong implicit association between business and immorality may explain why they are underrepresented in business careers.”

The study was published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.