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What is Ego Depletion ?.... How it influences workplace ethical & unethical behaviors!

One critical challenge that organizational leaders face is to remain focused on the display of ethical behavior during their fragmented, hectic, and disorderly workdays. There are many ethical failures within organizations.

We use self-control to follow a diet, make decisions to purchase specific products, communicate with others, prevent procrastination, avoid binge drinking, go to work each day, and complete several other activities. Levels of self-control vary across and within individuals due to an interaction between temperament and the social environment (Dvorak & Simons, 2009).

Awareness of the ethical dimension of many complex business decisions is an active and attention-consuming process that requires cognitive resources (Usoof-Thowfeek et al., 2011). Efforts at self-control deplete the mental energy needed to keep your impulses, negative thoughts, and emotions in check., resisting the temptation to act in unethical ways is also likely to draw on these resources; this temptation may be especially pronounced for leaders because of their position of power (see, e.g., Fiske, 1993; Georgesen & Harris, 1998; Rusbult & Van Lange, 2003).

Self-control is fundamental to social life and underlies the ability to interact effectively with others. 

Ego depletion is a concept from self -control, is a negative cognitive state that can hardly be directly observed or felt by others, is a widely accepted phenomenon used to explain reduced self-control capabilities from one task to the next (Hagger, Wood, Stiff, & Chatzisarantis, 2010).

 Effects of ego depletion, which is a type of negative experience, can also be transmitted from leaders to their subordinates, thereby inducing unethical behavior among its recipients. 

In the organizational context, attitudes and behaviors of employees are more influenced by their supervisors than by their colleagues at the same level of the hierarchy, because supervisors exhibit formal authority to make important decisions that are related to promotions, salary, or training opportunities of subordinates (Li et al., 2016). 

 Under an ego depletion state, individuals lack sufficient self-control resources to control themselves to do volitional behavior (Baumeister and Vohs, 2016). Thus, they are more impulsive than under normal state. Ego depletion is detrimental because ego-depleted individuals are highly likely to demonstrate unethical behavior in the workplace (Trevino et al., 2014). Given that unethical behavior seriously impairs the benefits of organizations, numerous studies have explored the relationship between ego depletion and unethical behavior in the workplace (e.g., Rosen et al., 2016Yam et al., 2016Klotz et al., 2018).

Those with anxious/preoccupied attachment, being consumed with anxiety-related thoughts can gradually diminish the supply or intensity of a person of mental energy just as much as suppression can, especially when the person is trying to control something with an uncertain outcome. (Chris Englert and Alex Bertrams, 2016). Anxiety comes up when our prefrontal cortexes don’t have enough information to accurately predict the future. We see this right now with coronavirus.

Defined as “a feeling of worry, nervousness or unease, when the worry does break back through, the person is likely to be depleted of mental energy and could lose their verbal filter. In other words, they may unleash unethical behavior that, while seeming to be based in truth at the moment, is likely to be regretted later when they have to pay the social cost.

How do I fix this?

There are many tips and bits of advice for helping to be aware when you got in that state as well as some rules to follow to avoid arriving in that state, but here will talk about one root cause that possibly will help you despite the environment you are working. 

 Expose you to thoughts of your childhood, which includes surfacing (bringing into awareness) the negative ones. So, now you know why therapists want to talk about your childhood: This enables you to face your negative memories and bring this content into conscious awareness. With negative memories accessible to your conscious awareness, you should not have to rely as much on memory blocking suppression. When you get to a point that you don’t have to suppress, you won’t have to worry about the material intruding into your awareness or have to distance from the people who are stimulating the thoughts. 



Feb 24, 2021