Is Your Boss Dishonest? He Might Need a Smaller Desk

Study sees correlation between 'expansive' surroundings and bad behavior

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 26, 2013 12:44 PM CDT

(Newser) – A study at the Columbia Business School floats a novel theory on why some white-collar workers lie, steal, and cheat—it's partly their desks' fault. The researchers say they found a correlation between "expansive" physical surroundings and dishonesty, reports PsychCentral. As the theory goes, someone sitting behind a huge desk starts feeling all high and mighty, which affects posture, and posture influences behavior in subtle yet substantial ways that scientists are only beginning to understand. In this case, it makes people feel above the law, or at least workplace rules.

“In everyday working and living environments, our body postures are incidentally expanded and contracted by our surroundings—by the seats in our cars, the furniture in and around workspaces, even the hallways in our offices—and these environments directly influence the propensity of dishonest behavior in our everyday lives,” says the lead author. Seats in cars? Yep, the study also found that drivers with bigger car seats were more likely to have traffic violations or to park illegally.

  (Shutterstock)
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