What is Ethical Fading?

Between 2011 and 2016 , Wells Fargo opened close to three and a half million fake bank accounts.Needless to say this was done by select group of employees to make money by unethical means.Eventually when this scam surfaced up , after being active between 2011 and 2016 , close to 5000 employees were fired.

This is an example of “ethical fading” which is a condition in organizational culture when employees act in unethical ways to advance their own interests , often at the expense of others , falsely believing that they have not compromised their moral principles.

This is what happens in an organization led by a leader with finite mindset and overly focused on meeting short term targets.Employees are pitted against each other and often following such unethical practices gives short term gains to such employees.

This can work in the short term but in the long run can lead to devastating effects to the organizational brand and culture.Simon Sinek makes a mention about this in his book titled “The Infinite Game”.


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