A banking culture that implicitly puts financial gain above all else fuels greed and dishonesty and makes bankers more likely to cheat, according to the findings of a scientific study.
Researchers in Switzerland studied bank workers and other professionals in experiments in which they won more money if they cheated, and found that bankers were more dishonest when they were made particularly aware of their professional role.
When bank employees were primed to think less about their profession and more about normal life, however, they were less inclined to dishonesty.
"Many scandals..have plagued the financial industry in the last decade," Ernst Fehr, a researcher at the University of Zurich who co-led the study, told reporters in a telephone briefing. "These scandals raise the question whether the business culture in the banking industry is favouring, or at least tolerating, fraudulent or unethical behaviours."??