Top Secrets

Dirty Tricks

Who's reading your e-mail?

Cellular phones and PCs may be increasing the efficiency of U.S. workers, but the ubiquity of these new technologies in the workplace is also creating moral dilemmas. In a recent survey of U.S. workers by the Society of Financial Service Professionals and the Ethics Officer Association, nearly half admitted to engaging in unethical behaviors related to high-tech gadgets.

The most common behavior was "creating a potentially dangerous situation by using new technologies while driving" (19 percent). Other diabolical deeds committed (and admitted) by the survey's participants included blaming an error they made on a technological glitch (14 percent), duplicating company software for use at home (13 percent) and reading private computer files without permission (6 percent). While the survey made no direct connection between job stress and unethical behavior, 66 percent of those polled said they were under pressure from heightened productivity expectations.

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This article was originally published in the March 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Top Secrets.

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