Friday, 8 January 2016

Being coerced to be dishonest at work

I should make clear that my criterion for dishonesty is anything less than being as honest as possible at all times and about everything.

Being deliberately misleading (including hype, spin, selective exaggeration or hiding of problems etc) these are all dishonest: and indeed among the very worst and most insidious types of dishonesty - not least because they are 'deniable', hence insidious.

This type of expedient, deniable dishonesty is indeed endemic and almost universal in Britain - in mainstream public discourse of all kinds (including science, academia and medicine - which I know best), and even in most private discourse - in a way that was not the case forty, or even thirty, years ago.

The dishonesty is most obvious when it is self-serving - but most powerfully enforced (and difficult to resist) when it is regarded as (and may well be) necessary for the survival and/ or thriving of employing institutions - so we are asked/ required to be dishonest (as dishonest as we can get away with - without actual fabrication) for the good of our colleagues/ institution/ profession.