Study shows companies more likely to do bad after doing good
A study published this year by Margaret Orniston and Elaine Wong shows a strong correlation between acts of corporate social responsibility and subsequent acts of misconduct. The researchers suggest that moral behavior functions like a currency: good behavior entitles a company to balance its account with bad behavior, and vice versa.
The study uses the theory of moral self-licensing, which has previously been used to describe the behavior of individuals. At both the individual and group level, the patterns are so common that researchers can predict the likelihood of future ill-conduct with a high degree of accuracy.
Some well known examples of the phenomena include Enron’s impressive philanthropic record prior to its infamous meltdown. Goldman Sachs has also engaged in unusually prolific charitable efforts since the financial crises of 2007-2008. Their website states that they have contributed over 1.2 billion US dollars since 2008.