New Study Reveals Generational Differences in Honesty

Of Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers, it’s the youngest generation that is less likely to be honest.

Millennials seem to feel that honesty, morality, and truth are gray areas, not strictly black and white.

It hasn’t been easy for Millennials. They’ve been labeled as selfish, self-absorbed, apathetic, and over-indulged. There are even courses online to help managers motivate and supervise Millennials, as if they were wild creatures newly introduced into the ecosystem. Recent research from PsychTests also indicates that compared to Baby Boomers and Generation X, Millennials have a more lenient attitude toward dishonest behavior; however, they still uphold relatively high moral ground.

Analyzing data collected from nearly 1,000 participants who took PsychTestsIntegrity & Work Ethics Test, researchers reveal that Millennials scored lower than Baby Boomers and Generation X on the following honesty related traits:

(Note: Scores range on a scale from 0 to 100)

CONSCIENTIOUSNESS

Conscientious individuals are productive and responsible. This particular trait is frequently associated with professional success, job satisfaction, and workplace integrity.


  •     Score for Millennials: 74
  •     Score for Generation X: 79
  •     Score for Baby Boomers: 80

REMORSEFULNESS

Remorsefulness reflects the degree to which a person feels bad for committing a transgression, like lying, rule-breaking, theft, or other unscrupulous behaviors. Theoretically, the more regret a person feels, the lower his or her likelihood of committing the same transgression in the future.

  •     Score for Millennials: 78
  •     Score for Generation X: 85
  •     Score for Baby Boomers: 86

VALUES INTEGRITY

It’s one thing to have morals and principles – standing by them is where the challenge really lies. Individuals who possess value integrity will stand by their code of ethics, even if they are pressured to do otherwise.

  •     Score for Millennials: 80
  •     Score for Generation X: 89
  •     Score for Baby Boomers: 90

TRUSTWORTHINESS

A person who is trustworthy can be relied on to keep his or her word. Even in situations where they could easily get away with a misdeed (e.g. because they are not being…

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