by Aaron Earls
The Bible has frequent warnings about the link between sin and darkness. Plus, your mom always warned you that “nothing good ever happens after midnight.” Research by three business professors finds that might be true for at least half of us.
Morning people, those individuals who manage to be chipper before their first cup of coffee, are more likely to be dishonest and cheat for personal gain late at night. While night owls have trouble with integrity early in the morning.
Researchers Christopher M. Barnes, Brian Gunia, and Sunita Sah brought in participants and promised to pay them based on the numbers they rolled on a die—higher pay for higher numbers.
If everyone were honest, the numbers should average 3.5. But researchers found something significant about the way people responded based on the time of day they participated.
Consistent with our prediction, an interesting and statistically significant pattern emerged. Larks [morning people] in the night session reported getting higher rolls (M=4.55) than larks in the morning sessions (M=3.86), and owls [night people] in the morning session reported higher rolls (M=4.23) than owls in the night sessions (3.80). This evidence is consistent with the idea that larks will be more unethical at night than in the morning, and that owls will be more unethical in the morning than at night.
Here are two major takeaways for every Christian leader.
Know your own weaknesses
If you are a morning person, avoid situations at night that may be ethically tempting. If you are a night owl, give yourself time after you wake up before you take on a challenging task.
Regardless of your personality type, use safeguards and accountability to protect yourself.
Know your people
Recognize that you have a variety of people serving with and under you. They have a different makeup than you and, therefore, face different temptations at different times than you.
Encourage them and their work by assigning tasks and time tables that correspond with their body clock. At the very least, be flexible to avoid placing them in circumstances where they may be weaker.
Are you a morning or a night person? Have you noticed that you are tempted more at one time of the day than any others?
Aaron Earls (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.