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What makes good people make bad decisions?

Facing criminal charges in Michigan likely leaves a person feeling pretty scared, upset and even embarrassed. Even when it comes to economically-motivated and nonviolent crimes, people can still be hurt by the unlawful actions of others. This is not to say that a person who is involved in white collar crimes is automatically a bad person who is driven by corporate greed and big money. In fact, ordinary people face charges of a white collar crime all the time.

There are a variety of reasons that an otherwise good person may become involved in a bad decision. There are also a number of traits that may affect a person's decision-making when it comes to criminal behavior. Those facing white collar criminal charges likely posses a number of these characteristics, but it may be surprising to learn that for the most part, the traits are common in all people.

For example, a person who works in an environment where ethics violations are common, they may be more likely to make concessions in their own ethical standards. Once a small violation is generally approved by others, it is not uncommon for that to spiral out of control. People can also become accustomed to, or blind to, corruption or unlawful behavior.

People may also possess traits that make them riskier than others. A person who believes that a great risk means a great reward will be more likely to make legally-questionable moves. When people are under serious pressure, they may also be more likely to make a risky move to find a solution.

Power is another commanding force in people who are involved in white collar crimes. Those without power may want it so badly that they will do anything they can to get it. Those in power, alternatively, may wrongly feel as though they are above the law and not subject to the same set of standards as others.

Many of these traits are shared by all types of people. The fact is that people charged with embezzlement, fraud or other similar crimes share many of the same characteristics and motivations as people who are not.

Source: Business Insider, "27 Psychological Reasons Why Good People Do Bad Things," Max Nisen and Aimee Groth, Aug. 27, 2012

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