Hot states

Most people believe that they would go to the police if they were raped. But in fact, most rape victims don’t report the crime. In Japan, only 4% or rape victims report the crime to the police, according to a government study.

Several other studies have shown that the decisions we make in a “hot state” can be exactly the opposite of the decisions we make in a “cold state”. In other words, when we calmly imagine how we might respond to a lottery win or to sexual harassment, we usually miss the mark by a mile.

This is an important fact for E&C professionals to remember. When we receive an allegation of wrongdoing, we analyze it in a cold state. We ask ourselves questions like “What would I have done if I were the perpetrator?”, or “What if I had been the victim?” But, of course, the perpetrator (probably) and the victim (most certainly) were both in hot states, and, thus, their decisions might appear irrational to us.

(How many times have you made a decision that your later regretted because you were upset when you made it?)

We must help management recognize this reality. Of course, we can still expect employees to behave according to objective standards (e.g. don’t harass, report wrongdoing, etc.) and impose disciplinary actions when they don’t meet the requirement. But we ought to do so with compassion and understanding.

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