Employees sometimes find themselves caught between strictly following company rules and bending or perhaps even breaking them to take care of a customer. A new study from the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia finds that employers may benefit from considering why workers, too, may not always follow the letter of the law.

In the past, researchers believed that employees broke rules for malicious or self-serving reasons, such as stealing or taking  longer breaks. But it turns out that some employees ignore orders to better serve customers, which can benefit businesses and improve the wellbeing of workers.

In general, those who bent or broke the rules say they didn’t feel guilty, because they were trying to help. They also felt more autonomous and competent because they were able to provide a solution for their customers. What’s more, they reported feeling more connected to customers. 

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