此外，经理人通常不会完全禁止未经授权的交易，除非公司出现损失，这其实也是一种赌博行为。加州大学伯克利分校（University of California, Berkeley）领导力与沟通专业教授巴里•斯托称：“我们从未听到过有哪条金融丑闻说，某位魔鬼交易员为公司多赚了20亿美元。”如果交易员的未经授权交易“押准了盘口”，公司自然地会给他们奖励，这就使得未经授权交易更加难以避免。
Besides, it's a fair bet that managers do not root out unauthorized trades unless they lose the company money. "You haven't heard of financial scandals where a rogue trader has earned $2 billion extra for the company," says Barry Staw, a professor of leadership and communication at the University of California, Berkeley. Traders who have bet correctly on unauthorized trades are inadvertently rewarded, making the behavior tough to break.
But perhaps the biggest mental glitch at work is the temptation to make a series of irrational decisions after losing money. Almost everyone falls prey to this phenomenon, according to Staw's research; it's called "escalation of commitment."
In trading, this means that even though trades are discrete events, it is near impossible for people not to factor a previous loss into their current decisions. The result is that when we want to dig ourselves out of a hole, we make decisions that a third-party observer could clearly identify as bad ones.
At a certain point, people hit a threshold where irrational choices actually become rational. Say a trader is losing money, and he begins to make riskier and riskier bets. He realizes that his career is in jeopardy and he might even be arrested. The penalty may not change much, for the trader, whether he has lost $1 billion or $2 billion. If that's the case, once he crosses that threshold, it is rational to go double or nothing in an attempt to get out of the hole. Although there's still plenty of money at stake for the company, the trader likely has nothing more to lose at this stage. And people operating in crisis mode tend to look out for their own skin rather than the common good.
It's still unclear what happened with Adoboli, but in general, it is difficult to reverse this pattern of risky betting once a person feels trapped. One of the best ways to prevent this behavior doesn't rely on security software but rather the culture in an office. Even though traders operate in such a high-pressure environment, they need to feel like they can talk to their managers about problems, insecurities about trades they might have done wrong, and near misses.
One of the risks of raising the penalty for mistakes is that traders may feel less inclined to come forward with small errors that could be learning opportunities, Staw says. Then the company only sees the huge ones that are too big to hide.
Investing is so prone to this kind of behavior that employers need to put all systems of checks and balances in place: extremely thorough hiring practices, an open culture of communication, strong technology to catch suspicious trades, and hyper vigilant human oversight.
As one of David Johnson's clients once told him, "You have to hope that your traders are the finest moral people around. Then, you set up your policies and your rules as if they're all lying, cheating crooks."