Explanations for these findings vary widely: Some experts say that millennials' willingness to take credit for others' hard work is further evidence of their entitlement and feelings of deserving to succeed, while others argue that the tough job market has engendered a ruthless streak in the youngest American adults.
"We know from other studies we've done that [millennials] feel entitled to get ahead, they say they deserve it and are special compared to Gen Xers and boomers," said Denise Delahorne, senior vice president, group strategy director, DDB Chicago, who worked closely with the survey. "Their desire is so strong that some would do something that is morally questionable, or wrong."
But this narrative of the entitled millennial may no longer be as true as it once was, said Dan Schawbel, author of "Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success" and the founder of Millennial Branding, a research and management consulting firm. Instead, young American adults may have finally learned humility from the current economic climate, he explained.
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"It's harder to feel entitled because it's harder to get a job in the first place," Schawbel said. "There's no way you can feel entitled when you're living at home."
It should be noted, however, that a study from last week confirms the entitlement narrative: 65 percent of respondents described millennials as "entitled," and 71 percent said they were "selfish."
Instead, millennials may have received a "huge wake-up call" from the estimated 40 percent unemployment rate among America's youngest adults, Schawbel said.
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"People who are young are working hard at their jobs, and are conscious of the fact that many peers don't have jobs," Delahorne said, acknowledging that a survey of working millennials may include some selection bias for more ruthless individuals. "They had to work harder to get the jobs they have."