Sweet Little Lies: Social Context and the Use of Deception in Negotiation

TitleSweet Little Lies: Social Context and the Use of Deception in Negotiation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsOlekalns M., Kulik C.T, Chew L.
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Date PublishedMar
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0167-4544
Accession NumberCCC:000331657700002
Keywordsethical decision-making, gender-differences, turning-points, thin, misrepresentation, Negotiation, Gender stereotypes, Trust, Deception, slices, trust, organizations, behavior, consequences, climate,

Social context shapes negotiators' actions, including their willingness to act unethically. We use a simulated negotiation to test how three dimensions of social context-dyadic gender composition, negotiation strategy, and trust-interact to influence one micro-ethical decision, the use of deception. Deception in all-male dyads was relatively unaffected by trust or the other negotiator's strategy. In mixed-sex dyads, negotiators consistently increased their use of deception when three forms of trust (identity, benevolent, deterrent) were low and opponents used an accommodating strategy. However, in all-female dyads, negotiators appeared to use multiple and shifting reference points in deciding when to deceive the other party. In these dyads, the use of deception increased when a competitive strategy combined with low benevolence-based trust or an accommodating strategy combined with high identity-based trust. Deception in all-female dyads decreased when a competitive strategy was used in the context of low deterrence-based trust.