Perceptions of High Integrity Can Persist after Deception: How Implicit Beliefs Moderate Trust Erosion

34 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2015  

Michael Haselhuhn

University of California, Riverside (UCR)

Maurice E. Schweitzer

University of Pennsylvania - Operations & Information Management Department

Laura Kray

Berkeley-Haas Management of Organizations; UC Berkeley Haas School of Business

Jessica Kennedy

Vanderbilt University - Organizational Behavior

Date Written: November 11, 2015

Abstract

Scholars have assumed that trust is fragile: difficult to build and easily broken. We demonstrate, however, that in some cases trust is surprisingly robust — even when harmful deception is revealed, some individuals maintain high levels of trust in the deceiver. In this paper, we describe how implicit theories moderate the harmful effects of revealed deception on a key component of trust: perceptions of integrity. In a negotiation context, we show that people who hold incremental theories (beliefs that negotiating abilities are malleable) reduce perceptions of their counterpart’s integrity after they learn that they were deceived, whereas people who hold entity theories (beliefs that negotiators’ characteristics and abilities are fixed) maintain their first impressions after learning that they were deceived. Implicit theories influenced how targets interpreted evidence of deception. Individuals with incremental theories encoded revealed deception as an ethical violation; individuals with entity theories did not. These findings highlight the importance of implicit beliefs in understanding how trust changes over time.

Keywords: Trust; Implicit Beliefs; Deception; Trust erosion; Ethics; Negotiation

Suggested Citation

Haselhuhn, Michael and Schweitzer, Maurice E. and Kray, Laura and Kennedy, Jessica, Perceptions of High Integrity Can Persist after Deception: How Implicit Beliefs Moderate Trust Erosion (November 11, 2015). Journal of Business Ethics, Forthcoming; Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management Research Paper No. 2689093. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2689093

Michael Haselhuhn (Contact Author)

University of California, Riverside (UCR) ( email )

900 University Avenue
Riverside, CA 92521
United States

Maurice E. Schweitzer

University of Pennsylvania - Operations & Information Management Department ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
215-898-4776 (Phone)
215-898-3664 (Fax)

Laura Kray

Berkeley-Haas Management of Organizations ( email )

545 Student Services Building
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

HOME PAGE: http://facultybio.haas.berkeley.edu/faculty-list/kray-laura

UC Berkeley Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Jessica Kennedy

Vanderbilt University - Organizational Behavior ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States

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