Deception as Competence: The Effect of Occupation on Ethical Judgment and Behavior

61 Pages Posted: 26 Sep 2019

See all articles by Brian Gunia

Brian Gunia

Johns Hopkins University - Carey Business School

Emma Levine

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business

Date Written: September 17, 2019

Abstract

Deception remains prevalent despite its widespread vilification. The current research examines why. Integrating theories of selling, stereotypes, and negotiation—and challenging much research and rhetoric on deception—we document that perceivers do not always disapprove of deceivers. Instead, they conclude that deceivers will be competent in certain occupations: those in which a selling orientation (SO) is stereotypically seen as integral to the job. We first introduce SO as an occupational stereotype and distinguish between occupations stereotyped as high vs. low in SO (HISO vs. LISO). We then demonstrate (across six studies; two preregistered; total N =1584) that deception is perceived to signal a person’s ability to engage in SO, and thus their competence in HISO occupations. Finally, we show that this may lead to the hiring of deceptive individuals. These results identify occupations as a moderator of deception-related reactions, helping to explain persistent deception and highlight possible interventions.

Keywords: deception, occupations, competence, selling orientation, stereotypes

Suggested Citation

Gunia, Brian and Levine, Emma, Deception as Competence: The Effect of Occupation on Ethical Judgment and Behavior (September 17, 2019). Gunia, B. C., & Levine, E. E. (2019). Deception as competence: The effect of occupational stereotypes on the perception and proliferation of deception. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 152, 122-137., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3455431

Brian Gunia

Johns Hopkins University - Carey Business School ( email )

100 International Drive
Baltimore, MD 21202
United States

Emma Levine (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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