When Self-Serving Deception Seems Ethical

Posted: 14 Sep 2020

See all articles by Polly Kang

Polly Kang

Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania)

Maurice E. Schweitzer

University of Pennsylvania - Operations & Information Management Department

Date Written: July 20, 2020

Abstract

Negotiators commonly use deception in the pursuit of short-term gains. For negotiators to make wise decisions about whether and how to use deception, they must understand deception’s consequences. Prior work on deception has asserted that negotiators who are caught telling a self-serving lie will be perceived as less ethical than negotiators who tell the truth. We challenge this assertion by investigating self-serving emotional deception. We introduce a conceptual framework that distinguishes between two types of emotional deception: down-display (suppression of felt emotions) and up-display (exaggeration of felt emotions). We demonstrate that negotiators judge counterparts who engage in down-display emotional deception to be more ethical than counterparts who engage in up-display emotional deception, consistent with omission bias. Moreover, surprisingly, negotiators judge self-serving down-display emotional deception to actually be more ethical than telling the truth. These effects are mediated by perceived appropriateness, consistent with the notions that negotiators often perceive down-display emotional deception as appropriate and, in turn, perceive inappropriate emotional displays to be a moral outrage.

Keywords: negortiation, deception, emotion

Suggested Citation

Kang, Polly and Schweitzer, Maurice E., When Self-Serving Deception Seems Ethical (July 20, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3664864

Polly Kang (Contact Author)

Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania) ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
19104 (Fax)

Maurice E. Schweitzer

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

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

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
162
PlumX Metrics