When Self-Serving Deception Seems Ethical
Posted: 14 Sep 2020
Date Written: July 20, 2020
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
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