Beyond Transparency: Using Cognitive Dissonance to Improve the Promotions Process in Firms
43 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2021 Last revised: 25 Aug 2021
Date Written: July 27, 2021
In this study, we investigate self-deception among managers in a position to make a biased promotion recommendation. In a tournament, managers promote their weaker employees instead of their best in order to compete against them at later stages. However, we find that when their promotion recommendations are transparent, generating cognitive dissonance in managers prompts them to amend their behavior. Managers’ behavior becomes fairer and yet, they tend to feel more unfair – confirming the effect of cognitive dissonance on self-deception. On the other hand, making managers’ promotion recommendations transparent alone does not sufficiently improve their behavior. Our findings have important implications for improving promotions processes and decision-making in organizations.
Keywords: Promotion, recommendation, transparency, cognitive dissonance, self-deception, and fairness.
JEL Classification: M40, M41, M51
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation