I lie? We lie! Why? Experimental evidence on a dishonesty shift in groups

Author(s)
Martin G. Kocher, Simeon Schudy, Lisa Spantig
Abstract

Unethical behavior such as dishonesty, cheating and corruption occurs frequently in organizations or groups. Recent experimental evidence suggests that there is a stronger inclination to behave immorally in groups than individually. We ask if this is the case, and if so, why. Using a parsimonious laboratory setup, we study how individual behavior changes when deciding as a group member. We observe a strong dishonesty shift. This shift is mainly driven by communication within groups and turns out to be independent of whether group members face payoff commonality or not (i.e., whether other group members benefit from one's lie). Group members come up with and exchange more arguments for being dishonest than for complying with the norm of honesty. Thereby, group membership shifts the perception of the validity of the honesty norm and of its distribution in the population.

Organisation(s)
Department of Economics, Vienna Center for Experimental Economics
External organisation(s)
IHS - Institut für Höhere Studien und wissenschaftliche Forschung, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, University of Gothenburg
Journal
Management Science
Volume
64
Pages
3995-4008
No. of pages
14
ISSN
0025-1909
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.2017.2800
Publication date
09-2018
Peer reviewed
Yes
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
Behavioural economics
Keywords
ASJC Scopus subject areas
,
Portal url
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/en/publications/i-lie-we-lie-why-experimental-evidence-on-a-dishonesty-shift-in-groups(5b06bb13-4b8c-4153-afde-0e8fd95abe70).html