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Article
Maybe It’s Right, Maybe It’s Wrong: Structural and Social Determinants of Deception in Negotiation
Journal of Business Ethics (2013)
  • Mara Olekalns, Melbourne Business School
  • Chris J Horan, University of Melbourne
  • Philip L Smith, University of Melbourne
Abstract
Context shapes negotiators’ actions, including their willingness to act unethically. Focusing on negotiators use of deception, we used a simulated two-party negotiation to test how three contextual variables - regulatory focus, power, and trustworthiness - interacted to shift negotiators’ ethical thresholds. We demonstrated that these three variables interact to either inhibit or activate deception, providing support for an interactionist model of ethical decision-making. Three patterns emerged from our analyses. First, low power inhibited and high power activated deception. Second, promotion-focused negotiators favored sins of omission whereas prevention-focused negotiators favored sins of commission. Third, low cognition-based trust influenced deception when negotiators experience fit between power and regulatory focus, whereas affect-based trust influenced deception when negotiators experience misfit between these structural context variable. We conclude that regulatory focus primes different moral templates: promotion-focused negotiators’ decision to deceive is determined by moral pragmatism whereas prevention focused negotiators’ decision to deceive is determined by opportunism. Because each combination of power and regulatory focus was tied to a specific subcomponent of trust, we further conclude that negotiators engage in motivated information search to determine whether they should deceive their opponents.
Keywords
  • regulatory focus,
  • power,
  • trust,
  • deception
Publication Date
2013
Citation Information
Mara Olekalns, Chris J Horan and Philip L Smith. "Maybe It’s Right, Maybe It’s Wrong: Structural and Social Determinants of Deception in Negotiation" Journal of Business Ethics (2013)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/mara_olekalns/31/