Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Workers More Prone To Lie In E-mail, And Feel Justified In Lying

Date:
September 28, 2008
Source:
Lehigh University
Summary:
A pair of recent studies suggest that E-mail is the most deceptive form of communications in the workplace -- even more so than more traditional kinds of written communications, like pen-and-paper. More surprising is that people actually feel justified when lying using E-mail, the studies show.

A pair of recent studies suggest that e-mail is the most deceptive form of communications in the workplace–even more so than more traditional kinds of written communications, like pen-and-paper.

More surprising is that people actually feel justified when lying using e-mail, the studies show.

"There is a growing concern in the workplace over e-mail communications, and it comes down to trust," says Liuba Belkin, co-author of the studies and an assistant professor of management at Lehigh University. "You're not afforded the luxury of seeing non-verbal and behavioral cues over e-mail. And in an organizational context, that leaves a lot of room for misinterpretation and, as we saw in our study, intentional deception."

The results of the studies are reported in the paper, "Being Honest Online: The Finer Points of Lying in Online Ultimatum Bargaining." Belkin co-authored the paper along with Terri Kurtzberg of Rutgers University and Charles Naquin of DePaul University. Researchers presented their findings at the annual meeting of the Academy of Management held in August.

Feeling Justified in lying

In one study, the researchers handed 48 full-time MBA students $89 to divide between themselves and another fictional party, who only knew the dollar amount fell somewhere between $5 and $100. There was one pre-condition: the other party had to accept whatever offer was made to them.

Using either e-mail or pen-and-paper communications, the MBA students reported the size of the pot—truthful or not—and how much the other party would get. Students using e-mail lied about the amount of money to be divided over 92% of the time, while less then 64% lied about the pot size in the pen-and-paper condition. The rate of lying was almost 50% greater between the two groups.

E-mailers also said they felt more justified in awarding the other party just $29 out of a total pot of about $56. Pen-and-paper students were a little friendlier, however; on average, they passed along almost $34 out of a misrepresented pot of about $67.

"Keep in mind that both of these media—e-mail and pen-and-paper—are text only. Neither has greater 'communication bandwidth' than the other," says Naquin. "Yet we still see a dramatic difference."

Looking for an opportunity to explain whether a shared sense of identity reduces an e-mailer's impulse to lie, the researchers set up a second, related study of 69 full-time MBA students. The results of that study indicated the more familiar e-mailers are with each other, the less deceptive their lies would be.

But they would still lie, regardless of how well they identified with each other.

"These findings are consistent with our other work that shows that e-mail communication decreases the amount of trust and cooperation we see in professional group-work, and increases the negativity in performance evaluations, all as opposed to pen-and-paper systems," explains Kurtzberg. "People seem to feel more justified in acting in self-serving ways when typing as opposed to writing."

Most researchers agree that e-mail is a recent phenomenon and was first widely used in workplace communications beginning in 1994. Since then, organizational norms regarding e-mail use have evolved and are still murky.

"The study of industrial psychology and the evolving use of e-mail are presenting some interesting challenges for organizations across the board," says Belkin, who has studied organizational communications over the past few years. "We know it's a socially acceptable way to communicate, but how that translates in the workplace is a different story entirely."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Lehigh University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Lehigh University. "Workers More Prone To Lie In E-mail, And Feel Justified In Lying." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080925114122.htm>.
Lehigh University. (2008, September 28). Workers More Prone To Lie In E-mail, And Feel Justified In Lying. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080925114122.htm
Lehigh University. "Workers More Prone To Lie In E-mail, And Feel Justified In Lying." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080925114122.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme

Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme

AP (July 23, 2014) Six people were indicted Wednesday in an international ring that took over more than 1,000 StubHub users' accounts and fraudulently bought tickets that were then resold. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Reviews Are In For The Amazon Fire Phone

The Reviews Are In For The Amazon Fire Phone

Newsy (July 23, 2014) Amazon's first smartphone, the Fire Phone, is set to ship this week, and so far the reviews have been pretty mixed. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bigger Apple Phone, Bigger Orders

Bigger Apple Phone, Bigger Orders

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 22, 2014) Apple is asking suppliers to make 70 to 80 million units of its new larger screen iPhone, a lot more initially than its current model. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins