Similarity increases collaborative cheating

Bernd Irlenbusch, Thomas Mussweiler, David J. Saxler, Shaul Shalvi, Alexa Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

We report two experimental studies testing how a cognitive feeling of similarity affects dishonesty in individual and collaborative tasks when cheating hurts others. By employing a novel die-in-the-box paradigm with a total of 1080 subjects, we find that a sense of similarity (vs. dissimilarity) tends to increase dishonesty in settings highlighting the relationship with a collaborator, but tends to decrease dishonesty in settings highlighting the relationship with others who suffer from cheating. Corroborating these results, a code of conduct highlighting similarity towards the firm's employees leads to higher levels of cheating than a code of conduct highlighting similarity towards other members of the society. The results provide insights into how to craft effective organizational codes of ethical conduct.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-173
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Volume178
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cheating
  • Codes of ethical conduct
  • Four-eyes principle
  • Lying
  • Similarity
  • Social responsibility
  • Two-man rule
  • Whistle-blowing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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