Similarity increases collaborative cheating

Irelenbusch, B, Mussweiler, T M, Saxler, D J, Shalvi, S and Weiss, A (2020) Similarity increases collaborative cheating. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 178. pp. 148-173. ISSN 0167-2681 OPEN ACCESS


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 1,080 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.

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Item Type: Article
Subject Areas: Organisational Behaviour
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© 2020 Elsevier. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence

Funder Name: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, ECONtribute: Markets and Public Policy
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2020 09:24
Date of first compliant deposit: 27 Jun 2020
Subjects: Ethics
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2024 00:49

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