Ben-Gurion University of the Negev – Department of Management
Maurice E. Schweitzer
University of Pennsylvania – Operations & Information Management Department
In this paper we describe the influence of envy on the use of deception. We find that individuals who envy a counterpart are more likely to deceive them than are individuals who do not envy their counterpart. Across both a scenario and a laboratory study, we explore the influence of envy in a negotiation setting. Negotiations represent a domain in which social comparisons are prevalent and deception poses a particularly important concern. In our studies, we induce envy by providing participants with upward social comparison information. We find that upward social comparisons predictably trigger envy, and that envy promotes deception by increasing perceived gains and decreasing psychological costs of engaging in deceptive behavior. We discuss implications of our results with respect to impression management and emotional intelligence as well as the role of emotions in ethical decision making and negotiations.