When Women Are More Likely to Lie


Originally published on Berkeley Haas Newsroom

Study reveals how gender and social pressure drive unethical decisions
Would you tell a lie to help someone else? A new study says women won’t lie on their own behalf, but they are willing to do so for someone else if they feel criticized or pressured by others.
In contrast, research by Prof. Laura Kray of UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business and Asst. Prof. Maryam Kouchaki of Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, found that men are the opposite: they do not compromise their ethical standards under social pressure regardless of whether they’re advocating for themselves or anyone else.
Their paper, “‘I’ll Do Anything For You.’ The Ethical Consequences of Women’s Social Considerations,” received the Best Empirical Paper Award from the International Association of Conflict Management (IACM) on Jun 28.
“We found that when women act on their own behalf, they maintain higher ethical standards than men. However, women will act less ethically, such as telling a lie, when they fear being viewed as ineffective at representing another person’s interests,” says Kray. “When women negotiate on behalf of someone else, they are willing to make compromises in order to satisfy the needs of others.”
But at what cost? 
Kray says there’s a tradeoff for women, who face a “Catch 22.”... 
To learn more about the study on gender and unethical decisions, read the full article on Berkeley Haas Newsroom.