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Deception by device: are we more self-serving on laptops or cell phones?

Terri R. Kurtzberg (Department of Management and Global Business, Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA)
Charles E. Naquin (Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, Driehaus College of Business, DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, USA)
Mason Ameri (Department of Management and Global Business, Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA)

International Journal of Conflict Management

ISSN: 1044-4068

Article publication date: 8 March 2022

Issue publication date: 24 June 2022

122

Abstract

Purpose

As both workplace and personal interactions increasingly move into online discussions, the impact of various technological devices (such as cell phones and laptops) on behaviors and decisions must be better understood. This study aims to assess whether tasks done on cell phones or laptops prompt more deception for the sake of personal gain in decisions and negotiations, based on the associations held about each device.

Design/methodology/approach

Four empirical studies plus a single-study meta-analysis explore the rates of self-serving deceptive behavior based on the type of device used in decision-making tasks (ultimatum-game bargaining and negotiations).

Findings

Results show that using a laptop prompted more self-serving behavior than using a cell phone. Follow-up studies suggest that the dominant associations that people hold with each device – professional ones for the laptop and personal ones for cell phone – may help drive this effect.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study is among the first to establish a link between technological device and behavioral outcomes in negotiations, even when the exact format of the information sent and received is identical (i.e. text-only format). The findings have implications for selecting devices for important negotiations and decisions, as some may promote more ethical behavior than others.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Management and Global Business Department at Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick, Rutgers University. The authors would also like to thank Daniel Levin, Oliver Sheldon and Alex Van Zant for comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript.

Citation

Kurtzberg, T.R., Naquin, C.E. and Ameri, M. (2022), "Deception by device: are we more self-serving on laptops or cell phones?", International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 33 No. 4, pp. 569-591. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCMA-10-2021-0157

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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