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Employee's lying behavior and the role of self-awareness

Kirk Chang (College of Business Administration, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)
Sylvain Max (Burgundy School of Business, Dijon, France)
Jérémy Celse (ESSCA School of Management, Bordeaux, France)

International Journal of Organizational Analysis

ISSN: 1934-8835

Article publication date: 18 May 2021

Issue publication date: 7 December 2022




Employee’s lying behavior has become ubiquitous at work, and managers are keen to know what can be done to curb such behavior. Managers often apply anti-lying strategies in their management and, in particular, the role of self-awareness on lying intervention has drawn academic attention recently. Drawing on multi-disciplinary literature, this study aims to investigate the efficacy of self-awareness in reducing lying behavior.


Following the perspectives of positivism and deductive reasoning, a quasi-experimental research approach was adopted. Employees from Dijon, France were recruited as research participants. Based on the literature, different conditions (scenario manipulation) were designed and implemented in the laboratory, in which participants were exposed to pre-set lying opportunities and their responses were analyzed accordingly.


Unlike prior studies which praised the merits of self-awareness, the authors found that self-awareness did not decrease lying behavior, not encouraging the confession of lying either. Employees actually lied more when they believed other employees were lying.

Practical implications

This study suggests managers not to rely on employee’s self-awareness; rather, the concept of self-awareness should be incorporated into the work ethics, and managers should schedule regular workshops to keep employees informed of the importance of ethics. When employees are regularly reminded of the ethics and appreciate its importance, their intention of lying is more likely to decrease.


To the best of the atuhors’ knowledge, the current research is the first in its kind to investigate lying intervention of employees in the laboratory setting. Research findings have brought new insights into the lying intervention literature, which has important implication on the implementation of anti-lying strategies.



The authors would like to express their sincere gratitude to two colleagues Prof. Constantin Sekedekes and Prof. Sunil Shadeve who have offered valuable comments to an earlier version of this paper. The insight provided by their colleagues and their constructive criticism has greatly improved their paper.


Chang, K., Max, S. and Celse, J. (2022), "Employee's lying behavior and the role of self-awareness", International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Vol. 30 No. 6, pp. 1538-1553.



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