Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publication Title

Palgrave Handbook of Deceptive Communication



Publisher Name

Palgrave – Macmillan Publishing

Publisher Location

Basingstoke, UK


Unethical behavior is often viewed as an individual-level phenomenon. However, group membership can influence individuals’ choices to behave ethically or not (Messick, 2006). This chapter discusses whether and when groups will be more likely than individuals to use deception. We focus on three areas of research. The first involves comparing individuals and groups in mixed-motive situations, and the discontinuity between individual and group responses to economic games: individuals tend to cooperate while groups tend to compete (Wildschut, Pinter, Veva, Insko, & Schopler, 2003). In terms of deception, this is interesting as both individuals and groups initially cooperate. We discuss explanations for the effect and their relation to why groups use deception. Second, we focus on general differences between individual and group deception. Deception can be beneficial when negotiating, and groups tend to use deception to their benefit (Cohen, Gunia, Kim-Jun, & Murnighan, 2009; Sutter, 2009). We discuss explanations for these effects and provide a framework for understanding when and why groups use deception.


Author Posting © Palgrave – Macmillan Publishing, 2019. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Palgrave – Macmillan Publishing for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Palgrave Handbook of Deceptive Communication, 2019.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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