Tag Archives: contagion

Collaboration Can Encourage Corruption, Lying

Damon Jones

Damon Jones

Many corporations encourage collaboration and make it part of culture statements and annual performance reviews.
Cisco Systems, for example, defined collaboration as “working across boundaries, building teams, managing conflict, earning trust, and recognizing good performance,” part of the CLEAD performance management and development system.

Mark Greenberg

Mark Greenberg

Ability to collaborate develops in childhood and is associated with positive life outcomes, demonstrated in a two decade longitudinal study of more than 750 Americans from kindergarten into adulthood by Penn State’s Damon Jones, Mark Greenberg and Daniel Max Crowley.

Daniel Max Crowley

Daniel Max Crowley

They found that kindergartners whose teachers rated them highly on social competence dimensions including:

Ori Weisel

Ori Weisel

Although collaborative settings may boost honesty due to increased observability, accountability, University of Nottingham’s Ori Weisel and Shaul Shalvi of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev showed that collaboration among equals can trigger corruption by lying, misreporting, and exaggerating performance.

Shaul Shalvi

Shaul Shalvi

They experimentally evaluated performance between 280 partners on a die rolling task for which they earned cash.
Player A privately rolled a die and reported the result to player B, who then privately rolled and reported the result.
Both players were paid only if they both reported the same results — for example, if both reported rolling “6”, each earned €6.

Robert S Feldman

Robert S Feldman

Players tended to inflate potential profit by misreporting actual outcomes, demonstrated by the proportion of reported matches.
The probability of rolling the same number in each round was one in six, or an average of 3.33 times in 20 rounds.
However, teams reported an average of 16.3 matches—nearly five times the expected number, demonstrating likely misrepresentation to achieve financial payoff.

Participants also lied even when they did not benefit, provided their partner benefitted.
Wiesel and Shalvi explained that “people are willing to pay the moral cost of lying even if they don’t stand to get any material benefit—the only benefit is the joy of collaboration.

Paul Ekman

Paul Ekman

When partners’ payoffs were not aligned, they were less likely to inaccurately report performance.
This finding suggests that participants were more likely to engage in “corrupt collaboration” when lying was financially advantageous to themselves and their partners.

Lying, one component of “corrupt collaboration,” occurs many times each day, according to University of Massachusetts’ Robert Feldman.
In fact, he found that two people getting acquainted lied an average of three times in ten minutes.

James Tyler

James Tyler

However, lying may not be detected in collaborative situations.
Feldman asserts that “no single or even combination of verbal or nonverbal behaviors accurately indicate when a person is lying… Most people have no better than a coin-flip chance of telling a lie from the truth….And many of the cues we think are associated with lying are unrelated to deception.”
This view is more pessimistic than  Paul Ekman’s contention that lying can be detected.

Andreas Reichert

Andreas Reichert

Besides being potentially difficult to detect in collaborative situations, lying can be contagious.
For example, volunteers were more likely to engage in their own deceptive behavior toward others as a result of being duped, in research by Purdue’s James M. Tyler, Robert S. Feldman of University of Massachusetts with Andreas Reichert of University of Konstanz.

Greg Willard

Greg Willard

Corrupt collaboration practices like lying may persist due to financial and other benefits.
In fact, people who lie also demonstrated more confidence, higher  achievement goals, positive affect, and composure during a stressful mock job interview scenario by Harvard’s Greg Willard and Richard Gramzow of Syracuse University.

However, when liars knew that their embellishments would be verified, their performance – and their prevarications – were reduced over time.
This finding suggests that visible monitoring seem to curb the potential downsides of collaboration in the workplace.

Richard Gramzow

Richard Gramzow

Despite collaboration’s purported positive effects on innovation, this teamwork approach can be accompanied by a side effect of enabling willful and reckless “corruption”, lying, and exaggeration.
However, this darker side of collaboration can be reduced by verifying the trust instilled in others.

-*How have you maximized the benefit of collaboration and team work while reducing the likelihood of developing “corrupt collaboration”?

Follow-share-like http://www.kathrynwelds.com and @kathrynwelds

Related Posts:

 Twitter: @kathrynwelds
Google+
LinkedIn Groups Psychology in Human Resources (Organisational Psychology)
Facebook

Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

©Kathryn Welds

Memorable Business Stories: Ideas and Numbers

Chip Heath-Dan Heath

Chip Heath-Dan Heath

Chip Heath of Stanford and Dan Heath, Senior Fellow at Duke University’s CASE center, distill principles that make messages memorable in  Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

Citing urban legends and advertisements as examples of tenaciously “sticky” messages, they argue that unforgettable ideas can be recalled with an acronym that means “success” in French:   Made to Stick

  • Simplicity
  • Unexpectedness
  • Concreteness, with many details to act as “hooks” to “stick” to  memory’s many “loops” (Velcro theory of memory)
  • Credibility
  • Emotion-laden stories.
Robert Cialdini

Robert Cialdini

The Heaths’ principle of credibility draws on the three elements of persuasive messages outlined by Robert Cialdini in his best-selling Influence: The Psychology of PersuasionInfluence

Credibility is enhanced by liking, authority, and social proof in Cialdini’s model:

  • Liking – Appealing public figures or personal friends endorses
  • Authority – Well-respected role model or respected authority provides testimonial
  • Social proof – Others like me endorse it, and others provide justification: “because…”, though the actual reason is immaterial
  • Reciprocity – “I know you’d do the same for me,” recommended by Guy Kawasaki to convey that “You owe me…”
  • Scarcity – “While supplies last…”, “Limited time offer!”, “Act now, don’t wait!”
  • Commitment, consistency – Draws on people’s desire to appear consistent, and even trustworthy by following through on commitments: “I do what I say I will do…”
  • Contrast principle – Sales people sell the most expensive item first so related items seem inexpensive by comparison: Real estate transaction fees may appear minimal in contrast to a large investment in a house.

Both memorable messages and persuasive messages take advantage of habitual reactions to typical situations.

These automated and sometimes unconscious processes are a heuristic to help people to deal rapidly and efficiently with routine activities and tasks.
However, “auto-pilot” reactions  may lead to being persuaded to act in ways that might not be helpful, such as excessive eating, drinking, spending, or engaging in risky activities.

Jonah Berger

Jonah Berger

ContagiousWharton’s Jonah Berger formulated an acronyn, STEPPS, to describe narrative elements that increase the likelihood that a story, idea, or product will spread like a contagious virus: 

  • Social Currency – Passing along the information makes the sender appear “good” – knowledgeable, helpful or other   
  • Triggers – The message evokes a familiar, frequent situation
  • Emotion – The story evokes emotion, so will strengthen the emotional between the sender and receiver   
  • Public – Similar to Social Currency, passing the message reflects favorably on the sender
  • Practical Value – The sender provides actionable value in sharing the message
  • Stories –  Memorable, surprising elements increase the likelihood that others will convey the message
Randall Bolten

Randall Bolten

Finance executive Randall Bolten draws on similar observations about human cognitive and perceptual processing to recommend ways to tell a memorable and motivating quantitative story.

His Painting with Numbers: Presenting Financials and Other Numbers So People Will Understand You, discusses “quantation” as another type of business storytelling that affects  “personal brand image.”Painting with Numbers

Edward Tufte

Edward Tufte

Even more practical than Edward Tufte’s breathtaking examples of effective “information architecture” in The Visual Display of Quantitative Information and Envisioning Information, Bolten provides coaching on designing memorable, persuasive presentations and “pitches” featuring quantitative information as “proof points.”

His book demonstrates the Heaths’ principles of simplicity, concreteness, and credibility while drawing on Cialdini’s proven approaches of authority, commitment, consistency, and contrast. The Visual Display of Quantitative InformationEnvisioning Information

-*What principles do you use to tell stories that motivate others to act as you hope?

Related Posts:

Twitter:   @kathrynwelds
Google+
Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary
LinkedIn Open Group Mindful leadership
Facebook Notes

©Kathryn Welds