Conflict frames and the use of deception: Are competitive negotiators less ethical?

Maurice E. Schweitzer*, Leslie A. DeChurch, Donald E. Gibson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


This article examines the relationship among conflict orientation, competitive bargaining, and unethical behavior. We report results from a negotiation study (N = 111 dyads) involving a 7-action prisoner's dilemma. We coded participants' conflict frames and their use of both competitive ethical tactics and deception. Our results demonstrate that negotiators' conflict frames influence the use of both types of behavior. While prior work has conceptualized competitive ethical tactics as distinct from unethical tactics (e.g., deception), our results suggest that in practice negotiators who adopt a competitive orientation use both types of tactics in tandem. We also examine the influence of deception on the bargaining process and outcomes. We find that the use of deception significantly distorts targets' beliefs, influences targets' decisions, increases deceivers' profits, and harms targets' profits. We discuss theoretical implications of these results and offer prescriptions for curtailing deception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2123-2149
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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