Award-Winning Academic Study Examines Gender Differences on When People Lie

A new study by scholars at the business schools of University of California, Berkeley and Northwestern University in Illinois, finds that men and women behave differently in telling the truth. The study found that women tend to not lie about themselves, but are willing to lie to support others, particularly when they are criticized or pressured by peers. In contrast, the study found that men do not bend to social pressures regarding telling the truth.

kraylLaura Kray, the Warren E. & Carol Spieker Professor of Leadership at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, stated that “we found that when women act on their own behalf, they maintain higher ethical standards than men. However, women will act less ethically, such as telling a lie, when they fear being viewed as ineffective at representing another person’s interests. When women negotiate on behalf of someone else, they are willing to make compromises in order to satisfy the needs of others.”

Professor Kray joined the faculty at Berkeley in 2002. She holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational behavior from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Washington.

kouchakiHer co-author is Maryam Kouchaki, an assistant professor in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Dr. Kouchaki holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and an MBA from the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, Iran. She earned a Ph.D. in organizational behavior at the University of Utah and joined the faculty at Northwestern University in 2014.

The study, “‘I’ll Do Anything For You.’ The Ethical Consequences of Women’s Social Considerations,” received the Best Empirical Paper Award from the International Association of Conflict Management.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study


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