Confident and Cunning: Negotiator Self-Efficacy Promotes Deception in Negotiations

  • Joseph P. GasparEmail author
  • Maurice E. Schweitzer
Original Paper


Self-confidence is associated with many positive outcomes, and training programs routinely seek to build participants’ self-efficacy. In this article, however, we consider whether self-confidence increases unethical behavior. In a series of studies, we explore the relationship between negotiator self-efficacy—an individual’s confidence in his or her negotiation ability—and the use of deception. We find that individuals high in negotiator self-efficacy are more likely to use deception than individuals low in negotiator self-efficacy. We also find that perceptions of the risk of deception mediate this relationship. By identifying negotiator self-efficacy as an antecedent to unethical behavior, our findings offer important theoretical and empirical insights into the use of deception, the role of individual differences in ethical decision making, and the broader consequences of self-confidence in business and society.


Deception Lying Negotiation Self-efficacy Ethics Confidence 



We thank Sargent Shriver, the Wharton Dean’s Fund, the QU School of Business Research Fund, and the Wharton Behavioral Laboratory for their support and assistance.


These studies were funded by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the School of Business at Quinnipiac University.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HMOL, School of BusinessQuinnipiac UniversityHamdenUSA
  2. 2.Operations, Information, and Decisions Department, Wharton SchoolUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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