Lying & deception is viewed as a sign of competence in certain occupations


EXCERPT: New research from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business [...] We all say we don't like liars. But when it comes time to negotiating a big sale, it turns out we tolerate people stretching the truth, and even expect it. [...] The paper is published in the journal, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

[...] Among the key findings: Participants believed that liars would be more successful in high-selling orientation occupations (such as banking, advertising, and sales) than low selling-orientation occupations (such as nonprofit management and accounting). Furthermore, participants believed that liars would be more successful than honest people in high-selling orientation occupations.

Indeed, when participants had the opportunity to hire individuals to complete selling-oriented tasks, they were more likely to hire deceivers for these tasks, even when their own money was on the line. "We found that people don't always disapprove of liars," Levine says. "Instead, they think liars are likely to be successful in certain occupations--those that do a lot of high-pressure selling."

The findings may help to explain why deception persists in certain occupations: because hiring managers and other organizational actors see deceivers as more competent for high-pressure sales roles, and hire them at an elevated rate, the researchers find. High-pressure selling occupations, which include investment bankers and advertisers, are some of society's highest-status and highest-paid occupations, so prospective employees and employers should worry "if deception is a prerequisite for employees to get hired and rewarded," Levine says. (MORE - details)
Politicians immediately come to mind. Like you say, marketing and sales.

Lawyers too. To some extent, aren't lawyers professional liars? They are paid to make a case for their client, regardless of their own opinion on the matter. So a criminal defense attorney might be privately convinced his/her client is guilty, but will still try to convince a jury that s/he isn't.

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