Playing the Lying Game: Detecting and Dealing with Lies and Liars, from Occasional Fibbers to Frequent Fabricators

By Gini Graham Scott | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8
Lying in Business
Business is one of the most common arenas for lying, perhaps because so much is based on the art of the deal, where doing well often encourages manipulation, posturing, managing impressions, and yes, deception to get ahead. In turn, much of this jostling to gain the advantage is considered part of the business game, permitted or encouraged by the rules, so often it becomes hard to draw the line between what behavior is perfectly acceptable and what behavior crosses the line.In turn, the models of absolute integrity and straight shooters are more likely to stay on the acceptable side of the line, while the pragmatic fibbers, Pinocchios, and frequent liars are more likely to cross over easily and without any guilt pangs. While the former are more likely to be the ones who leave questionable deals on the table or blow the whistle on such deals, the latter are more apt to stay aboard as long as it seems practical to do so and then quietly leave the sinking ship before it goes down.Given this wide range for lying and this uncertainty about what is a lie, what are the major types of lies in business, and how do people feel about them?There seemed to be major categories of reasons — lies because of:
Money (to get out of paying, to postpone paying, to pay less, to get more, to conceal a cash flow problem),
Obligations (to get out of undesired ones or postpone them),
Information (to get it, to conceal it, or to cover up a lack of it), and
Mistakes (to cover up making them).

Other key reasons for lying were to look better, gain prestige or power, or get business (say by showing off) with an ersatz self-image, exaggerating to

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