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Look At Me Now! Identifying The Role That Evidence Plays In Dishonest Reporting
This article investigates the determinants of profit-maximizing deception. Prior work has identified observability as one of the most critical determinants of dishonesty. People who are completely unmonitored have been found to be the most likely to engage in profit-maximizing deception. In this article, I argue that unmonitored situations actually limit large levels of dishonesty because would-be deceivers are unable to submit evidence with their dishonest reports. Across three preregistered studies, I show that monitored situations that provide people with the capacity to generate false evidence increases the rate of profit-maximizing deception relative to fully unmonitored situations. These findings highlight the importance of contextual factors in ethical decision making and question the prescription that organizations should increase monitoring to decrease dishonesty in the workplace.