Workers more prone to lie on e-mails

New York, Sep 29 | Updated: Sep 30 2008, 05:51am hrs
E-mail is considered to be the most common form of communication nowadays. But it is the most deceptive kind in the workplace, a new study has revealed. And, whats surprising is that researchers have found people actually feel justified when lying using e-mail.

According to lead researcher Liuba Belkin of Lehigh University, There is a growing concern in the workplace over e-mail communications, and it comes down to trust. Youre not afforded the luxury of seeing non-verbal and behavioural cues over e-mail. And, in an organizational context, that leaves a lot of room for misinterpretation and as we saw in our study, intentional deception.

In their study, the researchers handed 48 MBA students $89 to divide between themselves and another party who only knew the dollar amount fell somewhere between $5 and 100.

There was one pre-conditionthe other party had to accept whatever offer was made to them. Using either e-mail or pen-and-paper communications, the students reported the size of the pot, truthful or not, and how much the other party would get.

Students using e-mail lied about the amount of money to be divided over 92% of the time while less then 64% lied about the pot size in pen and paper. The rate of lying was 50% greater between the two groups.

E-mailers also said they felt more justified in awarding the other party just $29 out of a total pot of about $56. Pen-and-paper students were a little friendlier, however; on average, they passed along almost $34 out of a misrepresented pot of $67, the ScienceDaily reported.