The dishonesty of honest people: A theory of self-concept maintenance

Journal Article (Journal Article)

People like to think of themselves as honest. However, dishonesty pays-and it often pays well. How do people resolve this tension? This research shows that people behave dishonestly enough to profit but honestly enough to delude themselves of their own integrity. A little bit of dishonesty gives a taste of profit without spoiling a positive self-view. Two mechanisms allow for such self-concept maintenance: inattention to moral standards and categorization malleability. Six experiments support the authors' theory of self-concept maintenance and offer practical applications for curbing dishonesty in everyday life. © 2008, American Marketing Association.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Mazar, N; Amir, O; Ariely, D

Published Date

  • January 1, 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 45 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 633 - 644

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-2437

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1509/jmkr.45.6.633

Citation Source

  • Scopus