Deception is a phenomenon that is generally negatively perceived in societies and cultures worldwide, and everyone who indulges in it may face punishment. In the business context, lying is also viewed as unacceptable and leads to reputational as well as legal ramifications. Nevertheless, every year, new corporate scandals emerge involving CEOs and other high-rank employees of large international corporations. For instance, recently, it was discovered that German company Wirecard engaged in accounting fraud and lied to its shareholders about revenues (Davies). Yet, often deception also emerges within organizations, and it is essential to analyze how exactly it affects business communications.
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The success of every company largely rests on how well it manages to maintain an excellent level of communication among its employees. According to recent studies, interpersonal communication has a direct positive impact on the performance of workers and the productivity of a business (Okoro 30). Therefore, enterprises have to ensure the complete absence of any barriers which can hinder business communications to achieve better effectiveness. Deception is one of the major factors which can undermine the integrity of an organization and make it difficult for people to interact in the workplace. In a normal environment, individuals working for the same company expect to receive only correct information from one another. They realize that truth guarantees them a better understanding of the current situation they are in as a team. As a result, they can make decisions that are more reasonable and necessary to succeed and attain their strategic goals. In other words, honesty is a quality that is highly valued in the workplace and which is essential for maintaining effective business communication.
People who choose to lie to their colleagues harm their company simultaneously in several ways. First of all, when an act of deception becomes known, the person who committed it loses their credibility and instantly receives a different treatment. Moreover, lying also leads to a general increase in alertness among all employees since people become suspicious of one another. It is natural for those individuals who have been exposed to deception from their colleagues to start perceiving others as potentially capable of dishonesty. Subsequently, people become less cooperative, which jeopardizes organizational efficiency and the ability of all employees to work as a team and achieve results together. For example, a person may provide fictitious information from their field of work to a colleague who is working on putting together data from all departments for an annual financial report. When the truth emerges, the latter person may stop trusting their colleagues and will decide to check every information themselves, which can potentially cause delays.
Another way in which deception affects business communications is that it motivates others to also engage in lying. When a senior manager publicly tells false information to journalists or investors to gain material advantages such as additional funding, they send a signal to the employees that lying is acceptable (Jenkins and Delbridge 10). For instance, if a CEO claims that their company earned twenty million dollars while everyone within the organization knows that it is not true, they confuse their subordinates. As a result, employees can lose their understanding of the situation and gain motivation to deceive one another by following the example of their superior. Motivations can be different, some people may be driven by their desire to make reports reflect the words of the CEO, while others may feel liberated to pursue their own goals through deception. Thus, companies and especially the top managers have to pay attention to the information which they articulate to prevent their employees from becoming motivated to utilize lying in their business communication.
Finally, lying can be used as a means for individuals to avoid discussing the most important issues which their company faces and to refuse to accept reality. For instance, people working for a business that experiences a considerable lack of funding can encourage themselves by intentionally telling one another that the company’s financial situation is normal. It is possible to suggest that in the short term, such a strategy may help workers cope with a difficult period in their lives, but over time it will undermine the efficacy of business communications. In other words, by lying and providing one another with false information, employees will not be able to resolve the issue. As a result, deception will become institutionalized in the company and will significantly reduce the benefit of business communications.
Deception in the workplace is a problem that is widely discussed in the media, and it is important to analyze its effects on business communications. In general, lying is viewed as unacceptable since people realize the fact that it undermines the effectiveness of communication within an organization. Additionally, deception reduces the level of trust in any group of individuals and makes them suspicious of one another, which subsequently causes decreased productivity. Lying also can motivate others to engage in it, which also harms the stability of the workplace since it prevents people from discussing existing problems. Thus, deception has significantly negative effects on business communications which makes it an undesired element for any enterprise.
Davies, Paul. “How Wirecard Went From Tech Star to Bankrupt.” The Wall Street Journal, 2020. Web.
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Jenkins, Sarah and Delbridge, Rick. “Exploring Organizational Deception: Organizational Contexts, Social Relations and Types of Lying.” Organization Theory, vol. 1, 2020, pp. 1–24.
Okoro, Ephraim et al. “The Impact of Interpersonal Communication Skills on Organizational Effectiveness and Social Self-Efficacy: A Synthesis.” International Journal of Language and Linguistics, vol. 3, no. 4, 2017, pp. 28–32.