From Hire to Liar: The Role of Deception in the Workplace (Paperback)
  • From Hire to Liar: The Role of Deception in the Workplace (Paperback)

From Hire to Liar: The Role of Deception in the Workplace (Paperback)

Paperback 224 Pages / Published: 28/11/2006
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"There are always clients to please, rules to subvert, difficult tasks to perform, work to shirk, and upward mobility to seek.... Most people with work experience have encountered at least some version of exaggerated resumes, exploitative bosses, self-interested shirking, collusion against disliked colleagues, lying to clients, and countless other variants of lies on the job. This book tells the tale of such lies in the workplace and examines their impact on ethics, administrating work, and productivity."-from the IntroductionAccording to David Shulman, deception is a pervasive element of daily working life. Sometimes it is an official part of one's work-as in the case study he offers of private detectives, who lie for a living-but more often it is simply part of the fabric of life on the job. Shulman argues that workplace cultures socialize individuals into using deception as a tool in performing their everyday work. To make his point he focuses not on extreme cases but rather on less obvious forms of deception, such as pretending to show deference, shirking one's work, crafting misleading accounting reports, making false claims to customers and coworkers, and covering up business transgressions. Shulman analyzes the motives, tactics, rationalizations, and ethical ramifications of acting deceptively in the workplace. From Hire to Liar offers readers both detailed accounts of workplace lies and new ways to think about the important effects of everyday workplace deceptions.

Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 9780801473319
Number of pages: 224
Weight: 340 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 13 mm


"Deception occurs in every workplace, to some degree. Employees deceive their bosses, peers, subordinates, customers, competitors, regulators, and various other people during the course of their work lives. Organizational sociologists occasionally address such behavior, usually as a form of 'deviance,' but few social scientists have studied deception as a normal feature of work worthy of study in its own right. David Shulman's book is an important exception. Drawing on Goffman's 'dramaturgical' perspective and two in-depth case studies, he take a close look at both 'official' and 'unofficial' workplace deception and the conditions that create and sustain it. One hopes that Shulman's book will inspire sociologists to study deception beyond the workplace and behind the symbolic interactionist perspective. We might consider, for example, a sociological approach to deception that would apply Donald Black's general theory of social life and focus on the 'social structure of the lie.' This approach would direct our attention to the relative status of the principals, the degree of social distance between the principals, and the status of any third parties and their relationships to the principals and among themselves."

* American Journal of Sociology *

"David Shulman does a masterful job of addressing the diversity and roots of workplace deception, from the white lies told to grease social interaction to the institutionalized whoppers that organizations foist on the public. Shulman deftly conveys the taken-for-granted quality of many deceptions, where individuals and organizations alike seem to view work as a game to be won and workplace ethics are a distant cousin of personal ethics."

-- Blake Ashforth, Jerry and Mary Ann Chapman Professor of Business, Arizona State University

"David Shulman has written a first-rate study of the perpetration, culture, and management of lying in the workplace. Not since Goffman has there been such an insightful study of the varieties and functionality of social deception. From Hire to Liar will become the benchmark against which future sociological research on the practice and consequences of human deception will be judged."

-- Richard A. Leo, University of San Francisco

"Lies, white lies, misinformation, prevarications, falsehoods, cover-ups, smoke screens, euphemisms, dissimulations-in compelling detail, David Shulman demonstrates that these are not just deplorable outcomes created by dishonest people. Rather, deception in some form is an essential feature of social life and organizational functioning. This wonderful and insightful book is a pleasure to read."

-- Bruce G. Carruthers, Northwestern University

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