Inhibitors Mechanisms of Group and Individuals Dishonesty

Mariana Pereira Bonfim, César Augusto Tibúrcio Silva


Objective: the purpose of this study is to present how the insertion of control mechanisms, such as auditing and professional ethical standards, would influence the dishonest behavior of individuals in particular, and within a group.

Method: an experiment was performed with 204 participants in whom they would watch a die-rolling game and report the number shown by the dice. Nevertheless, the payment was tied to the number they reported and not to the number seen, thus making them dishonest.

Originality/Relevance: it is the first study in Brazil that seeks to verify components of collective dishonesty: previous works only analyzed individual dishonesty. In addition, both nationally and internationally, it is the first research in which mechanisms that are capable of inhibiting collective dishonesty are analyzed.

Results: it was possible to verify that the audit and the reading of some articles of the Professional Code of Ethics of the Accountant made the participants less dishonest: when the individuals were not subject to any control mechanism, 27% of the participants were dishonest; On the other hand, when they  were subject to an audit process or after reading the PCEA articles, the percentage of dishonest ones was 9%.

Theoretical/Methodological Constraints: in the experiment it was possible to corroborate the hypothesis of the research: the control mechanisms presented (audit and reading articles in the PCEA) resulted in more honest decisions.

Social/Management Contributions: this work puts into question the research on dishonesty, not only its ethical and moral aspects, but also its financial impacts.


Dishonesty; Experiment; Control Mechanisms; Groups; Behavioral Finance.

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