Economics at your fingertips  

Language and Consumer Dishonesty: A Self-Diagnosticity Theory

Phyliss Jia Gai, Stefano Puntoni, Margaret C Campbell and Peter R Darke

Journal of Consumer Research, 2021, vol. 48, issue 2, 333-351

Abstract: How does foreign language influence consumer dishonesty? We propose a self-diagnosticity theory arguing that compared to one’s native language, using a foreign language makes lying appear less self-diagnostic, thereby increasing or decreasing lying depending on which aspect of the self is salient. In situations where lying reflects an undesirable, dishonest self, using a foreign language increases lying. In contrast, in situations where lying primarily reflects a desirable (e.g., competent or compassionate) self, using a foreign language decreases lying. Ten studies, spanning various languages, consumer contexts, and experimental paradigms, support the theory. The studies establish that the effect of language on lying jointly depends on the self-diagnosticity of lying and on whether lying is diagnostic of a positive or a negative aspect of the self. The findings highlight self-diagnosticity as a valuable lens to understand the behavior of bilingual consumers and offer practical guidance for addressing dishonesty in the marketplace.

Keywords: language; self-signaling; dishonesty; unethical decision-making; self-diagnosticity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) (application/pdf)
Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Access Statistics for this article

More articles in Journal of Consumer Research from Oxford University Press
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Oxford University Press ().

Page updated 2021-10-31
Handle: RePEc:oup:jconrs:v:48:y:2021:i:2:p:333-351.