From target to actor: Contagion of honesty and deception across buyer–supplier negotiations

Leopold Ried, Stephanie Eckerd, Lutz Kaufmann, Craig R. Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Understanding negotiators' decision-making processes in buyer–supplier relationships has been of key interest to behavioral operations and supply chain management researchers. We hypothesize that through the exposure to various counterparts in the supply chain network, negotiators' behaviors are influenced by others' behaviors and prone to behavioral contagion—where the target adopts the behavior he/she is subjected to and exhibits it toward a nonpartisan counterpart. This paper examines such contagion where targets turn into actors of honesty and deception across buyer–supplier negotiations. We analyzed text responses from two studies employing scenario-based negotiation experiments with 350 and 424 individuals with B2B sales experience and tested for the effects of previously received behavior (honesty/deception) and different frequency levels of the received behavior. Our results show contagion effects for honesty and deception in both studies. These effects are largely independent from the frequency with which the behaviors have been received, suggesting that a low stimulus frequency suffices to induce contagion of honest and deceptive behaviors across buyer–supplier negotiations. Interestingly, in contrast to our hypothesized key mechanism based on the extant literature, neither injunctive nor descriptive social norms mediated the relationship between received and acted behaviors. We offer alternative explanations and discuss implications for theory and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-283
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Operations Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • behavioral contagion
  • buyer–supplier negotiation
  • buyer–supplier relationship
  • deception
  • scenario-based experiment
  • social norms
  • supply chain network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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