Category Archives: Workplace

Secrets – Their Use and Abuse in Organizations

In the latest issue of Journal of Management Inquiry, Carl Keane from Queen’s University, Canada considers organisational secrets. Here’s the abstract:

Organizational scholars, and most social scientists for that matter, have rarely examined the use of the secret in controlling organizational behavior. On one hand, organizational secrets are necessary for the survival of the organization; on the other hand, organizational secrets are often used to hide unethical and illegal behavior. In this essay, the author examines the phenomenon of the secret as part of organizational life, from both a functional and dysfunctional perspective. Specifically, the author illustrates how from a functional point of view, secrets can legally protect organizational vulnerabilities, whereas from a dysfunctional point of view, secrets control organizational members and prevent the communication of knowledge to others. Both processes occur through the construction of social and cognitive boundaries as a form of social control.


Workers ‘prefer lying by e-mail’

From BBC News Online (10 Jan):

Workers do not like lying to colleagues face-to-face and prefer the anonymity of the phone or e-mail, a study says.

About a third of all work communication involves some kind of deception, the study of North West firms found.

Withholding or distorting information and changing the subject of e-mails to confuse colleagues are among the most frequent tricks.

The results of the University of Central Lancashire research were being presented in Bristol on Wednesday.

Haven’t found anything more detailed about the actual study yet, but it does sound a bit more scientific than the Friends Provident study on the same topic that I mentioned a couple of weeks back…

Proceedings of the Workshop on the Use of Autonomic and Somatic Measures for Security Evaluations

The most recent issue of the free online Journal of Credibility Assessment and Witness Psychology (vol. 7, No. 2, published June 2006) is a special issue, containing the Proceedings of the Workshop on the Use of Autonomic and Somatic Measures for Security Evaluations.  The entire issue can be downloaded as a (very large!) PDF file, or you can access the papers (well, summaries of powerpoints, rather than papers) individually via the JCAWP page.


  • Polygraph Screening,  Donald J. Krapohl
  • Issues In The Study Of Polygraph Screening Techniques, Michael Bradley
  • Using the Polygraph in Employment and National Security David C. Raskin & Charles R. Honts
  • Emerging Technologies in Credibility Assessment, Andrew H. Ryan, Jr.
  • Toward a Neurocognitive Basis of Deception, Ray Johnson, Jr.
  • The Polygraph: One Machine, Two World Views, Stephen W. Porges
  • The Use of Voice in Security Evaluations, Harry Hollien & James Harnsberger
  • Voice Stress, James Meyerhoff
  • Evaluating Voice-Based Measures for Detecting Deception, Mitchell S. Sommers
  • Emerging Methods and Detecting Stress and Thermal Imaging, Dean Pollina
  • Body Odors as Biomarkers for Stress, Pamela Dalton
  • Radar Technology For Acquiring Biological Signals, Gene Greneker
  • The Physiology of Threat: Remote Assessment Using Laser Doppler Vibrometry John W. Rohrbaugh, Erik J. Sirevaag, John A. Stern, & Andrew H. Ryan, Jr.
  • The Gaze Control System and Detection of Deception, John A. Stern
  • Eye Movement-Based Assessment of Concealed Knowledge, Frank M. Marchak
  • Multimethod Assessment of Deception on Personnel Tests: Reading, Writing, and Response Time Measures, Andrea K Webb, Sean D. Kristjansson, Dahvyn Osher, Anne E. Cook, John C. Kircher, Douglas J. Hacker, & Dan J. Woltz

Violations of trust in the workplace

An article from Maurice E. Schweitzer and his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania in the latest issue of Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes deals with restoring trust in the workplace:

Trust is critical for organizations, effective management, and efficient negotiations, yet trust violations are common. Prior work has often assumed trust to be fragile—easily broken and difficult to repair. We investigate this proposition in a laboratory study and find that trust harmed by untrustworthy behavior can be effectively restored when individuals observe a consistent series of trustworthy actions. Trust harmed by the same untrustworthy actions and deception, however, never fully recovers—even when deceived participants receive a promise, an apology, and observe a consistent series of trustworthy actions. We also find that a promise to change behavior can significantly speed the trust recovery process, but prior deception harms the effectiveness of a promise in accelerating trust recovery. Copyright © 2006 Elsevier Inc