Table of Contents
One of the problems of business relations development is the prevalence of deception in the human relations, which can harm the business situation of the company. The suppliers, clients, and competitors can use the means of deception to reach their own goals at the expense of the firm. For this aim, it is necessary to understand the tools of statement analysis that can be used for the identification of the deception acts. The usage of such methods can be useful for the reduction of risks in business negotiations and HR management process of the enterprise.
The Prevalence of Lies in the Modern Life
The problem of deception has been always present in the relations between persons and in the society in general. The concept of lies has become the integrated part of the individual’s behavior model. The definition of the deception says that it is connected with the conscious transfer of knowingly false information by the deceiver (Kavda, 2010, p. 1). In this case, to avoid the negative influence of deception in life and business, it is necessary to distinguish the minor and serious lies that take place in the everyday communications of the person. Here, the minor lies include the misstatement of the information that does not have the long-term effect for the deceived individual (Kavda, 2010, p. 1). This type of deception is mainly oriented on the development of the positive social relations between people, which usually encompasses the flattering or embellishing of the real state of the interlocutor. The person may not consider this type of deception as a threat to his or her business, and may not pay specific attention to it.
The serious lies occur less frequently and have a strict aim to harm the person. This type of deception can include the actions of partners, suppliers, competitors, or clients to use the individual’s or company’s resources for their own interests and worsen the firm’s positions in the market.
The discussion of the social aspect of deception makes it possible to state that deception is not something restricted or rare in the human interaction. Almost every person performs about two acts of lie every day (Kavda, 2010, p. 1). Another interesting aspect in the discussion of the deception phenomenon is the gender difference in the motivation for lies. According to the recent research, on the one hand, males lie mainly with an aim to improve their social attractiveness level. On the other hand, women usually lie as a mean of social acceptance (Kavda, 2010, p. 6). In this way, males can be expected to lie in the question connected with their personal and professional qualities, while females can be caught on deception for the sake of seduction or improvement of the individual attitude towards them from the side of the interlocutor. In business environment, this information can be useful for the organization of the human resources (HR) hiring process, and the management of negotiations with clients and suppliers. Here, the monitoring of the interlocutor’s statements can help defining whether he/she lies to achieve the earlier described result.
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At the same time, the positive aspect of the deception process research is that there are no serious differences in the choice of the deception cues by different genders (Kavda, 2010, p. 17). In this way, the methods of statement analysis to define the fact of deception can be used in conversation with the representatives of both genders, without the risk of serious mistakes in the statement assessment.
Statement Analysis as a Tool of Deception Identification
There are two main types of deception performance – verbal and nonverbal lies. For the nonverbal performance analysis, the tools of psychological state estimation are used. The difficulty of the nonverbal analysis can be connected with the cultural differences in the assessment of the behavior. In this way, the same conduct can be considered as having the different meaning in diverse cultures. Since this article is oriented on the discussion of the verbal and written statements, it will be much easier to present the useful means of the statement analysis.
Verbal Statement Analysis Tools
The main tool of the verbal deception identification, which lies in the basis of all the existing statement analysis techniques, is the method of asking leading questions. The main reason for asking questions is to study a potential deceiver’s responses and to identify the factors that can define the probability of lying. Since the majority of techniques of the verbal statements’ analysis were based on the experience of the criminologists, the statement analysis itself may, in some way, be common to the questioning of a suspect in a crime. Nevertheless, it does not mean that some of these approaches cannot be adapted to the needs of business negotiations and personnel management.
First of all, it is necessary to define the keys that are usually used by the deceivers during the conversation and highlight the techniques of the deception’s investigation in communication with others. The word definition in the verbal statement can be one of the most useful tools for the investigation of the potential lie. Here, the principle of examination is based on the idea that the potential deceiver usually has to improvise during the negotiations. If the listener pays attention to the usage of the specific words, he or she can see the difference between the initial information and the factual statements of the deceiver (Ma & Lin, 2015, p. 2). The absence of correlation between the initial and factual data highlights the existence of deception in conversation.
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The use of pronouns can also be an indicator of the partner’s fairness. Fair people prefer to use the pronoun “I” in the description of their actions and events (Ma & Lin, 2015, p. 2). The absence or the too frequents use of the word “I” may mean that the speaker has no attitude to the story he or she tells. The same situation is common for other pronouns. For example, if the person speaks about someone he or she does not have a tight connection with, he or she will never use the pronoun “we”. In this case, the restriction of this rule can define the presence of lies. The same rule is relevant for all other pronouns, according to their meaning.
The verbal tense and passive voice can also identify the existence of deception in the speaker’s story (Ma & Lin, 2015, p. 3). Here, the usage of the present tense in the story about what happened in the past may mean that the person does not tell about the actual events that really took place, but invents the story in the present, during the conversation. At that same time, the use of passive voice can show the speaker’s desire to avoid responsibility, which is characteristic for deception. Here, he or she can tell about the negative events as if they happened without the influence of the concrete person. This is obviously a lie that has to be understood by the listeners. All these tools are used during the verbal lies. Nevertheless, they do not say about the fact of lies for sure. To achieve the accurate assessment of the events, the listener should implement several techniques of the speaker’s positions investigations.
All of the presented investigation techniques can be adapted to the needs of business negotiations and HR management. They do not cause an acute sense of interrogation from the interlocutor and, therefore, are harmless for the use outside the forensic environment. First of all, it can be useful to destroy the cognitive construction of the potential liar in the way of asking him or her to tell the same story in reverse order (Zimmerman, 2016). If the speaker is a liar, he or she will face serious issues and will make a mistake or confusion in the narrative.
It is also useful to ask unexpected questions and encourage speakers to tell more about the case. Liars usually create certain scenarios, which cannot include all the possible responses to the questions due to the impossibility to discuss all the possible aspects of the case. In this situation, the right questions will make the person improvise, and the story will lose its logic and credibility. The same principle is relevant for the case of asking to tell more about the situation.
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Nonverbal Statement Analysis Tools
The statement analysis of the nonverbal messages is considered to be more difficult and complex. Here, the reason is the opportunity for the liar to consider the different aspects of his or her statement before the actual response. In the verbal statement, the person has just a few seconds to prepare an answer. In the written messages, he or she has low barriers to the use of time to respond. Anyway, several techniques can be used to define the liar.
First of all, the improper usage of words is the main sign of deception (Kang & Lee, 2014, p. 2). For example, if the person used the words “this woman” instead of “wife” in the conversation without telling about the worsening of feelings with his wife, it means that he avoided telling about this. The same technique is used for the identification of the deception. Excessive emotions or absence of such in the text is also a sign of deception. Certainly, the attraction of emotional description should depend on the conditions of the told story. Here, the improper use of pronouns has the same meaning as it had for the verbal statements.
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The lack of conviction or the absence of clear arguments about the past situation can also be a sign of deception (Kang & Lee, 2014, p. 3). Here, the writer aims to replace the actual description of the situation with forms using words “I think”, “I believe”. In this case, the potential liar tries to hide the absence of information about the separate aspects of the case and uses the expression that lacks certainty.
One of the most effective means of the written statement analysis for the definition of deception is the estimation of the statement balance. In the standard story, the distribution of word count for the description of the past, present, and future events should be the following: 15 %, 50 %, and 35 % (Ma & Lin, 2015, p. 4). The violation of such a relation for the increase of the share of the past events’ description usually shows that the writer tries to avoid the consideration of the present events, which is a form of deception. This principle is quite universal and can be used for the definition of lies in different spheres of activity.
Discussion of the different techniques for the verbal and written statement analysis allowed defining the potential risks and factors to which the companies should pay attention in business negotiations and HR management. The understanding and permanent implementation of the proposed solutions for the assessment of the counteragents’ statements can guarantee the higher level of the business entity’s sustainability to the deception threats. Anyway, the effective implementation of these techniques will require work with the company’s senior management and supervisors.