Why professionals lie: The impact of professional role conflict on reporting accuracy

Steven L. Grover*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


A model of professional reporting accuracy was developed from role theory hypothesizing that professionals may react to the conflict between bureaucratic and professional expectations by behaving according to either the bureaucratic or the professional role, but reporting having behaved according to the other role. Supporting the hypothesis, participants reported a greater likelihood of misreporting in situations involving professional role conflict than in those not involving conflict. This effect was greater for those at lower levels of moral development. Additionally, participants highly committed to the profession reported equally accurately to other members of the profession regardless of conflict level, whereas the reporting accuracy of those less committed to the profession was a function of professional role conflict. Those high in organizational commitment had a propensity to report more accurately to the organization and its agents than those with low commitment to the organization. Explanations and implications of the findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-272
Number of pages22
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1993
Externally publishedYes


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