Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 37 Number 2 2020 pp. 377-395

Too Busy to Be Manipulated: How Multitasking with Technology Improves Deception Detection in Collaborative Teamwork

Twyman, Nathan W, Proudfoot, Jeffrey G, Cameron, Ann-Frances, Case, Eric, Burgoon, Judee K, and Twitchell, Douglas P


Deception is an unfortunate staple in group work. Guarding against team members’ deceptive tactics and alternative agendas is difficult and may seem even more difficult in technology-driven business environments that have made multitasking during teamwork increasingly commonplace. This research develops a foundation for a nuanced theoretical understanding of deception detection under these conditions. The intersection of information technology multitasking and deception detection theories is shown to produce various and sometimes competing ideas about how this type of multitasking might affect truthfulness assessments in real-time teamwork. A laboratory study involving a collaborative game helped evaluate the different ideas using manipulated deception and multitasking behaviors in a real-time, virtual group environment. The results provide evidence that information multitasking can actually improve deception detection, likely because multitaskers engage less in the team conversation, making themselves less manipulable. As understanding of multitasking benefits increases, managers and designers can incorporate effective multitasking into collaborative processes.

Key words and phrases: deception detection, multitasking, multicommunicating, group work, performance, StrikeCOM, credibility assessment