Some 29.4 per cent of business to business buyers, sellers and those who do both, think that lies and bluffs play a part in the negotiation arena.

This proportion of a 143 strong sample taking part in recent Four Pillars and Selling Interactions research claimed that “bluffing and lying is all part of the game of negotiation”, according to the report The Good, The Bad and the Ugly: Dirty Tricks in Buying & Selling, which came out this month.

Meanwhile, around 37 per cent of surveyed buyers felt lying was “all part of the game of negotiation”, compared to 15.2 per cent of sellers and 21.9 per cent of those in dual roles.

And some 65 per cent of buyers felt being “ethical, transparent and fair” was nearest to the core belief they held, compared to 35 per cent, who went for another option of getting “maximum value for” their organisation.

For sellers, the breakdown was 70 per cent in the former category, 30 per cent in the latter.

Interestingly, only around a third in both camps felt that there was no conflict at all between commerce and ethics.

The research involved a sample that was 23 per cent people who both bought and sold, 23 per cent sellers and 53 per cent buyers.

When asked about the way they saw the negotiating process, a majority of all these types of respondent – 60.8 per cent for buyers, 69.7 per cent for sellers and 68.8 per cent for those in dual roles – felt it was “a mutual discussion to ensure a win/win outcome with fair distribution of gains”.

However, some 36.5 per cent of buyers, 24.2 per cent of sellers and 28.1 per cent of people in dual roles felt the negotiating process was a tactical game in which “the smartest operator makes the most gains,” it seems.

“Whilst ethical behaviour may well have improved because of the 2008 Bribery Act and CIPS’ ethical code, we found more than twice as many buyers believe lying is acceptable compared to sellers,” the report states in its conclusion.

Both 2002-founded Four Pillars and Birmingham-based Selling Interactions have made their report accessible on their respective websites.

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