Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 67, Issue 2, pp 181–189 | Cite as

Moral Intuitions versus Game Theory: A Response to Marcoux on Résumé Embellishing



Marcoux argues that job candidates ought to embellish non-verifiable information on their résumés because it is the best way to coordinate collective action in the résumé ‚game’. I do not dispute his analysis of collective action; I look at the larger picture, which throws light on the role game theory might play in ethics. I conclude that game theory’s conclusions have nothing directly to do with ethics. Game theory suggests the means to certain ends, but the ethics of both the means and ends must be assessed separately before any ethical recommendation can␣be made. Marcoux makes several highly disputable assumptions in order to fit résumés into game theory; his analysis does not take into account the consequences that embellishing has beyond the submission and assessment of␣résumés; his argument depends on his claim that a résumé system in which everyone embellishes is attainable; and finally, his argument relies on an idealization of human␣motivation, rather than abstraction. I conclude that candidates should never embellish their résumés.


collective action coordination coordinative practice dominant strategy embellish game theory hiring honesty lying résumé 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Administrative Studies ProgramTrent UniversityPeterboroughCanada

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