This study examines how communication drives cost reporting decisions in autonomous teams. Through a series of three experiments, we analyze how members of autonomous teams use communication to influence each other and steer their team’s reporting decisions. Our first two experiments show evidence of a dishonesty shift, where initially dishonest team members infect initially honest team members, but the latter fail to discipline the former. In the third experiment, which reduces the social distance between the firm’s owners and team members, we find no evidence of the dishonesty shift anymore. Jointly, our findings are consistent with social norm theory, which predicts that communication can increase team misreporting depending on the salience of different situational cues. Our study offers various contributions to the participative budgeting and dishonesty literature.