25 Aug 2016

Whom to blame and whom to praise: Two cross-cultural studies on the appraisal of positive and negative side effects of company activities

A new article to look out for

An international team of researchers led by Kai Kaspar at the University of Cologne presents an innovative new study. Authors Kai Kaspar, Albert Newen, Thomas Dratsch, Leon De Bruin, Ahmad Al-Issa and Gary Bente, explain as follows:

Increasing a company’s short-term profit seems to be still the primary responsibility of business leaders, but profit-oriented decision strategies may also elicit long-term side effects. While positive side effects might be considered as an additional benefit, negative side effects are a crucial problem calling for social responsibility. One central question is how the public evaluates managerial decisions based on an indifferent attitude towards potential side effects. This topical question becomes even more salient when focusing on multinational companies and cross-cultural differences in judgment tendencies. Thus, we explored effects of the boss-employee relationship on attributions of intentionality as well as blame and praise in the case of positive and negative side effects that derive from a solely profit-oriented measure of a company decided by its boss. 
With participants from Germany and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), we investigated whether the social role (boss vs. employee) influences these attributions and whether cross-cultural differences in the perception of social hierarchy moderate the effects. We used an adapted version of a paradigm developed by Knobe, who discovered an asymmetry in the attribution of intentionality: While negative side effects are perceived as intentional and blameworthy, positive side effects do not cause the same intentionality attributions and do not appear as particularly praiseworthy. 
Across two studies, we were able to replicate the typical asymmetric attribution of blame/praise and intentionality for the boss in both cultures. Moreover, we also demonstrate moderating effects of the social role and the cultural background on these attributions. Overall, the results show that the boss-employee relationship is differently evaluated in different cultures, and this might explain some of the variance in perceived accountability within companies. Moreover, an indifferent attitude towards potential side effects leads to less lenient evaluations of managers and their subordinated employees.
This article provides some significant insights into the possible cultural effects of apportioning blame in corporation, as well as extending a research approach that will be useful to scholars in this area. Scholars working in the area of CSR in the international context will be particularly interested in this new article to be published in the International Journal of Cross Cultural Management in December 2016. Professor Kaspar can be contacted at: kkaspar@uni-koeln.de

No comments:

Post a Comment