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Other-serving bias in advice-taking: When advisors receive more credit than blame

Listed author(s):
  • Palmeira, Mauricio
  • Spassova, Gerri
  • Keh, Hean Tat

We examine attributions of responsibility in advice-taking. In contrast to the well-documented self-serving bias, we find the opposite phenomenon, whereby decision-makers view an advisor as more responsible for a positive rather than a negative outcome, while they view themselves as more responsible for a negative rather than a positive outcome. We propose that this other-serving pattern of attributions is driven by a hindsight bias in the positive-outcome condition. Namely, knowledge that the outcome is positive and consistent with the advisor’s recommendation makes the outcome appear to be under the control of the advisor, which increases the perceived responsibility of the advisor relative to that of the decision-maker. No such bias is observed in the negative-outcome condition. We conduct five studies that show the robustness of this bias, provide evidence for the mechanism, and rule out several alternative explanations.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749597815000692
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

Volume (Year): 130 (2015)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 13-25

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:130:y:2015:i:c:p:13-25
DOI: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2015.06.001
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/obhdp

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  1. Sniezek, Janet A. & Buckley, Timothy, 1995. "Cueing and Cognitive Conflict in Judge-Advisor Decision Making," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 159-174, May.
  2. Yaniv, Ilan & Kleinberger, Eli, 2000. "Advice Taking in Decision Making: Egocentric Discounting and Reputation Formation," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 260-281, November.
  3. Folkes, Valerie S, 1988. " Recent Attribution Research in Consumer Behavior: A Review and New Directions," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(4), pages 548-565, March.
  4. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-1061.
  5. Harvey, Nigel & Fischer, Ilan, 1997. "Taking Advice: Accepting Help, Improving Judgment, and Sharing Responsibility," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 117-133, May.
  6. Sniezek, Janet A. & Van Swol, Lyn M., 2001. "Trust, Confidence, and Expertise in a Judge-Advisor System," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 288-307, March.
  7. Louie, Therese A., 2005. "Hindsight bias and outcome-consistent thoughts when observing and making service provider decisions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 98(1), pages 88-95, September.
  8. Tripp, Carolyn & Jensen, Thomas D & Carlson, Les, 1994. " The Effects of Multiple Product Endorsements by Celebrities on Consumers' Attitudes and Intentions," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(4), pages 535-547, March.
  9. Christensen-Szalanski, Jay J. J. & Willham, Cynthia Fobian, 1991. "The hindsight bias: A meta-analysis," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 147-168, February.
  10. Yaniv, Ilan, 2004. "Receiving other people's advice: Influence and benefit," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 1-13, January.
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