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

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  • Palmeira, Mauricio
  • Spassova, Gerri
  • Keh, Hean Tat

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Palmeira, Mauricio & Spassova, Gerri & Keh, Hean Tat, 2015. "Other-serving bias in advice-taking: When advisors receive more credit than blame," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 13-25.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:130:y:2015:i:c:p:13-25
    DOI: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2015.06.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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.
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    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.
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