Kaspar, Kai, Newen, Albert, Dratsch, Thomas, de Bruin, Leon, Al-Issa, Ahmad and Bente, Gary (2016). Whom to blame and whom to praise: Two cross-cultural studies on the appraisal of positive and negative side effects of company activities. Int. J. Cross Cult. Manag., 16 (3). S. 341 - 366. THOUSAND OAKS: SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC. ISSN 1741-2838

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Abstract

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 toward 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, 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 (2003), 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 toward potential side effects leads to less lenient evaluations of managers and their subordinated employees. We discuss practical and theoretical implications.

Item Type: Journal Article
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Kaspar, KaiUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Newen, AlbertUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Dratsch, ThomasUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
de Bruin, LeonUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Al-Issa, AhmadUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Bente, GaryUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-254840
DOI: 10.1177/1470595816670427
Journal or Publication Title: Int. J. Cross Cult. Manag.
Volume: 16
Number: 3
Page Range: S. 341 - 366
Date: 2016
Publisher: SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC
Place of Publication: THOUSAND OAKS
ISSN: 1741-2838
Language: English
Faculty: Unspecified
Divisions: Unspecified
Subjects: no entry
Uncontrolled Keywords:
KeywordsLanguage
INTENTIONAL ACTION; KNOBE; INDIVIDUALISM; PERCEPTION; ACCOUNT; EMOTION; NORMS; SELFMultiple languages
ManagementMultiple languages
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://kups.ub.uni-koeln.de/id/eprint/25484

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