with Emily Zitek:
We investigated the effects of perspective taking on academic and employee entitlement. Study 1 demonstrated that students who were asked to imagine having received a B+ rather than an A- in a course because they turned an assignment in late exhibited more academic entitlement when they took the perspective of the professor than when they focused on their own perspective, but only when a scenario such as this has happened to them in the past. Study 2 replicated these results on mturk with employees who were asked to imaging having barely missed the cut off for a performance review score that would have qualified them for a raise. Additionally, these employees were significantly more likely to complain to their supervisors. These results demonstrate that perspective taking, which has a plethora of positive interpersonal effects, can have negative effects on students’ and employees’ entitlement, effectively increasing it.
Institutional Theory and Organizational Decision Making
with Pamela Tolbert and Rachel Ruttan
Strong parallels exist between work by social psychologists studying conformity processes within small groups, and by institutional theorists studying similar processes across sets of organizations. Drawing on both literatures, we use an experimental vignette design to examine questions concerning the separate and conjoint effects of internal (advisors’ recommendations) and external (rates of adoption by competitors) conformity influences on organizational decision-making. Our results indicate that each type of pressure has an independent, significant influence on decision-making choices – i.e., that internal conformity pressures temper (but only partially) the influence of external pressure, and vice versa. We also explore factors that may weight the relative impact of each type of influence. In concluding, we discuss the implications of our research for studies of organizational decision-making, as well as for work on other substantive problems that draw on institutional theory.