Perceptions and decision-making
As you learned in this unit, work settings are strongly linked to social interactions, perceptions, and decision-making. For this assignment, you will compose a reflection paper in which you will consider how topics studied in social psychology influence these concepts in the real world.
To complete your paper, first, pick a topic you previously learned about in this course. Then, address the following points.
- Define your chosen topic as it was presented in the prior unit.
- Describe how your topic could be applied in a work setting. In your description, be sure to mention the similarities and the differences you would expect in applying your topic to the real world.
- Would your chosen topic be perceived as beneficial or detrimental if you were in the role of employee? Why?
- How would your perspective on the topic change if you were in a nonpaid position, such as a volunteer or intern?
- Think about the concepts of behavioral economics. What is a rational course of action to protect (if a detriment) or promote (if a benefit) yourself, as an individual employee? How does this compare to actions that protect or promote the company at large? How could you balance the two?
Your response should be at least two pages in length. You must use at least one source as a reference in your paper. All sources used, including the textbook, must be referenced; paraphrased and quoted material must have accompanying citations. Please format your paper and all citations in accordance with APA guidelines.
Diffusion of Responsibility
Columbia Southern University
DIFFUSION OF RESPONSIBILITY
Sometimes we find or have seen people or situations in open public areas, e.g., in the market, requiring urgent assistance from us but the hesitation to act fast from everyone leads to the case escalation to worst and even loss of life. This happens not because people lack compassion, but it’s because of the sense of responsibility eases with the number of people around. It’s a feeling that someone else has seen and is taking or has already taken action of, e.g., calling for an ambulance.
To exhibit how the phenomenon occurs in real life, I conducted a social experiment in different settings where I staged it to appear to need public help and noted down the reactions from places with large groups of people and places with just a few or one person.
The first experiment was conducted on a bus stop. I carried a backpack that I deliberately left zip open, exposing in it some personal belongings such as a laptop, some notebooks, and wallet. The items are important and leaving my bag open exposed them getting lost through dropping or even theft. The laptop could be damaged if it happened to drop. There was a big crowd of at least ten people at the bus stop and where I stood my open backpack was easily noticeable. We waited for the bus for 15 minutes and even boarded the bus but all along no one, despite noticing that my things were exposed to loss or dropping, said a thing or notified me to close it. Only one person notified me while alighting at the next bus stop. On the next bus stop, there were only two bystanders also waiting to catch a bus heading in the opposite direction. Immediately one of them walked towards me and told me my backpack was open. She asked me to check if the zip was faulty or something but secure what was inside.
In the first group that was of more than ten people, most saw the problem with my backpack and the risk it exposed to my belongings, but they chose not to act and inform or warn me. The decision to act is diffused by the belief that other people in the group have seen the problem and one of them will respond or have acted already. In the end, no one acts because they all think that the next person will act. The second group had only two people and immediately upon noticing my open backpack, they acted without hesitance. The smaller group maybe felt that they are responsible for acting before I lost the items inside my bag. There was no one else to help except them. These illustrations demonstrates diffused responsibility of what may happen; the bystander effect which suggests that the high the number of people present, the less likely it is for them to help a person in distress (John M. Darley, 2002). In a crowd, individuals think someone has helped or too can help or, since no one else is taking action, it may be nothing serious. A few individuals take action since there is no one to “transfer” responsibility to.
In some cases, the response to a situation may be aggressive. This may be from how people analyze the situation based on various factors such as threatening safety, a race among others. If I dressed like people of Islamic religion and in my open bag exposes something suspicious to a big group, I would expect people to react faster and aggressively. This reaction is triggered by the past security issues that were concluded to be conducted by some of the individuals belonging to that religion. The motivation to that response would be pressured if the majority of people had the same opinion about my religion, race and the potentiality to for example disrupt peace. In a smaller group, however, if I dressed and exposed the same, I am likely not to receive an aggressive response and maybe get away with it. The small group may not have enough opinions pressure to aggressively react and bear the responsibility of guilt if any case they judged the situation wrongly causing harm to the individual.
The patterns between helping and aggressive responses are complete to each other. A bigger crowd having a similar opinion will react faster aggressively to a situation than it would when a help response is required. On the other hand, a small group responds faster in helping than in aggressive situations. From these case observations, large groups seem to rely on similar collective opinion to react, and these opinions tend to form faster in aggressive response while in a small group, the decision to help response is not reliant collectiveness, but aggressive reaction response is slower with the small group.
Heinzen, T., & Goodfriend, W. (2019). Social psychology. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
John M. Darley, G. B. (2002). Crowded Minds: The Implicit Bystander Effect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 843-853.
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