Can Accountability Produce Independence? Goals as Determinants of the Impact of Accountability on Conformity

  title={Can Accountability Produce Independence? Goals as Determinants of the Impact of Accountability on Conformity},
  author={Andrew Quinn and Barry R. Schlenker},
  journal={Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin},
  pages={472 - 483}
People routinely confront the social pressure of being accountable to audiences whose preferences are known. Prior research indicates that these conditions create conformity, which often leads to sub par decision making. The authors hypothesized that conformity is the usual consequence of accountability when people are motivated to get along with others, but independence can occur when accountable people are motivated to make accurate decisions. Participants went through a priming procedure to… 

Tables from this paper

Conceptual Bases of Employee Accountability: A Psychological Approach
The external control of public organizations and their members, commonly referred to as accountability, is an enduring theme in public administration. This article shifts attention from a
Can process accountability mitigate myopic biases? An experimental analysis
This paper examines the impact of process accountability on two biases causing myopic or short-sighted decision making. These biases are strong preferences for immediate and certain outcomes known as
We Hold Ourselves Accountable: A Relational View of Team Accountability
Initial team accountability is strongly related to team trust, commitment, efficacy, and identifying with the team emotionally and increases effort and willingness to continue to collaborate but did not significantly improve task performance in this investigation.
Meso-level theory of accountability in organizations
Accountability is ubiquitous in social systems, and its necessity is magnified in formal organizations, whose purpose has been argued to predict and control behavior. The very notion of organizing
An accountability account: A review and synthesis of the theoretical and empirical research on felt accountability
Summary Accountability is a fundamental element of all societies and the organizations that operate within them. This paper focuses on the individual-level accountability concept of felt
Group Accountability: A Review and Extension of Existing Research
The group accountability literature over the past two decades is reviewed in this article. Results are organized according to the theoretical accountability framework proposed by London, Smither, and
Accountability and Accounting Standards: The Effect of Providing Indicative but Incomplete Guidance Rules
An important development in the international harmonisation of accounting regulation has been a move towards principle-based standards. The goals of the International Accounting Standards Board
Automatic normative behavior in environments: The moderating role of conformity in activating situational norms
Previous research (Aarts & Dijksterhuis, 2003) has shown that mental representations of situational norms (e.g., behaving quietly in libraries) and corresponding overt behaviors are capable of being
The accountability paradox: How holding marketers accountable hinders alignment with short-term marketing goals
Abstract Marketers constantly face conflicting goals, as when long-term branding goals are inconsistent with short-term revenue goals. As accountability offers a potential instrument for resolving
Go with the flow: conforming to others in the face of existential threat
In three studies we investigate the impact of mortality salience on conformity and show that people have a greater preference to conform to the opinions of others when mortality is salient. Study 1


Social and cognitive strategies for coping with accountability: conformity, complexity, and bolstering.
This experiment tested predictions derived from a social contingency model of judgment and choice that identifies 3 distinctive strategies that people rely on in dealing with demands for
Accounting for the effects of accountability.
This article reviews the now extensive research literature addressing the impact of accountability on a wide range of social judgments and choices and highlights the utility of treating thought as a process of internalized dialogue and the importance of documenting social and institutional boundary conditions on putative cognitive biases.
The Impact of Accountability on Judgment and Choice: Toward A Social Contingency Model
Publisher Summary This chapter advances to a testable middle-range theory predicated on the politician metaphor: the social contingency model of judgment and choice. This model does not map neatly in
Accountability: A social check on the fundamental attribution error.
Previous attitude-attribution studies indicate that people are often quick to draw conclusions about the attitudes and personalities of others-even when plausible external or situational causes for
Accountability and Risk Taking
An experiment examined whether accountability causes people to prefer more cautious, less risky choice alternatives. Self described high and low risk takers chose between pairs of lotteries varying
Accountability for Consequential Decisions: Justifying Ethical Judgments to Audiences
College students believed that they were judges in a real cheating case (in actuality, it was fictitious) under adjudication by a student honor court. Participants recommended harsher punishment
Resolving Ethical Dilemmas in Management: Experimental Investigations of Values, Accountability, and Choice
Hypotheses regarding the effects of personal values and accountability on the resolution of ethical dilemmas in management were formulated and tested experimentally with a sample of 135 M.B.A.
Deescalation Strategies: A Comparison of Techniques for Reducing Commitment to Losing Courses of Action
Previous research suggests that decision makers have a tendency to become locked into courses of action—to throw good money after bad in dealing with losing projects. The present study directly
Knee-deep in the Big Muddy: A study of escalating commitment to a chosen course of action.
It is commonly expected that individuals will reverse decisions or change behaviors which result in negative consequences. Yet, within investment decision contexts, negative consequences may actually
Elastic Shifts of Opinion: Determinants of Direction and Durability
In a pair of studies, subjects were found to shift their positions on an issue while they were expecting to engage an opponent in a discussion of that issue. As predicted, it was possible to