ERIC Number: ED201936
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Sep
Role Constraints and Outcome Severity: Factors in Responsibility Attribution.
Clark, Nathan T.; Hren, Richard F.
The attribution of responsibility literature may suffer from the lack of an appropriate conceptual basis. Although past research has demonstrated the usefulness of Heider's levels of responsibility framework, one facet of Heider's theory that has received little attention is the justification level. Occupational role constraints and severity of outcome were manipulated as a test of Heider's justification level of responsibility for non-intended outcomes. Undergraduates (N=96) read one of four accident case reports in which either an ambulance or an automobile driven by a reporter swerved out of control, causing either minor or serious damage to a third party. Subjects rated the reporter as more responsible (especially in the severe outcome condition), less justified in his behavior, and also recommended the imposition of a larger fine. The severity factor interacted with the role factor only for the responsibility rating. Results demonstrated that the justification effect offers further support for the retention of severity as an important variable and indicates that a distinction should be maintained between the constructs of responsibility and punishment. (Author/NRB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (88th, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, September 1-5, 1980). Best copy available.