Observers' reactions to an equal or equitable allocator in relation to allocator input, causal attributions, and value importance

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Abstract

Reactions to an equal or equitable allocator working with a partner in a team situation were investigated using a 5-factor design with Sex of Subject, Sex of Allocator, Nature of Expectation (high or low expectation of success based upon either consensus or consistency information), Input of Allocator (high or low performance), and Type of Distribution (equal or equitable) as the 5 factors. Judgments concerning the fairness of the allocation, impressions of the allocator's personality, liking for the allocator, and the importance of possible causes of the allocator's performance were obtained from 339 male and female subjects for each hypothetical situation involving one of the combinations of the 5 factors. Rankings of the relative importance of the Rokeach terminal and instrumental values were also available for most of these subjects. Results were consistent with hypotheses and indicated that subjects use a range of cues and engage in a complex attributional process in making judgments about an allocator. In addition to replicating and extending past findings on the effects of allocator input, the results also indicated that confirmation and disconfirmation of expectancies affected subjects' judgments. Protestant ethic values, competence values, and the value assigned to wisdom also influenced reactions to the allocator, as did an Australian concern with [mateship]. Results were discussed in relation to the view that social justice may take different forms depending upon both situational context and task demands. The importance of further research into the effects of personal and cultural values on allocator decisions and reactions to them was emphasized.

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