Collective Responsibility in a Collectivistic Culture: Cognitive and Functional Aspects

[Speaker] Oh, Yong-taek:1
[Co-author] Jung, Taeyun:1
1:Chung-Ang University (Korea(Republic of Korea))

In the present study we explored collective responsibility, which refers to a kind of responsibilities people hold for the other group member's misconduct. Although a number of studies have shown that people in collectivistic cultures (e.g., China, Japan, Singapore, etc.) assign collective responsibility more than do people in individualistic cultures (e.g., Canada, the USA, and western European countries), researchers have rarely investigated the relationship between collective responsibility judgment and causality attribution. Drawing on Heider's (1958) attribution model, we examined how the collective responsibility judgment (blameworthy, punishment, and reimbursement) relates to the perception of causality (commission, intention, and predictability) and also to the expectation for after-effects of collective responsibility. The results show that the causal perception, not the expectation for positive outcomes, is related to the collective responsibility judgment. This implies that the cultural difference in collective responsibility may be due to cognitive differences rather than functional differences between cultures.
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