Other-serving bias in advice-taking: When advisors receive more credit than blame

Mauricio Palmeira, Guergana Spassova, Hean Tat Keh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


We examine attributions of responsibility in advice-taking. In contrast to the well-documented self-serving bias, we find the opposite phenomenon, whereby decision-makers view an advisor as more responsible for a positive rather than a negative outcome, while they view themselves as more responsible for a negative rather than a positive outcome. We propose that this other-serving pattern of attributions is driven by a hindsight bias in the positive-outcome condition. Namely, knowledge that the outcome is positive and consistent with the advisor s recommendation makes the outcome appear to be under the control of the advisor, which increases the perceived responsibility of the advisor relative to that of the decision-maker. No such bias is observed in the negative-outcome condition. We conduct five studies that show the robustness of this bias, provide evidence for the mechanism, and rule out several alternative explanations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13 - 25
Number of pages13
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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