David M. Messick

David M. Messick
Northwestern University | NU · Kellogg School of Management

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136
Publications
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Introduction

Publications

Publications (136)
Article
An experiment is reported which investigates the validity of Siegel’ s concept of the utility of variability. Human Ss predicted which of two types of stimuli would occur on each of 240 trials. Half of the 40 Ss had 2 responses (1 for each type of stimulus) while the other half had 10 (5 for each type). Within each of these groups, half the Ss saw...
Article
Full-text available
Data from a previous study are reanalyzed. The study is typical 10-choice probability learning task including 1500 trials. The results demonstrate the feasibility of decomposing multiple-choice decision behavior into two distinct processes. The first process is concerned with the uncertainty of the response distribution, and the second process is c...
Article
Same-sex groups were confronted with mathematically equivalent social dilemma games, framed as take-some or give-some games. For choice behaviour no difference between take-some and give-some games was observed. However, in take-some games subjects were more inclined to relinquish decision-making authority to a leader than in give-some games. Some...
Article
Insights from contemporary psychology can illuminate the common psychological processes that facilitate unethical decision making. I will illustrate several of these processes and describe steps that may be taken to reduce or eliminate the undesirable consequences of these processes. A generic problem with these processes is that they are totally i...
Article
In this paper, we found that fairness judgments in intergenerational allocation decisions depend on (1) individuals’ position in the intergenerational sequence (i.e., whether they are in the preceding or succeeding generation), (2) the amount of uncertainty about the effect of the preceding generation’s decisions on the succeeding one, and (3) whet...
Article
Full-text available
This study was conducted to determine how people form conceptualizations of other countries' deservingness for nonmilitary foreign aid. A factor analysis of 78 college students' ratings of 21 variables for their importance in determining whether another country is deserving of economic aid yielded appropriate variables for closer examination. In th...
Article
The chapters in this book suggest that efforts to enhance ethical behavior may backfire. An examination of this phenomenon from the perspective of the “logic of appropriateness” may shed light on this perversity.
Article
The present study examined the relationship between individuals social motives or values and their level of cooperation during a simulated resource conservation crisis Prior to the resource task, a decomposed game procedure was used to classify subjects as cooperatively or noncooperatively oriented Subjects, in groups of six, were led to believe th...
Chapter
Frank's chapter calls into question the vulnerability of consequentialist moral reasoning to the exploitability of the “moral wiggle room” that accompanies consequentialist methodology. Thus, consequentialist reasoning may not produce the best consequences, having been compromised by conflicts of interest, and consequentialists may find that other...
Article
Full-text available
Despite decades of experimental social dilemma research, "theoretical integration has proven elusive" (Smithson & Foddy, 1999, p. 14). To advance a theory of decision making in social dilemmas, this article provides a conceptual review of the literature that applies a "logic of appropriateness" (March, 1994) framework. The appropriateness framework...
Article
Full-text available
This paper examines the root of unethical dicisions by identifying the psychological forces that promote self-deception. Self-deception allows one to behave self-interestedly while, at the same time, falsely believing that one's moral principles were upheld. The end result of this internal con game is that the ethical aspects of the decision fade i...
Article
Contents: A.P. Brief, J.P. Walsh, Series Editors' Foreword. J.M. Darley, D.M. Messick, T.R. Tyler, Introduction: Social Influence and Ethics in Organizations. Part I:Social Influence in Hierarchies. H.C. Kelman, Ethical Limits on the Use of Influence in Hierarchical Relationships. R.S. Peterson, Toward a More Deontological Approach to the Ethical U...
Article
Executives today face many difficult, potentially explosive situations in which they must make decisions that can help or harm their firms, themselves, and others. How can they improve the ethical quality of their decisions? How can they ensure that their decisions will not backfire? The authors discuss three types of theories - theories about the...
Article
In this paper, we argue that the use of the term “rationality” in Bazerman's book Judgment in Managerial Decision Making (JMDM) is extremely useful, and creates a useful dialogue between philosophical and psychological perspectives of ethics and morality. We conclude that while behavioral decision research can gain important insights by more fully...
Article
Full-text available
This article offers a cognitive account of the means versus ends focus of environmental regulation. The first of two studies suggests that standards (the means) exert an influence on judgments of proposed environmental solutions that is independent of the extent to which those solutions protect the environment (the ends). Standard-based decisions p...
Article
Full-text available
In social dilemma situations, each individual always receives a higher payoff for defecting than for cooperating, but all are better off if all cooperate than if all defect. Often, however, people in social dilemmas attend more to the group's payoffs than to their own, either automatically or to behave “appropriately.” But whereas social identity e...
Article
Full-text available
This chapter reviews the experimental literature that has accumulated in the last decade on common resource dilemmas and some related situations. It identifies major research topics as well as empirical findings. We provide a theoretical framework that focuses on studies of individual differences, contextual effects, and social structure as non-dec...
Article
Three studies are used to examine how surveillance and sanctioning systems affect cooperative behavior in dilemma situations. The first two studies demonstrate that a weak sanctioning system results in less cooperation than no sanctioning system; furthermore, results from the second study suggest that sanctions affect the type of decision people pe...
Article
This paper examines the influence of surveillance and sanctioning systems on cooperative behavior in dilemma situations. The first study provides evidence that a weak sanctioning system can actually result in less cooperation than no sanctioning system at all and suggests that one reason for this effect is that sanctions affect the type of decision...
Article
In this paper I discuss evidence that traditional, consequentialist models of decision making are inadequate to account for human decision making. The alternative model that I explore derives from March’s idea that decision processes involve perceptions of appropriateness, identity, and rule-based choice.
Article
In this article, I want to draw attention to one strand of the complex web of processes that are involved when people group others, including themselves, into social categories. I will focus on the tendency to treat members of one’s own group more favorably than nonmembers, a tendency that has been called ingroup favoritism . The structure of the a...
Article
This article examines Rowan’s discussion of my earlier paper (Messick, 1995). His warnings about the naturalistic fallacy and self-interest are well taken, but they constitute less serious threats to the usefulness of my suggestions than he indicates.
Article
The three experiments presented here modified the standard ultimatum game by having a committee of five people either accept or reject offers made by one allocator. Although the decision rule the committee used to decide whether to accept or reject the offer had a large effect on the optimal allocation strategy, we hypothesized that allocators woul...
Article
In this article we contrast static and dynamic theories of the effects of increasing the costs and benefits of cooperation in a repeated play prisoners' dilemma (PD). Using computer simulation as the methodology, we show that different decision heuristics respond differently to changes in the cost-benefit structure of a PD game, an effect not expec...
Article
Reagan's triumph was very much... a rousing vote of confidence in him and his politics. [Newsweek, shortly after Ronald Reagan defeated President Jimmy Carter with 50.7% of the popular vote in 1980 (Goldman, 1980)].
Article
This paper reports two experiments that examine factors influencing the detection of salary discrimination in organizations. Subjects were presented with information about the qualifications and salaries of female and male managers in 10 departments of an hypothetical company and were asked to judge the fairness of these salaries. It was hypothesiz...
Article
Research by Messick et al. (1985) concerning the egocentric fairness bias was replicated using linguistic choices rather than rating scales. Subjects were asked to choose from among six frequency quantifiers to describe the estimated frequency of moral and immoral behaviours as performed by ‘I’ or ‘Other people’. Results replicate the dual slope ph...
Chapter
The focus of this chapter is on cooperative decision making in social dilemmas. We study the effect of some frequently used strategies or guidelines (heuristics) on making decisions in situations of uncertainty and conflict. There is uncertainty because we do not know how each of the others will behave, and there is conflict because our own interes...
Chapter
Social dilemmas are complex situations in which we can choose what is in our own immediate best interest or what is in the best interest of our groups, which include ourselves as well as others. Finding solutions for social dilemmas constitutes one of the most important challenges for the social and behavioral sciences.
Article
Full-text available
The understanding of the dynamics underlying cooperative and competitive behavior in large groups constitutes a dazzlingly complex challenge to social and behavioral scientists. The complexity arises from at least two mechanisms, each of which we barely understand at the moment. The first is the mere existence of self-sacrificial behavior. The seco...
Book
Social dilemmas are situations in which individuals, groups or nations face a choice between their own short-term interests and the longer-term interests of all parties involved, including themselves. As a consequence, in the end they all regret the way they have acted. Examples of social dilemmas are easy to find: depletion of vital resources, arm...
Article
Attitudes and behaviors of employees in organizations are influenced by fairness judgments employees make about organizations. A model is presented that proposes (i) when fairness becomes an issue to employees, (ii) how certain rules are chosen to evaluate a situation as fair or unfair, and (iii) the psychological and behavioral reactions that may...
Article
Inspection curtailment is a reduction in checkups in the face of negative consequences of a potential disease. Participants indicated how frequently inspections to detect a given disease should occur. In Experiment 1, the recommended inspection frequency increased regularly with risk (probability) of disease occurrence but was an inverted U-shaped...
Article
Inspection curtailment is a reduction in checkups in the face of negative consequences of a potential disease. Participants indicated how frequently inspections to detect a given disease should occur. In Experiment 1, the recommended inspection frequency increased regularly with risk (probability) of disease occurrence but was an inverted U-shaped...
Article
There are three generic problems that arise in the use of the concept of equality as a principle of fairness. These problems concern (i) determining when equality is appropriate as opposed to some other principle, (ii) deciding how equality is to be operationalized, and (iii) determining how to implement equality. The proposal is made that these in...
Article
Two experiments examined the influence of multiple reference points on the evaluation of outcomes and decisions that lead to those outcomes. Norm theory is applied as a conceptual framework for understanding the conditions under which alternative norms may be evoked by the decision context and how they are subsequently used as reference points in t...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter presents an overview of the theoretical approach and major empirical results from our research program which began over ten years ago to investigate institutional solutions to social dilemmas involving shared resources. This research started with the goal of understanding the conditions under which people will decide to change the rule...
Article
This article describes computer simulations in which pairs of ''individuals'' in large groups played a prisoners' dilemma game. The individual's choice to cooperate or not was determined by 1 of 3 simple heuristics: tit-for-tat; win-stay, lose-change; or win-cooperate, lose-defect. Wins and losses were determined through the comparison of a play's...
Article
Full-text available
This article describes computer simulations in which pairs of "individuals" in large groups played a prisoners' dilemma game. The individual's choice to cooperate or not was determined by 1 of 3 simple heuristics: tit-for-tat; win-stay, lose-change; or win-cooperate, lose-defect. Wins and losses were determined through the comparison of a play's ou...
Article
Without Abstract
Article
This report examines several factors that influence the detection of gender discrimination in organizations We presented subjects with information about the qualifications and salaries of women and men in 10 departments of a hypothetical company The information was created so that one or the other gender was undercompensated relative to its qualifi...
Article
In this paper we explore the aggregate consequences of three simple individual choice rules in a simulated society in which the interaction between pairs of actors is constituted as a Pnsoner's Dilemma (PDG). After several simulations under different conditions, the most important conclusion is that in highly competitive PDG settings, using a compe...
Article
After contrasting group size uncertainty with environmental uncertainty, the authors develop a prototypical situation involving multiple sources within which group size uncertainty can be studied. Equilibrium solutions based on strategic analysis are developed for simple cases and the properties of the equilibria are described. The authors address...
Article
Subjects' judgments of the mean of 12 scores were influenced by the way in which the scores were dichotomized. The estimated mean was higher when the three highest scores formed one group (e.g., payments for women) and the nine lowest formed the other (e.g., payments for men) than when the nine highest were one group and the three lowest the other....
Article
How often should one check on a system that is at risk for some malfunction? The optimal interval between inspections depends on the likelihood of malfunction, the cost of inspection, and the cost of treatment. We develop a mathematical expression for the optimal inspection interval as a function of these parameters and then an approximation for th...
Article
Subjects read a story in which five business partners needed to allocate the profits and expenses of the partnership in a fair and reasonable manner. Each of the partners worked independently and produced different gross incomes between $140 and $285. The gross incomes were to be divided into expenses and profits. Subjects were asked to fill in fai...
Article
in this chapter we report a number of studies of what we call the uniqueness bias, the tendency for people to underestimate the proportion of people who can or will perform socially desirable actions / we will show that it [uniqueness bias] is constrained for particular kinds of behavior, specifically where the motivation to see oneself as better t...
Chapter
Social dilemmas are pernicious interpersonal situations in which undesirable consequences are created by a group of people each of whom is sensibly trying to bring about desirable consequences. Why should secretaries or faculty members pay the dues to join labor unions the benefits of which they would enjoy whether they become members or not (Messi...
Article
The goals of the present study were (1) to demonstrate again that subjects in social decision tasks involving shared resources cannot be modelled as strategic money maximizers, and (2) to investigate further factors that affect the use of what we have called social decision heuristics. Subjects were led to believe that they were the first of six gr...
Article
Full-text available
Past research suggests that people believe that they perform socially desirable behaviors more frequently and socially undesirable behaviors less frequently than others (Goethals, 1986; Messick, Bloom, Boldizar, & Samuelson, 1985). The present research examined whether this perception also characterizes people's thinking about intelligent and unint...
Article
Full-text available
This study presents a conceptual model that describes how aid deservingness decisions are made. The model contains the three concepts of need, similarity, and estimated effectiveness. The model also includes an interaction component involving need and similarity. Two variables were used to operationalize each of the three concepts. A total of 136 s...
Article
Recent research indicates that people with different social values perceive the cooperative–competitive distinction differently. Cooperators see it as an evaluative, good–bad dimension, whereas noncooperators see it as a dynamic, strong–weak dimension. We found behavioral support for this principle in that cooperators and competitors displayed diff...
Article
These studies were designed to assess ethnocentrism and stereotypes as possible mediators of intergroup fairness biases. In Study 1, subjects wrote fair and unfair behaviors about their own sex (the ingroup) and the opposite sex (the outgroup). More fair and fewer unfair behaviors were written about the ingroup than about the outgroup, supporting t...
Article
The feature-positive effect refers to the tendency in animals and humans to experience difficulty processing nonoccurrences. The present study investigated the role of this phenomenon in self-perception and in estimates of consensus. Subjects were asked to express a preference either by doing something, the active response, or by doing nothing, the...
Chapter
Full-text available
In many group decision making settings, members must consider two sources of uncertainty, environmental and social. Environmental uncertainty refers to environmental variables that determine which group action is best, while social uncertainty centers on how other group members will respond. The present study investigated members' responses to thes...
Article
We designed two experiments to examine the influence of a group decision on subjects' estimates of the attitudes of group members. In Experiment 1, subjects were led to believe that their initial vote in a jury decision-making task either agreed or disagreed with the majority vote and, independently of agreement with the majority, that their vote e...
Article
There is evidence that people respond differently to people-induced scarcities and abundances than to nature-induced ones. In a resource dilemma game, half of 72 subjects were confronted with a scarce remaining resource and the other half with an abundant one. Half of the subjects in each of these conditions learned that scarcity and abundance coul...
Article
Several experiments are described in which college students wrote lists of behaviors that were fair, good, or intelligent and lists that were unfair, bad, or unintelligent. The use of the first person pronoun ‘I’ occurred with positive acts with relative frequencies close to the golden section, as did the use of ‘they’ with the negative behaviors....
Article
Full-text available
Investigated the effects of inequities in access to and use of shared resources on harvest decisions and preferences for structural change in resource dilemmas. 70 undergraduates, in groups of approximately 6, harvested resource units from a common resource pool over 10 trials. Following the harvest trials, Ss were asked to vote on how to conduct t...
Article
Experiment 1 was a replication in the Netherlands of a study reported by D. M. Messick, S. Bloom, J. P. Boldizar, and C. D. Samuelson (1985, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 21, 480–500). Subjects were asked to write down as many fair or unfair things as they could think of in 5 min. If the subjects thought that they did those things more...
Article
Investigated the effects of inequities in access to and use of shared resources on harvest decisions and preferences for structural change in resource dilemmas. 70 undergraduates, in groups of approximately 6, harvested resource units from a common resource pool over 10 trials. Following the harvest trials, Ss were asked to vote on how to conduct t...
Article
Full-text available
Comments on the contribution of D. R. Fox (see record 1985-30567-001) whose central thesis was that psychological researchers have ignored radical decentralization as a possible solution to the global commons problem confronting society today. It is suggested that Fox's argument is weakened by inaccurate statements and logical flaws. In addition,...
Article
Comments on the contribution of D. R. Fox (see record 1985-30567-001 ) whose central thesis was that psychological researchers have ignored radical decentralization as a possible solution to the global commons problem confronting society today. It is suggested that Fox's argument is weakened by inaccurate statements and logical flaws. In addition,...
Article
Full-text available
Groups of six undergraduates were given a resource management task in which they were to harvest points from a regenerating resource pool. Their objective was to maximize individual harvests while maintaining the common resource pool. Following the trials, subjects were asked to vote on how to conduct a second session. The 2 × 2 × 3 between-subject...
Article
There is a parallel between our tendency to infer the attitudes of an individual on the basis of his or her behavior, regardless of the external constraints (Jones & Harris, 1967; Ross, 1977), and our tendency to infer the attitudes of a group on the basis of the group's decision, regardless of the group decision rule. The present research focuses...
Article
This paper reports an experiment testing two hypotheses. The first is that the value or utility associated with a payment to one's self and a payment to a co-worker can be represented as an additive function of a utility for own payment (nonsocial utility) and a utility for the difference between own and other's payment (social utility). The second...
Article
Investigated the finding of R. C. Cass and J. J. Edney (see record 1980-10833-001) and D. M. Messick and C. L. McClelland (see record 1983-32644-001) that individuals perform better than groups in a replenishable resource trap. It was proposed that individuals are superior to groups, in part, because members of large groups are unable to discern...
Article
Full-text available
Subjects wrote lists of either fair or unfair things that they or others did. A pervasive tendency was found for subjects to associate themselves with fair behaviors and others with unfair behaviors. When different subjects rated samples of the written behaviors for fairness and frequency we found that fair behaviors were rated as more frequent tha...
Article
Full-text available
In a field study, subjects were mailed a request for a monetary contribution toward the maintenance of a public good. One half the subjects received only this request, while the other half received the request along with a short questionnaire that asked for subjects' opinions regarding how their contributions might be best put to use. It was predic...
Article
Observers are known to form inferences about an actor on the basis of the actor's behavior, regardless of the external forces contributing to that behavior. Two studies were conducted to determine whether this inferential error would also occur at the level of group activity. In the first study, 70 undergraduates read about a decision made by a nat...
Chapter
When we think about social interdependence and decision making we often tend to think about game theory in contrast to decision theory. Game theory, after all, is the analysis of decision making and strategic planning in environments that are not neutral or indifferent to our goals and actions. These environments consist of others who have their ow...
Article
Full-text available
Administered a resource management task to 86 US and 97 Dutch undergraduates. Ss were divided into groups of 6 and instructed to harvest points from a regenerating resource pool. Their objective was to maximize individual harvests while maintaining the resource pool. The factorial design crossed 3 levels of resource use (overuse, underuse, and opti...
Article
Reviews the literature on social dilemmas and describes several real-life problems that can be characterized as social dilemmas. The formal structure of social dilemmas is discussed and possible solutions are given. Results from social-dilemma experiments are considered especially in regard to their validity. Several suggestions for future research...
Article
Thirty-six runners were inconspicuously timed while running along a footpath. The runners' speeds in two adjacent 45-yd. segments were measured. One-third of the Ss ran the entire 90-yd. length alone. Another third encountered a female seated with her back to the runner at the halfway point (mere presence). The final third encountered a female faci...
Article
Full-text available
This article deals with decision making in small human groups that share renewable resources. It describes a computer-controlled laboratory that was developed to study factors that influence group members' decisions about resource uses in situations which may lead to the so-called “tragedy of the commons,” in which common resources are depleted unl...
Article
A distinction is drawn between social traps-a noncorrespondence between individual and group outcomes -and temporal traps-a noncorrespondence between short-run and long-run outcomes to an individual. Most real-world social dilemmas involve both kinds of oppositions. An experiment is reported in which the two types of traps are separated Groups perf...
Article
80 undergraduates, in groups of 6, took "harvests" from a regenerating resource pool so as to maximize their harvests while maintaining the pool. False feedback was provided regarding the other Ss' harvest sizes. One-third of the Ss thought that the others were overusing the resource, one-third thought that the others were underusing it, and the re...
Article
80 undergraduates, in groups of 6, took "harvests" from a regenerating resource pool so as to maximize their harvests while maintaining the pool. False feedback was provided regarding the other Ss' harvest sizes. One-third of the Ss thought that the others were overusing the resource, one-third thought that the others were underusing it, and the re...
Article
An experiment was conducted in which Ss (N = 149) could work fast to help a dependent E whose degree of dependence on the Ss’ performance was varied. Sex of the S and sex of the E were crossed and two different tasks were used. Ss of both sexes worked harder for the dependent Es of both sexes than for the less dependent ones. No main effects or int...

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