D’Amore-McKim School of Business assistant professor of marketing Mary Steffel collaborated with Jaclyn Perrmann-Graham from the University of Cincinnati and Elanor Williams from Indiana University to research how people decide to delegate decisions. Often, this decision is reached based on how it will impact others, especially if the choices could have negative consequences.
The research, published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, found that people were two or three times more likely to delegate less than appealing options for someone else, rather than on their own behalf.
During one experiment, participants had to book hotel reservations for their boss’s upcoming business trip. Research found that they were more likely to delegate the choice to someone else, such as an office manager, when the reservation was for their boss, but make the choice when it directly impacted their own stay instead.
“People care more about avoiding blame for bad outcomes than getting credit for good outcomes,” said Steffel.