Group: Impression

A challenge in our social world is getting over ourselves.

Was in an office waiting room. Reading material included, to some degree of surprise, Canadian Business magazine. From “The Watercooler” section, May, 2016:

Dept. of Egomania

Everybody gets the credit

People overstate their contribution to group projects, not just due to egocentrism, but also because credit is hard to estimate in large groups, a new UC Berkeley study shows. Estimates from students asked to quantify their contributions to a group project consistently totaled as much as 140%.

What does “large group” mean? Self-selected groups or randomly assigned groups? Searched more.

The paper is “Many hands make overloaded work: Over-claiming of responsibility increases with group size” by Juliana Schroeder of the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and Eugene M. Caruso and Nicholas Epley at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. Published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, in February of 2016.

Egocentrism is still part of the mix. It becomes more difficult, being egocentric, to appreciate the contributions of others, the larger the group. They find the same phenomenon in groups of MBA students as with academic co-authors. Overestimation increases with group size.

Article summarized by Hanna Lewis in the Daily Californian, March 8, 2016, “Campus study finds that group size increases perception of team contribution“.

The study, led by Juliana Schroeder and published Feb. 25 in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, analyzed how group size influences an individual’s perception of their contributions to a team. According to Schroeder, the extent of overclaiming surprised her.

“The big idea here is that people are often egocentric; they consider their own contributions before the contributions of others,” Schroeder said, adding that this phenomenon is natural, as one’s own ideas are more salient and accessible to them. “A challenge in our social world is getting over ourselves.”

The study included four experiments, including two field studies that documented the perceived contributions of both academic authors to articles and 699 Harvard University MBA students in study groups.

Participants were asked the percentage of the work they thought they were personally responsible for, ranking their contributions on a scale of 0-100 percent. Claims of responsibility frequently summed to more than 100 percent and as high as 150 percent in some larger groups of 14 people, Schroeder said.

Some implications:

According to (Dr. Ming) Leung (of the Haas School), when everyone feels like they have contributed more than others, people will be disappointed with the recognition and feedback they receive from management teams.

Or from each other?


Schroeder said her research has helped elucidate egocentrism reduction strategies, such as asking participants to first recall what their teammates contributed before recalling their own role.

It’s naturally me, not you; how could it be otherwise…

About brucelarochelle
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