This paper extends research on attribution theory through three studies examining how the accuracy and explicitness of product safety information communicated to various entities within a causal chain influences blame attributions after an accident. Unlike prior research, we find consistent evidence that entities in the causal chain were able to limit blame attributions by communicating safety information that’s quality met or exceeded the quality of information available to that entity. Entities did not, however, benefit from providing more accurate information than what had been communicated to them by previous members of the causal chain. This insight suggests that the controllability of information communicated played an important role in the relationship between accurate communication and blame attributions. Our findings provide meaningful insight into steps that organizations can take to limit their potential for receiving blame following an accident, helping to bridge the gap between basic and applied research.
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Obenauer, William G. and Kalsher, Michael J.
"Is Honesty the Best Policy? Examining the Effect of Product Safety Communication on Blame Attributions in Causal Chains,"
American Business Review: Vol. 25:
2, Article 7.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.newhaven.edu/americanbusinessreview/vol25/iss2/7