Student Research

The Ultimate Attribution Error and Voting For Ingratiators

Ingratiation, or deliberately attempting to get someone to like oneself, is an influence tactic that can be utilized in the workplace. This study utilizes the ultimate attribution error (UAE), which claims that individuals attribute others' positive behaviors to their situation and negative behaviors to their disposition. In particular, it addresses whether people put themselves in a more positive light than they do others when predicting future behavior in the context of responding to ingratiation. The present study also addresses judgments and behaviors linked to gender roles in the perception of ingratiation. Three hypotheses are explored: (1) participants rate others as more likely than themselves to vote for an ingratiator; (2) females/more feminine participants perceive ingratiators more favorably and are more likely to vote for those individuals; and (3) female ingratiators are perceived more favorably than male ingratiators by participants. In a laboratory quasi-experiment with a 2x2x2 mixed design, 174 participants with an average age of 20.33 viewed scripted videos displaying either a male or female job candidate using ingratiation while applying for a job. Participants completed a questionnaire measuring their perceptions of the ingratiatory, femininity, masculinity, and demographic variables. Further, correlations between participant sex, femininity, and likelihood to vote indicated that participant sex is unrelated to whether participants like ingratiators, but that the femininity of participants is, such that more feminine participants are more likely to vote for ingratiators. Additional research will be conducted on differences in perceptions of ingratiation in the workplace by using the UAE.

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