Social utility and desirability of internal and external employees: insights for collaboration at work

Abstract : Numerous studies have shown that internal explanations are preferred to external ones. After taking into consideration that this emphasis of the actor's importance resulted from a bias, it was argued that it was rather the proof of a social norm: the norm of internality. Nevertheless, research tending to highlight the existence of this norm seems, in the case of certain authors, to be accompanied by a methodological bias that invalidates them. However, to confer on an object the status of a social norm means to assign a value (in terms of desirability and utility) to that object. This study aims to verify once more the existence of an internality norm, by employing a novel procedure of examining the value attributed to internality. One hundred and seventy employees were questioned on the desirability and utility they would confer to a future work colleague. They had to assess the social value of a future co-worker on the basis of the answers given by this colleague to an internality / externality questionnaire. The results show that the internal individuals are almost always preferred to external ones, both in terms of desirability and utility, regardless of the future status (peer vs. subordinate) of that collaborator. But it should be emphasized that this preference for the internal individuals is solely a function of a predominance of the positive judgments passed on the internal individuals, and not of a negative evaluation of the external ones. This means that the external ones are not stigmatized.
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Crisanta-Alina Mazilescu, Bernard Gangloff. Social utility and desirability of internal and external employees: insights for collaboration at work. Psihologia Resurselor Umane, Association of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2017, 15 (1), pp.69 - 79. ⟨10.24837/pru.2017.1.6⟩. ⟨hal-01693389⟩

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