Marketing Papers

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

September 1977


Previously published research suggested that the typical manager may be expected to harm others in his role as a manager. Further support for this was drawn from the Panalba role-playing case. None of the 57 control groups in this case were willing to remove a dangerous drug from the market. In fact, 79% of these groups took active steps to prevent its removal. This decision was classified as irresponsible by 97% of the respondents to a questionnaire. Because the role exerts such powerful effects, an attempt was made to modify subject’s perceptions of their role so that managers would feel responsible to all of the firm’s interest groups. Some subjects were told that board members should represent all interest groups; other subjects were placed on boards of directors where the different groups were represented. Subjects in both groups also received information on the impact of the decisions upon stockholders, employees, and customers. The percentage of irresponsible decisions was reduced under these conditions as only 22% of the 116 groups selected the highly irresponsible decision.


Postprint version. Published in Journal of Business Research, Volume 5, Issue 3, September 1977, pages 185-213. The author has asserted his/her right to include this material in ScholarlyCommons@Penn.
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obedience to authority, Panalba, role-playing, social accounting, social responsibility, stakeholder theory



Date Posted: 15 August 2006