What Drives Cultural Differences in Deference to Authorities? Internalized Goals Versus Injunctive Norms

59 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2010

See all articles by Krishna Savani

Krishna Savani

Nanyang Business School

Michael Morris

Columbia Business School - Management

N. V. R. Naidu

M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology (MSRIT)

Date Written: December 2, 2010

Abstract

We examine the claim that acting deferentially in the presence of authority figures is more pervasive in Indian than in Western cultures, and explore two psychological mechanisms for this cultural difference: internalized goals and injunctive norms. Study 1 found that after reflecting upon an authority’s expectations, Indians but not Americans accommodate in their clothing choices but not in their evaluations of various clothing options. Study 2 found that merely activating the concept of authority figures, without highlighting specific expectations, was sufficient to influence Indians’ choices of various courses but not their evaluations. Examining a more basic distinction underlying internalized goals vs. injunctive norms, Study 3 found that authority primes influenced Indians’ ratings of what they should do but not what they want to do. Study 4 found that the effect of explicit authority primes did not increase after brief delays, thus inconsistent with the internalized goal mechanism. However, participants who were less likely to accommodate to the salient authority experienced more guilt across delay conditions, thus supporting the injunctive norms mechanism. The findings suggest that manipulating injunctive norms, rather than personal values, can be a means for inducing or eliminating deferential behaviors in Indian settings.

Keywords: accommodation, decision making, choice, priming, goals, norms, automaticity, culture, India

Suggested Citation

Savani, Krishna and Morris, Michael W. and Naidu, N. V. R., What Drives Cultural Differences in Deference to Authorities? Internalized Goals Versus Injunctive Norms (December 2, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1719586 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1719586

Krishna Savani (Contact Author)

Nanyang Business School ( email )

Singapore, 639798
Singapore

HOME PAGE: http://www.krishnasavani.com

Michael W. Morris

Columbia Business School - Management ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-2296 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.michaelwmorris.com

N. V. R. Naidu

M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology (MSRIT) ( email )

Bangalore, 560054
India

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
73
Abstract Views
687
rank
319,874
PlumX Metrics