Diffusion of Responsibility

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The tendency for persons in a group to fail to act—e.g., in an emergency—because others are present, and the responsibility for acting is diffused, causing a bystander effect
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
For example, Wells Fargo employees opening fake banking accounts called it "gaming" rather than "fraud." When people pirate music or break licenses on software they may call it "file sharing" instead of "stealing." When they're about to distort some accounting or sales numbers, employees may say "Everyone does it" (diffusion of responsibility) or "It's no big deal" (distortion of consequences).
Moral disengagement refers to the process of removing ethical standards for one's actions by deactivating the moral self-regulatory processes that normally inhibit unethical behavior, and engaging interrelated cognitive mechanisms, including moral justification, euphemistic labeling, advantageous comparison, displacement of responsibility, diffusion of responsibility, distortion of consequences, attribution of blame, and dehumanization (Bandura, Barbaranelli, Caprara, & Pastorelli, 1996).
(5) Diffusion of responsibility: the sense of responsibility may be diffused by division of labor, group decision-making, or group action.
This diffusion of responsibility attests to the success of neoliberalism as each day we see a further erosion of higher education as a public good.
The entrenched norm of diffusion of responsibility shall contribute to putting strategic discretions and decisions into their lap, and it will be their terms that shall prevail.
Psychologists believe that one of the main reasons is diffusion of responsibility - we assume that because there are other people around, somebody else will step in.
Two conflicting rules are at play here: "This person is in need; I should help him" and "No one else is helping, why should 1?" Too often, the latter (a rationalized reaction) wins out due to the perceived diffusion of responsibility and social influence.
Researchers have attributed three main reasons: one, the diffusion of responsibility - that is, the lack of a sense that it is any one person's job to step in, since there are others around who might do so (onlookers are more likely to intervene if there are few or no other witnesses); two, social influence, or the natural human tendency to look around to see how others are acting and shape one's own actions accordingly; and three, simple shyness at standing out from a passive crowd.
Whenever we take action (rather than wait for someone else to do it) when observing someone being stigmatized, one by one, we are combating both the bystander effect and the diffusion of responsibility, with responsible behavior.
But, it also shows how so called 'diffusion of responsibility' is still a thing in a modern and (I'd like to believe) evolved society.
But there may well have been other factors at play beside diffusion of responsibility.
While the diffusion of responsibility for national security from central government to the private sector may be controversial, the process does enable new security politics to emerge.
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