Differences Between Making Decisions For The Self Versus For Others: A Reversal Of The Choice Overload Effect
In both organizational and social arenas, people make decisions for themselves and for other people. But research in decision making has provided little input into how these decisions are psychologically different. In this paper, I propose that decisions- depending on whether people are deciding for themselves or others-vary according to regulatory focus, such that, people who make decisions for themselves are in a prevention focus, whereas people who make decisions for others are in a promotion focus. Drawing on regulatory focus, in particular work on errors of omission and commission, I hypothesize that people who make decisions for others experience a reversal of the choice overload effect. In seven studies, including a field study and a mini meta-analysis, I found that people who make decisions for themselves are less satisfied after selecting among many compared to few options, yet, people who make decisions for others are more satisfied after selecting among many compared to few options. Implications and suggestions for other differences in self-other decision making are discussed.
dissertation or thesis