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Uncertainty, Secrecy, and the Choice of Similar Others

Gerald R. Salancik and Jeffrey Pfeffer
Social Psychology
Vol. 41, No. 3 (Sep., 1978), pp. 246-255
DOI: 10.2307/3033561
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3033561
Page Count: 10
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Uncertainty, Secrecy, and the Choice of Similar Others
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Abstract

The effects of uncertainty of criteria and secrecy in decision making on the tendency of subjects to choose job applicants similar to themselves were examined. Uncertainty was operationalized as a choice among candidates approximately equally qualified as defined by a set of candidate attributes. Secrecy referred to two conditions: (1) whether or not the decision-maker's name was to be publicly identified with the recommendation; and (2) whether or not the information used by the subject to form his recommendation was to be released to others. Uncertainty tended to increase the use of social similarity as a criterion for choice, while the release of information relevant to the choice tended to decrease the subjects' choice of others similar to themselves in both incertain and certain conditions. Identifying the subject with his choice tended to increase the use of social similarity when information was not released, but tended to decrease it when information was released. This interaction effect was less clear in reliability and interpretation.

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