Table of Contents
Journal of Criminology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 920484, 10 pages
Research Article

Attribution of Responsibility for Organizational Wrongdoing: A Partial Test of an Integrated Model

Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Texas Christian University TCU, P.O. Box 298710, Fort Worth, TX 76129, USA

Received 7 June 2013; Revised 17 August 2013; Accepted 31 August 2013

Academic Editor: Kevin M. Beaver

Copyright © 2013 Jeannine A. Gailey. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The present study is an exploratory examination of the influence of social and organizational features on respondents’ attributions of responsibility for wrongdoing within an organization. Respondents read a vignette of organizational wrongdoing that included the manipulation of social features, such as whether the organizational actor was following orders or acting on his volition (social role) and if the actor tried to cover up his actions or not (deed), and organizational features, such as standard operating procedures (SOP) and institutionalized mental schemas. Following the vignette, respondents made attributional judgments to both the individual actor and organization based on a multidimensional measure of responsibility. Results indicated that the actor’s role within the organization, his actions or deeds, and organizational SOP significantly impacted how respondents attributed responsibility (on multiple dimensions) to either the individual or organization. Moreover, results indicated that women and men tended to attribute responsibility differently. Recommendations are made to improve future tests of the integrated model.