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Mind your mind: social influence on individual decision-making.

Mufti, M., 2019. Mind your mind: social influence on individual decision-making. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

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MUFTI, Mehwish Zia_Ph.D._2019.pdf



Humans are usually docile. Refraining from the common use of the word, I mean that, human’s decisions are generally based on information exchanged within a social system through suggestions, recommendations, comments, and advice. Herbert Simon called this human tendency to rely on socially obtained information (SOI) for decision-making as ‘docility’. There are occasions when humans tend to avoid using and interacting with the resources of the environment they are part of, making them mostly non-docile. Hence, docility becomes individuals’ dynamic behavioural and cognitive disposition which assists effective completion of cognitive tasks, specifically decision-making. This thesis is one of the very few attempts to investigate the concept of docility to provide it with some level of institutionalization as organizations should 1) understand and highlight value of docility, and 2) establish supporting mechanisms assisting emergence of docility. The thesis comprises of chapters addressing the challenges of understanding docility within organizational environment. Each chapter has its own focused research objectives responding to the main research questions. First, the thesis provides an in-depth review which unfolds key arguments and debates concerning the development of the concept of docility based on the theory of bounded rationality (BR) and distributed cognition mechanism. This study develops a theoretical framework to identify and explain the effect of docility on the psychology of individual’s feedback-seeking behaviour (FSB) using Big Five (BiG5) personality traits including extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience (OTE). The study follows Ashford and Cummings’ concept of FSB as a day to day proactive socialization tactic to gather informal and evaluative information about one’s role requirements and performance. The model proposes docility as a moderator of the relationship between BiG5 personality traits and FSB. Exploring these relationships is particularly important as there is a strive to uncover the antecedents of FSB as well as find the psychological, cognitive and organizational factors related to docility in a hope of promoting both at workplace. Second, followed by description on methodological aspects, the empirical findings of the study based off the proposed conceptual model are presented. Third, the study tests the model quantitatively through multiple regressions to analyse a sample of 408 observations gathered through online survey from UK based employees working in teams of different organizations. Results of this study indicate that a person’s FSB is partially attributable to his or her personality makeup. The research confirms that non- docile behaviour weakens the positive relationship between proactive traits ─ extraversion and OTE─ and FSB. Findings show conditional moderation effects of highly docile behaviour on relationships between FSB and conscientiousness as well as FSB and agreeableness. Neuroticism did not influence FSB. Research finds significant positive relationship between docility and FSB which brings a new perspective to the current literature on both concepts. The findings benefit practitioners by gaining some knowledge about i) employees’ preferable feedback-seeking strategy considering their average level of docility and personality, ii) ways to provide feedback, and iii) availability and allocation of resources to provide feedback. To find the effects of organizational characteristics — namely formal and informal rules of interaction, costs imposed on seeking and sharing information, and range of interaction— on different types of docility, this study uses agent-based modelling (ABM). This study takes Simon’s original model of docility, expands it, and applies it to individuals in formal and informal organizational environments. The reduced costs and flexible environment provided by high range of interactions are extremely significant in understanding how docility emerges and becomes a prevalent cognitive attitude. Finally, from an academic viewpoint, I contribute to debates surrounding concept of docility and exploring antecedents of FSB.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Uncontrolled Keywords:docility; bounded rationality; distributed cognition mechanism; social influence; personality; big five personality traits; feedback-seeking behaviour; agent-based modelling ABM
Group:Bournemouth University Business School
ID Code:31712
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:30 Jan 2019 15:23
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:14


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