From “Me” to “We”: The Role of Construal Level in Promoting Maximized Joint Outcomes.

To minimize waste and inefficiencies, research has sought to understand under what circumstances decision-makers tasked with allocating outcomes to self and others maximize joint outcomes – making decisions that provide the greatest net gain across all vested stakeholders, irrespective of beneficiary. We explore construal level as a critical cognitive mechanism. We hypothesize that high-level construal – a representational process that expands mental scope by broadening attention to global, gestalt wholes – relative to low-level construal – a representational process that contracts mental scope by narrowing attention to local, idiosyncratic elements – should facilitate sensitivity to the welfare of the collective unit relative to specific individuals. Four experiments demonstrate that high-level relative to low-level construal promotes decisions that maximize joint outcomes, irrespective of beneficiary. These findings contribute to a growing literature examining factors that influence consideration of joint outcomes by highlighting construal level as a key cognitive antecedent, with theoretical and practical implications.

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APA-Format Citation

Stillman, P. E., Fujita, K., Sheldon, O., & Trope, Y. (2018). From “me” to “we”: The role of construal level in promoting maximized joint outcomes. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes147, 16-25.