Social Psychology Case Study
When John Buckingham moved across the country to take a new job, he didn’t expect to run into much difficulty. He would be doing the same kind of work he was used to doing, just for a new company. But when he arrived on his first day, he realized there was more for him to adjust to than he had realized.
Clearly, John had moved to a region where the culture was much more laid back and casual than he was used to. He showed up for his first day in his usual business suit only to find that almost all the other employees wore jeans, Western shirts, and cowboy boots. Many of them merely stared awkwardly when they first saw John, and then hurriedly tried to look busy while avoiding eye contact.
John got the message. On his second day at work John also wore jeans and a casual shirt, although he didn’t yet own a pair own cowboy boots. He found that people seemed more relaxed around him, but that they continued to treat him warily. It would be several weeks—after he’d gone out and bought boots and started wearing them to work—before certain people warmed up to John enough to even talk to him.
1. What does the behavior of John’s coworkers toward John suggest about their attributions for his initial manner of dress?
2. Describe the kinds of biases that might have affected John’s coworkers as they formed impressions of him on his first day. Could they have been using a faulty schema to understand him? Is there evidence of the halo effect?
3. Explain why John changed his manner of dress so soon after starting his new job. What processes were likely involved in his decision to do so?
4. John’s coworkers seemed very hesitant to “warm up” to John. How would you explain to John their initial reluctance to like him very much?
5. If you were the human resources director for this company, what strategies could you employ to prevent experiences like John’s? How would you justify the implementation of these strategies to the company president
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