The Ethical Executive: Becoming Aware of the Root Causes of Unethical Behavior: 45 Psychological Traps That Every One of Us Falls Prey To

By Robert Hoyk; Paul Hersey | Go to book overview
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TRAP 44:
NEED FOR CLOSURE

THE NEED FOR CLOSURE is “the desire for a definite answer on some topic, any answer as opposed to confusion and ambiguity.”1 It’s the tendency to jump on the first opinion that comes to mind instead of tolerating a state of not knowing and taking the time to look at a problem or judgment from many different angles.

The need for closure is augmented under work conditions that make processing of information more difficult: time pressure (trap 15), fatigue, and excessive background noise. When such conditions exist, it’s more difficult to tolerate a state of confusion and ambiguity.

Although need for closure is influenced by situational factors, it is also a personality trait. Some people are more able to tolerate states of ambiguity than others. Arie Kruglanski has developed the Need for closure Scale, which measures this personality dimension. Those high in the trait of need for closure are more apt to endorse items on the scale such as, “I usually make important decisions quickly and confidently,” “I do not usually consult many different opinions before forming my own view,” “When I’m confused about an important issue, I feel very upset,” or “It’s annoying to listen to someone who cannot seem to make up his or her mind.”2

The need for closure magnifies the influence of Trap 34, “coworker Reactions.”

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