Contingency and Value in Social Decision Making
A difference between social and nonsocial decision making is that the former is governed by a richer complexity of factors, which makes it more dynamic in many ways. A social decision typically involves a situation in which the decision outcome of an individual not only affects the individual, but also others (another person, a group of others, or society). Hence, this form of decision requires taking into account also the objectives of others in addition to your own. The perspective taken in this chapter is that social decision behavior is context dependent and that the preference is constructed in the decision situation ( Payne, Bettman, & Johnson, 1993). The chapter therefore begins by unveiling that social decision behavior is contingent on several environmental factors. Moreover, it is emphasized that a central feature of social decision making is that it is also contingent on individual difference factors such as social value orientation (individualism vs. cooperation). In the following section it is suggested how this dynamic has been studied in one of the most important areas of social decision making; the distributive justice area. In the next section of the chapter the suggestion is made that contingent approaches based on extensive empirical research also must be regarded as relevant for other areas of social decision making, such as the procedural justice area. The chapter ends by discussing some theoretical and practical implications of the approach.