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Judgments about Union Representation, Crossing Picket Lines, Sexual Harassment Cases

Jim Holzworth
Storrs, CT

Steven Mellor, Jim Conway and I recently completed a manuscript concerning people's inclinations to be represented by labor unions. Employed persons (not currently members of labor unions) were asked to make judgments concerning how likely they would be to vote in favor of (or against) union representation.

Within-person analyses supported our hypotheses that policies would be influenced by perceived costs and benefits of representation. The direction of influence suggested that intent to vote for a union was lower when unions were perceived as being antagonistic, costly, exclusive, and corrupt, and higher when unions were perceived as providing a voice, a grievance process, a sense of security, and respect and dignity.

Between-person analyses supported our hypotheses that decision frame would be related to cost and benefit influences. Individuals who were asked to consider their vote as one in favor of a union indicated more intent to vote for representation. The corruption cue had a stronger negative influence on judgments when individuals were asked to consider their vote as one against a union.

Daniel O'Shea, Steven Mellor, David LaHuis, and I completed a study concerning contextual and individual influences on the individual's decision to become a replacement worker during a strike. Regression parameters from within-person analyses indicated that strike publicity, number of strikers, and threat of violence influenced individual judgment policies about willingness to cross a picket line to accept a position. Using these parameters as outcome variables, between-person analyses indicated stronger (negative) relationships between threat of violence and willingness to cross for those with low financial need than for those with high need.

Lisa Kath is analyzing her master's thesis data concerning judgments of sexual harassment federal court cases. We have judgment data from 53 jury eligible adults, 25 men and 28 women ranging in age from 18 to 78. Each person made a series of judgments concerning each of 50 cases described in narrative form, abstracted from court documents. We first compared judgments with court verdicts, using Swet's A statistic, and found an average A statistic value of 0.78. There was not a significant difference between men and women. We are now conducting judgment analyses to assess individual policies concerning different aspects of the sexual harassment judgments: severity of alleged actions, pervasiveness of alleged actions, sexual harassment verdict, and employer liability.

I am continuing my collection of biographical data (biodata) from university students in an attempt to relate it to styles of inductive reasoning. Cognitive Continuum Theory is guiding this research.

With encouragement from Ken Hammond, I am about to begin a classification of cue probability learning studies according to task characteristics, dependent variables, and anything else I can think of. I expect that this will take me a long time. An annotated bibliography of all published cue probability learning studies was prepared along with my contribution to The Essential Brunswik. The bibliography is available on the Brunswik Web Page:

Contact Jim Holzworth

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