Journal of Intercultural Communication, issue 11, April 2006

Seth Ayim Gyekye

Causal Attributions for Industrial Accidents: A Culture-Comparative Analysis


Theory and research on causal attribution have primarily focused on Western population samples. Given the important cultural differences that have been noted between Western (individualistic) and Eastern (collectivistic) cultures, l undertook a cross-cultural comparative analysis of causality attributions related to serious accidents between Ghanaian and Finnish industrial workers. The data comprised 529 participants: 73 victims, 65 witnesses, and 71 supervisors from Finland, and 121 victims, 117 witnesses, and 82 supervisors from Ghana. Consistent with my predictions, l found the Ghanaian participants to be more contextual in their causality attributions. Compared to their Finnish counterparts, they externalised their faults and work failures and were rather defensive in their explanations. The discussion is focused on the cultural, cognitive and motivational factors for the divergence causality assignment. Key Words: Self-defensive attribution, individualism-collectivism, cross-cultural, self-esteem, self-esteem enhancement.

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