Journal of Hotel and Business Management

Journal of Hotel and Business Management
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Research Article - (2019)Volume 8, Issue 2

Social-Psychology and Situational Elements Affecting Individual Social Behavior

Mohammad Heydari1, Zhou Xiaohu1, Kin Keung Lai2* and Shuai-bin Wang1
*Correspondence: Kin Keung Lai, Department of Economics, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen, China, Tel: +86 138 1390 1677, Email:

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In this review, Shaver suggests that social-psychology is essential for the study of enterprise because the creation of a new venture is a truly social enterprise. Social-psychology is the scientific study of the personal and situational elements affecting people social behavior. As psychology concentrates on dependent variables smaller than the person, sociology concentrates on structures and procedure larger than any single individual. Social-psychology investigates the socially meaningful actions of individuals. This research aims to examine four significant areas of theory and research in social-psychology and discuss how each fits into the study of enterprisers activity: cognition, attribution, attitudes, and the self. These topics are included because these are the traditional concerns of social psychologists and are the subject of numerous articles in entrepreneurship. The self, “Who are you” and “How did you get that way,” both “Is” and “does.” In the improvement of our social selves, we must often choose among accuracy and distortion. We need to know our capabilities, but we wish them to be more extensive than what reality offers. This applies when considering if we have the right stuff to start a new venture as well as in networking from the standpoint of social comparison, among others. Specifically, self-efficacy in the enterprisers domain is a replacement for the “Perceived behavioral control” that is part of the theory of planned behavior.


Entrepreneurship; Social psychology; Social behavior; Self-efficacy


The definition of what a situation is has been a thorny issue in psychology [1]. Recently, Rauthmann and colleagues proposed to see situations sets of fleeting, dynamic, and momentary circumstances that do not lie within persons but in their surroundings [2]. Situations then include objectively quantifiable stimuli (Cues) that may be perceived and interpreted by persons (Thus creating psychological situation characteristics), and one may classify situations according to their cues or characteristics (thus creating situation classes). Thus, somewhat circumventing the rather philosophical question of just what precisely a situation is, Rauthmann proposed a more pragmatic route to focus on actually measurable aspects, the three Situational Cs: cues, characteristics, and classes [3].

Situation research, in general, has seen a resurgence in interest and publication volumes in the last decade [1]. More specifically, however, this burgeoning field in psychology is now often primarily concerned with people’s mental representations of ongoing events (Psychological situations) which can, in turn, explain and predict their mental procedure, behavior, and health [4]. Instead of attending to single cues or abstract situation classes, much of the current research focuses on situation characteristics which capture the psychological meaning and interpretation of a situation [5]. This allows differential psychology of situations where any situation can be described and compared by a set of characteristics dimensions (Much like how traits can describe persons). Such dimensions can be said to report broad situational elements.

The aim of this research is to describe four major areas of theory and research in social-psychology and to indicate how each has found its place in the research on enterprisers activity. Such enterprisers action may be the work of an individual, or it may be the work of a team. In either case, the behavioral procedure involved are ones normally considered within the domain of social psychology. As team-based enterprise is often treated separately from individual entrepreneurship, this paper will concentrate on what social-psychology refers to as the “Intrapersonal” procedure of an individual entrepreneur [6]. The specific topics to be discussed were choosed because (a) they are traditional concerns of socialpsychology and (b) they have been the subject of numerous papers in enterprise. Our review is necessarily selective but will still advance a strong case for further consideration of the social-psychological procedure that guide the entrepreneur’s ventureorganizing activities.

Social-psychology is “the scientific study of the personal and situational elements that affect individual social behavior” [7]. In contrast, the “dependent variable” for much of psychology is at a more molecular level. How much change must there be in the wavelength of a projected colored light for a person to shift from calling the light “Blue” to calling it “Green?” These questions and others at a comparable level of analysis have engaged psychological scholars for years, and have contributed to our overall understanding of human beings.

A business school consists of a Dean, area or department heads, faculty members, support staff, and students at various levels. Each contributor in this system behaves in large part according to role expectations and social status. Of course, there are individual variations, but replacing one, or several, particular faculty members with other people whose training is comparable does not convert the business school to an art school. Demographics matter, culture issues, the structure matters; particular individuals typically do not matter.

Through the years of enterpriser as a separate aspect of inquiry, more than a few definitions have been offered for enterprisers action. Indeed, the diversity of papers in this volume provides eloquent testimony to the intellectual eclecticism of the field. There are critical common threads – opportunity seeking and recognition, innovation, creation of value, assumption of risk, disregard for resources controlled, for example, Cooper & Daily noted that “Entrepreneurship and pornography have a lot in common: they are both hard to define.” He continued the analogy, building on Justice Potter Stewart’s comment, by saying “I cannot define it – at least not to everyone else’s satisfaction – but I know it when I see it” [6].

Methodological Approach

As summarized in Table 1, there are as of the year 2014 five recent taxonomies (DIAMONDS, SAAP, CAPTION, Situation 5, SIS) available that were independently developed from different teams with different item pools, samples, and data-analytical techniques [8]. Notably, these taxonomies have also provided psychometrically validated assessment tools of the proposed situation characteristics dimensions. More importantly, despite the differences in the taxonomization procedure involved [9], these taxonomies show several striking conceptual and empirical convergences, as depicted in Figure 1. The convergences point towards six replicable domains of situation characteristics (Table 2): I (Threat), II (Stress), III (Processing), IV (Tasks), V (Fun), and VI (Mundane). Perhaps interestingly but not necessarily surprisingly, the first five domains bear in content a striking semblance to the Big Five or Six personality traits. It is plausible to assume that the human perceptual system has gotten attuned to perceiving certain fitnessrelevant information throughout evolution [10,11]. For example, it is vital to survival and reproduction to know whether other people, a group, or the situation (often consisting of people) will pose a threat, cause stress, require problem-solving, need something done, will be fun, or provide for routine. Additionally, person and situation perception may be linked for several reasons [12,13], such as the same perceptual system being used (there needs to be a perceiver) and overlapping information is available (e.g., others’ behaviors can be used for personality and situation judgments). Since the five-factor mannequin of personality seems to capture the structure of social perceptions and many situations are social or interpersonal [1,14], we can expect overlap in person(sality) and situation perception elements.

Table 1: Recent taxonomies of situation characteristics with validated assessment tools.

Taxonomy References Tradition Item Format Dimensions Further Evidence
Diamonds Rauthmann [14] Rauthmann et al. [5] Atheoretical (from the RSQ) Short phrases 8 • Mean-level stability across the lifespan (Brown and Rauthmann)
          • Personality-driven situation contact and construal (Rauthmann et al.)
          • Prediction of momentary mental procedure and behavior (Jones et al.; Rauthmann et al.; Sherman et al.; Rauthmann et al.)
          • Description of Twitter situations (Serfass and Sherman)
          • Capturing daily lives and dynamics (Rauthmann and Sherman)
          • Accuracy of judging others’ situations (Rauthmann and Sherman)
SAAP Brown et al. [51] Theoretical (evolutionary theory) Short sentences 7 Pending
CAPTION Parrigon et al. [54] Lexical (English) Adjectives 7 Pending
Situation 5 Ziegler [60] Lexical (German) Adjectives 5 Relations with effect (Horstmann et al., 2017)
SIS Gerpott et al. [52] Theoretical (Interdependence Theory) Short sentences 5 Pending

Table 2: Six replicable domains of situation characteristics.

Replicable Domain   Construct Definition: The dimension describes situations that afford or require… Analogous Personality Traits
I Threat Overcoming external threats and obstacles Agreeableness (–), Honesty/Humility (–)
II Stress Dealing with (internal) negative events that may cause distress Neuroticism (+)
III Tasks Getting an essential or urgent task accomplished Conscientiousness (+)
IV Processing Using deeper and effortful cognitive information processing Intellect/Openness (+)
V Fun Engaging with pleasant and fun events Extraversion (+)
VI Mundane Routine, automaticity, repetition ?

Figure 1: Convergences Between Situation Characteristic Dimensions in Extant Taxonomies

As can be seen in Figure 1, psychological situation research is progressing towards a reasonably comprehensive taxonomy of situation characteristic domains tha6t are replicable across research efforts. Future research may seek to uncover hierarchical trans or pancultural taxonomies with higher- and lower-order elements (Tables 1, 2 and Figure 1).

Although one of the early extensive researches of enterprisers behavior was conducted by the psychologist David McClelland, it is fair to say that, on balance, most research in entrepreneurship has not been informed via the extensive methodological contributions of experimental social psychology [15].

The production of expected responses is not limited to interactions between scholars and contributors, nor is it limited to face-to-face interactions. For example, in one early study of a domain that has become known as behavioral confirmation, scholars illustrated important behavioral differences during telephone interviews [16,17]. In this research, male undergraduates were asked to conduct a 10-minute telephone conversation with female undergraduates, ostensibly to get acquainted. Before the conversation began, each male has given a folder containing biographical information about the female he was to call, and a Polaroid picture purported to be her photograph. The photographs had been pre-selected to be either highly attractive or unattractive (but in neither case were they the actual picture of the target female). The telephone conversations were unstructured and done through headphones and microphones so that each party’s side of the conversation could be recorded on an unconnected channel. The conversations of the female targets were later rated by judges who had no idea about the nature of the experiment (and who did not hear the males’ sides of the conversations).

Whether they are undergraduates in a social psychological laboratory or presidents of start-up companies being interviewed in their offices, people who know that their behavior is being scrutinized are susceptible to several important biases. One of the situational biases is the presence of demand characteristics, the total of cues that a contributor uses to discover the “True purpose” of the research [18]. The magical phrase “This is an experiment,” legitimizes almost any request, from the mindless turning of pegs in a board, through providing what were believed to be painful electric shocks to a hapless victim to being asked how much one likes the feel of a sex partner’s “Sweat on my body” after having previously responded to a series of true-false questions about death [19,20,21].

Unless, of course, helping the scholar conflicts with maintaining or enhancing one’s self-esteem. This particular problem begins with what Rosenberg called evaluation apprehension: concern about the impression one is making with a scholar [22]. When introduced as “A psychologist,” one can see the micromomentary expression – “Oh, my God! He is analyzing me!” – On the other person’s face. One almost feels the need to put the person at ease either by pointing out that “No, I am not that kind of psychologist” or by making the standard joke, “Yes, I can read your mind, and you should be ashamed!” Having in one way or another acknowledged the person’s unease, you can then continue the conversation on a much more routine basis.

If the research subject is led to feel inadequate in some area, he or she may attempt what Wicklund and Gollwitzer have called “Symbolic self-completion,” the tendency to increase one’s self-esteem through associations with valued entities and people. It is critical to note that none of these biases is the result of deliberation on the part of the research contributor [23].

If the research subject is led to feel inadequate in some area, he or she may attempt what Wicklund and Gollwitzer have called “Symbolic self-completion,” the tendency to increase one’s self-esteem through associations with valued entities and people. It is critical to note that none of these biases is the result of deliberation on the part of the research contributor [23].

If we must resort to open-ended questions, we prefer to have them coded according to clear theoretical principles specified in advance and to have the coding done by people who do not know the predictions to which those theoretical principles would lead. To no small degree, social psychology’s methodological preferences also effect on my choice of what content to include in the remainder of the present paper.

Social cognition

The term “Cognition” derives from the Latin word cognoscere (to recognize/to discover).Cognitions, in typically, are all process via which sensory input is transformed, reduced, elaborated, stored, recovered, and used [24]. Thus, enterprisers cognition can be seen as the cognitive process through which entrepreneurs acquire, store, transform, and use datas [25]. Additionally, Mitchell et al. propose a definition of enterprisers cognitions [26]:

Enterprisers cognitions are the knowledge structures that people use to make assessments, judgments, or decisions involving opportunity evaluation, venture creation, and growth [26].

Some of the problematic dimentions of enterprisers cognitions, such as counterfactual thinking and affect-infusion, self-serving bias, planning fallacy and self-justification, overconfidence and representativeness error, illusion of control, and misguided belief in the law of a few, however, occur in enterprisers environments characterized by high uncertainty or novelty, information overload, strong emotions, time pressure, and fatigue [26-30].

Emotion and cognition

Lowenstein et al. point out that the research of judgments under risk grew out of economics and cognitive psychology, two disciplines that share an assumption that human decision-making is essentially rational. Rational decision-making may sometimes be in error, but it is not presumed to be affected adversely by feelings, emotions, or motivation. (This, of course, is not a widespread assumption in social psychology, despite the popularity of research in social cognition.) Drawing on literature from social-psychology and neuroscience, the authors present a “Risk as feelings” mannequin of decision-making [31].

Cognitive assessments of risk, on the other word, tend to depend more on objective features of the risky situation, such as probabilities of outcomes and assessments of outcome severity (p. 271, emphasis added). This view has two implications for entrepreneurship studies. First, on the methodological side, it might not be possible to obtain accurate approximate of overconfidence between entrepreneurs via asking the traditional questions that have nothing whatsoever to do with starting a new venture. Second, the related point is that because of entrepreneurs’ prior experience, the possibility of failure might carry less emotional content than it would for managers. Especially, in the case of “Serial entrepreneurs” [32], there might be very little real fear associated with the possibility of failure. One is reminded her of the often-heard enterprisers claim, “I have been poor, I have been rich, I am poor again, but I will be rich again.”

Person and situation

The scholars started their research with describing the decision environments facing entrepreneurs, and managers in large corporations (the two groups of people subsequently compared). Managers exist in a corporate environment where historical information provide a backdrop for decisions, the cost of gathering additional information is relatively low, and the time frame for most decisions is relatively forgiving. By contrast, entrepreneurs have limited “People resources,” essentially no hard-historical data, cannot obtain (or afford) additional information, and must decide quickly. Appropriate study is cited to support both of these quite reasonable characterizations. Then they go on to say

Thus, we argue that those who are more susceptible to the use of biases and heuristics in decision-making are the very ones who are most likely to become entrepreneurs.

In the early years of research on individual differences in behavior, personality theorists asserted that people could be characterized by their location on a variety of relatively enduring “Traits” [33]. Identify the primary traits that describe a person, and you have gone a long way toward being able to predict what the individual will do in a novel setting.

Unfortunately, research examining the correlation between assessed personality traits and behavior in different settings began to find that traits were not very helpful in predicting “Cross-situational consistency” in behavior [34,35]. The failure of the “Pure personality” approach led one highly influential writer to suggest that the study of personality be supplanted by the study of variations in situations [36]. The response was immediate and highly critical [37]. Indeed, in the late 1970s, the Society for Personality and Social-psychology (Division 8 of the American Psychological Association) nearly split into two armed camps – the “Per- sociological” personality scholars versus the “Situational” social psychologists. The Society managed to avoid splintering apart, and its journal is still called the Personality and Social-psychology Bulletin.

What is a bit surprising is that the myth of the enterprisers personality survived as long as it did? After all, the leadership literature – the topical focus of which is at least a first cousin to entrepreneurship – has subscribed to an interactionist view for over 30 years [38].

Attribution procedure

The person and the situation can both be seen in the social psychological literature on attribution, the cognitive procedure by which human explain their behavior, the actions of others, and events in the world. Indeed, in the work that provided the foundation for attribution theory, Heider explicitly argued that behavior was a function of both person and external environment [39]:

B = f (P, E) (1)

For any particular behavior or even the perceiver’s task is to determine the relative contributions of person and environment to the production of the effects observed. People bother to explain causes because doing so presumably helps them predict behavior and events in the future. If we can identify particular “Dispositional properties” – enduring characteristics – of either persons or the environment, we are better able to predict what might happen in a novel setting.

For a person to have accomplished an action, the person’s internal ability must generally have had to exceed the difficulty of the task (in Heider’s terms, the person “Can” act). The qualifier, “Typically,” is there by cause of opportunity or luck might have made the success possible this time, though it would not be possible in the future. Thus, we believe that successful performance will most often have involved some intention on the part of the actor, effort expended in the service of that intention, and a level of ability sufficient to overcome the natural difficulty of the task. When an action has moral overtones, we will hold the person “Responsible” for the outcome only to the extent of the people contribution to the occurrence.

Theory of planned behavior (TPB) and attitudes

Although the components of attitudes and the motivation elaborate in attitude change have parallels in the entrepreneurship literature, by far the most influential attitude theory has been the theory of reasoned action and its successor, the TPB. The theory of planned behavior (TPB) begins with an assumption quite congenial to entrepreneurship, namely, that most important behavior is volitional. Such volitional behavior is presumed to be the product of intentions, which are themselves a function of the person’s overall attitude and the “Subjective Norms” that represent social pressure either to perform or not perform the action. Regardless of attitude and subjective norms, intentions will be exercised only if the individual believes that he or she has perceived behavioral control (Figure 2) [40,41].


Figure 2: Theory of planned behaviour.

In formal terms, the TPB holds that

equation (2)

Where B is the behavior, I is the behavioral intention, Ab is the attitude toward the action, SN is the set of social norms, and PBC is the perceived behavioral control. The three weights are empirically determined.

Although the mannequin is simple in principle, testing its implications requires substantial detail. The attitude toward the behavior or object (Ab) is often considered the sum of beliefs about the object, with each belief multiplied via its perceived goodness. So, the question, “What your attitude toward is (some new product)?” really reduces to a series of smaller questions about its design, the likelihood that it will meet its market need, whether it can be illustrated with enough margins to make a profit, and so forth. Correspondingly, the social norms component (SN) is also a sum, this time of the judgments of people whose opinion matters, with each judgment multiplied via the motivation to comply with the opinion. Finally, even the perceived control component (PBC) is subdivided into the constraints as they exist, and as they are perceived.

Behavioral beliefs and attitudes relation with behaviors

Most contemporary social psychologists take a cognitive or information-processing approach to attitude formation. This approach is exemplified via Fishbein and Ajzen*s expectancy-value mannequin of attitudes. According to this mannequin, attitudes develop reasonably from the beliefs people hold related to the object of the attitude [40]. Typically speaking, we form beliefs about an object by associating it with specific attributes, i.e., with other objects, characteristics, or events. In the case of attitudes toward behavior, each belief links the behavior to a particular outcome, or to some other attribute such as the cost incurred by performing the behavior. Since the attributes that come to be conected to the behavior are already valued positively or negatively, we automatically and simultaneously acquire an attitude toward the behavior. In this fashion, we learn to favor behaviors we believe have largely fascinating consequences, and we form unfavorable attitudes apropos behaviors we associate with the most undesirable consequences. Specifically, the outcome*s subjective value contributes to the attitude in direct proportion to the strength of the belief, i.e., the subjective;

equation (3)

The probability that the behavior will produce the outcome in question. As shown in eqn. (3), the strength of each salient belief (b) is mixed in a multiplicative fashion with the subjective assessment of (e) of the belief*s attribute, and the resulting products are summed over, then salient beliefs. A person*s attitude (A) is directly proportional (%) to this summative belief index.

We can discover an attitude*s informational foundation by eliciting salient beliefs related to the attitude object and analyzing the subjective probabilities, and values associated with the different beliefs. Also, by combining the observed values by eqn. (3), we obtain an approximate of the attitude itself, an approximate that represents the respondent*s evaluation of the object or behavior under consideration. Since this approximate is relayed on salient beliefs about the attitude object, it may be termed a belief-based assess of attitude if the expectancy-value mannequin specified in eqn. (3) is valid, the belief-based assess of attitude should correlate well with a standard assess of the same attitude.

A significant number of studies have, over the years, tested the general expectancy-value mannequin of attitude as well as its application to behavior. In a typical study, a standard, global assess of attitude is obtained, usually by means of an evaluative semantic differential, and this standard assess is then correlated with an approximate of the same attitude depend on salient beliefs [42]. The results have broadly supported the hypothesized relation among salient beliefs and attitudes, although the magnitude of this relation has sometimes been disappointing. Various elements may be responsible for relatively low correlations among salient beliefs and attitudes. First, of course, there is the possibility that the expectancy-value mannequin is an inadequate description of the way attitudes are formed and structured. For example, some investigators have questioned the multiplicative combination of beliefs and evaluations in the expectancy-value mannequin of attitude. Most discussions of the mannequin , however, have focused on methodological issues.

Belief salience

It is not always identified that the expectancy-value mannequin of attitude embodied in the theories of reasoned action and planned behavior postulates a relation among a person*s salient belief about the behavior and his or her attitude apropos that behavior. These salient beliefs must be elicited from the respondents themselves, or in pilot work from a sample of respondents that is representative of the study population. An arbitrarily or intuitively chosen set of belief statements will tend to include many associations to the behavior that are not salient in the community, and a assess of attitude based on feedbacks to such statements need not correlate highly via a standard assess of the attitude in question. Generally speaking, results of empirical investigations offer that when salient beliefs approximate attitudes, correlations with a standard assess tend to be higher than when they are approximate d by an intuitively selected set of beliefs [40]. Nevertheless, as we will see below, correlations among standard and belief-based assess are sometimes of only moderate magnitude even when salient beliefs are used.

How we can do optimal scaling?

A methodological matter of considerable importance that has not received sufficient attention has to do via the scaling of belief and analyze items. In most applications of the theory of planned behavior, belief strength is analyzed using a 7-point graphic scale (e.g., likely–unlikely) and evaluation using a 7-point evaluative scale (e.g., good–wrong). There is nothing in the theory, however, to inform us whether responses to these scales should be scored in a unipolar fashion (e.g., from 1 to 7, or from 0 to 6) or in a bipolar fashion (e.g., from -3 to + 3). Belief strength (b) is defined as the subjective probability that a given behavior will construction a particular outcome [40]. In light of this definition, it would seem acceptable to subject the assess of belief strength to unipolar scoring, analogous to the 0-to-1 scale of objective probabilities. In contrast, assessment of (e), like attitudes, are usually assumed to form a bipolar continuum, from a negative analyze on one end to a positive analyze on the other for a discussion of unipolar versus bipolar attitude structures [43].

From a assessment perspective, however, either kind of scoring could be applied with equal justification. Rating scales of the kind used in research on the expectancy-value mannequin can at best be assumed to meet the requirements of equal-interval assess. As such, it is permissible to apply any linear transformation to the respondents* ratings without altering the assess*s scale properties [44]. Going from a bipolar to a unipolar range, or vice versa is, of course, a simple linear transformation in which we add or subtract a constant from the obtained values.1

There is thus no rational a priori criterion we can use to elect how the belief and analysis scales should be scored [31,45]. Holbrook suggested a relatively easy solution to this problem [46,47]. Let B illustrate the constant to be added or subtracted in the rescaling of belief strength, and E the constant to be added or subtracted in the rescaling of feedback analysis. The expectancy-value mannequin shown in eqn. (3) can then be rewritten as;

equation (4)

Expanded, this becomes;

equation (5)

moreover, disregarding the constant BE, we can write:

equation (6)

To approximate the rescaling parameters B and E, we regress the standard attitude analyze, which serves as the criterion, on , equation and equation; and then divide the unstandardized regression coefficients of equation by the coefficient obtained for equation. resulting value for the coefficient of equation, provides a least-squares approximate of B, the rescaling constant for belief strength, and the value for the coefficient of equation serves as a leastsquares approximate of E, the rescaling constant for outcome evaluation.

An experimental explanation

To illustrate the use of optimal rescaling coefficients, we turn to a recent research on leisure behavior [48]. In this research, college students completed a questionnaire concerning five different leisure activities: spending time at the beach, outdoor jogging or running, mountain climbing, boating, and biking. A standard semantic differential range was used to assess global assessments of each activity. For the belief-based attitude assess, pilot subjects had been asked to list the costs and benefits of each leisure activity. The most generally mentioned beliefs were retained for the main study. Concerning spending time at the beach, for example, the salient beliefs contained such costs and benefits as developing skin cancer and meeting humans of the opposite sex.

What is the mean of “Self”?

Who are you, and how did you get that way? This question canvas more than your beliefs, biases, attributions, and attitudes. Indeed, discovering a psychological database for all “Self-” compounds is a guarantee of eye strain. Part of the reason that the topic covers so much ground is that the self both “Is” and “Does”. James studied the self-as-object (The “Me”) to include the material self (physical being and possessions), the spiritual self (personality traits, verbal skills, attitudes, inner experience), and the social selves (the plural indicates that we have, at a minimum, a slightly different social self for every category of humans with whom we come in contact).

In contrast, James argued that there is only oneself who “Does.” This self-as-subject (The “I”), does the knowing, thinks, is the sum of our conscious procedure. If all of this sounds like a version of the mind/body problem, that is because psychology’s origins derive from a philosophy contrasting Hobbesian materialist identity theory via Cartesian dualism [49]. Not surprisingly, devising ways to study ongoing conscious procedure has been a technical issue for scientific psychology ever since Wilhelm Wundt established what many consider the first psychological laboratory in 1879. However, with modern advances in neuroscience, this problem may be getting more tractable. Despite the increasing contact among social-psychology and neuroscience, most scholars have not yet had full access to procedures (such as magnetic resonance tomography) now used to research the conscious mind as it thinks. As a consequence, a majority of the social-psychological inquiry into the self has emphasized either the contents or procedure of the “Self-as-does.” Moreover, in entrepreneurship, there has been the most interest in what social-psychology would describe as issues of self-evaluation.

How to evaluate “Self”?

In the improvement of our social selves, we must often choose among accuracy and distortion. We need to know our capabilities, but we would like them to be more extensive than they are. We need to know what our core as a person might be, but we would also like people to think well of us. This conflict among accuracy and distortion can be seen in a considerable deal of theorizing about the self. One place where the tension is clear is in the case of social comparison theory. This theory has three fundamental elements. First, it holds that people have the drive to evaluate their opinions and abilities. Second, it claims that humans will prefer objective standards for evaluation when those standards are available [7,50-56].

Moreover, finally, when there are no objective standards, people will use social comparison with others who are similar to them in ways relevant to the comparison. The original statement of the theory was not clear on the precise meaning of “Analyze.” Specifically, does it mean “Locate relative to others” or does it mean “place a value upon.” Later work shows clearly that when people are faced with learning their “location” in a manner that might reduce their self-esteem, they will engage in “Downward” social comparison, conclusion their location relative to people who are expected to be worse off.

A person’s self-efficacy expansion as a result of his or her mastery experiences, mannequin ing or “Vicarious experience” (often obtained through a form of social comparison), verbal persuasion from others, and even from close controlling of internal affective states during a performance or activity (How much does it really hurt to be a “Weekend quarter- back?”). The self-efficacy cues derived from all of these sources guide behavior in the future [57-60].


Our review suggests several areas for future research. First, more explanatory elements and more outcome variables should be examined empirically. The review shows that research in this area is characterized via being highly conceptual with limited empirical evidence. It is time to further this area of research by conducting more empirical studies.

Our hope is that this brief article has demonstrated that many key research areas relevant to situated and embodied cognition are associated with rich existing bodies of research and theory in social psychology. In general, the social psychological research supports the themes and claims of situated cognition, although almost none of the research reviewed here was originally generated from that particular viewpoint. The situated cognition viewpoint helps organize that research into a coherent whole, however, by showing how different areas, such as the idea that cognition is for action and the idea that cognition is distributed across other people and the environment, relate to each other. Situated cognition also potentially puts social psychology into the context of other areas of the cognitive sciences and points out important conceptual continuities with areas of cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, linguistics, etc., where the core ideas of situated and embodied cognition have been developed and refined to date. For this reason, we hope that this paper will help researchers in these adjoining areas of the cognitive sciences understand why the field of social psychology is important, even central to the analysis of the situated nature of human behavior. We believe that the most important aspects of the ‘situation’ that is so conceptually central in the situated cognition perspective are social-people live their lives in the context of personal relationships, group memberships, and socially defined roles, obligations, and motives. The term “socially situated cognition” might be appropriate for emphasizing the immense areas of potential conceptual overlap between social psychology and situated cognition.

In contrast, the verbal/ symbolic system, at least on the surface, seems to operate much more like the traditional non-situated, representation-centric or information-processing view of cognition. Humans evidently do at least sometimes construct abstract, explicit inner descriptions, and use them to think about objects or situations that are long ago, far away, counterfactual, or otherwise far removed from the immediate world of situated action. Does it therefore make sense to say that verbal/ symbolic thought, when it occurs, is not subject to the constraints of situativity or embodiment and in face reflects the traditional picture of cognition as detached, abstract information processing?

Our answer is no. while humans’ abilities to conceptualize and reason symbolically give us important powers, they do not allow complete escape from the constraints of the social situation and the body. Here are several ways in which situated and embodied cognition affect even abstract, symbolically mediated thought, as investigated by social psychology:

• Our verbal thought and overt communications are often shaped and tuned by our audiences, social relationship, or communicative partners.

• Symbolic thought makes use of concepts that are shaped not only by intrinsic or epistemic needs, but also by the constrains of interpersonal communication.

• Even though or communication about abstract ideas such as justice, knowledge, or love generally relies on bodily metaphors, as documented by Lakoff and Johnston.

• Verbal, symbolic thought allows us to think about abstract properties of objects (such as ownership or value) that are seemingly far removed from the perceptual-motor properties that drive situated thought. Yet even these abstract properties are significant to us precisely because of their action relevance: for example, ownership and value sharply constrain what we can do with an object.

• Finally, and perhaps most important, even verbal/ symbolic thought is motivationally driven and goal-oriented. Social psychological research on dual process models clearly establishes that this mode of thought is effortful and therefore optional not engaged in constantly, but only when situationally elicited goals demand it. Thus, the very occurrence of symbolic reasoning, as well as (to some measure) the directions it takes, are subservient to motivational constraints and hence to the demands of situations and embodiment.

Thus, although it cannot be claimed simply that “all cognition is situated”, the constrains of situated action and embodiment actually reach deeply even into the realm of abstract, symbolic cognition the one of our two processing modes that might be thought to most closely resemble the traditional picture of cognition as abstract, disembodied information processing.

Much progress has been made in research on the psychological perspective over the past years that have enriched our understanding of various organizational phenomena. Many gaps about the underpinnings linking psychology to management remain. This research has systematically provided a summary of what has been achieved in this area of research and has offered several directions to take the field forward. We hope that this work may inspire additional studies in this area to further our understanding of management.

The creation of a new venture is a truly social enterprise. It begins with the recognition of an opportunity (an act of social perception), continues through an organizing process that necessarily involves interaction with others, and culminates in a business that will reflect a “Corporate culture” derived (intentionally or not) from its founders. For this reason, the theories and techniques of socialpsychology would seem to be especially appropriate as ways to help understand the process. When the discipline of social-psychology requires nearly 2,000 pages to capture (the size of the 4th edition of the Handbook), it is impossible to bring all of social-psychology to bear on the phenomenon of enterprisers behavior. To do justice to the concepts involved, and to describe at least some of the resulting entrepreneurship research, this paper has concentrated on the intrapersonal procedure involved before the existence of an organization. To our consideration of social cognition, attribution, attitudes, and self-beliefs, many social psychologists might hope to add topics like equity, bargaining, and negotiation, investments in close relationships, to name a few.

At this point in the improvement of the discipline of entrepreneurship, social psychological theories and methods have already had a significant effect. The sheer amount of what is not covered here suggests that social psychology’s value to entrepreneurship can only increase in the future.


I am deeply thankful to Prof. Zhou Xiaohu and my colleague and friend to PhD candidate Ying Chen and Zhang Hui (PhD student in Management Science and Engineering, School of Economics and Management, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China.) who have contributed to clarify and improve the paper thanks to their constructive and insightful comments.

We acknowledge that some scholars may argue that we lack enough incremental research (e.g., there are calls for more replication studies). However, thinking about the future of the field of entrepreneurship, we are far more worried about “exploitation” overtaking “exploration” (consistent with March 1991) than vice versa.

1 Note. however, that a linear transformation of b or e results in a nonlinear transformation of the b x e product term.


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Author Info

Mohammad Heydari1, Zhou Xiaohu1, Kin Keung Lai2* and Shuai-bin Wang1
1Department of Economics and Management, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
2Department of Economics, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen, China

Citation: Heydari M, Xiaohu Z, Lai KK, Wang SB (2019) Social-Psychology and Situational Elements Affecting Individual Social Behavior. J Hotel Bus Manage 8:196. doi: 10.35248/2169-0286.19.8.196

Received: 05-Sep-2019 Accepted: 30-Sep-2019 Published: 07-Oct-2019

Copyright: © 2019 Heydari M. et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.