Joel Gautschi

Researching judgment and decision-making in dilemmatic situations in child protection – study design of a factorial survey on the judgment and decision-making of social workers in child protection services in the German-speaking part of Switzerland.

The study will address the following questions:

  1. Which judgments and decisions do social workers make in dilemmatic situations?
  2. What are quantitative significant factors in these judgment and decision-making situations? The research project will focus on organisational factors, personal/professional factors, as well as factors in the case itself (f. e. variations of the dilemma, circumstances).

Stefano Camatarri

Neither Left nor Right: genesis of an alternative ideological space in Italy?

The research project focuses on the current social and ideological representations of political competition in Italy. Most of the attention will be given, in particular, to the so-called «aliens» voters, so defined because of their refusal to take any position on the left-right schema. As a matter of fact, these individuals, until now appeared somehow extraneous to this traditional ideological dimension because of their general ignorance about its coordinates and implications, seem now to present a new interesting profile. First of all, their general cognitive abilities appear rather higher than in the recent past. Moreover, it is precisely within this segment of voters that we can find the highest levels of both electoral fluctuation and vote to anti-establishment parties in the last general elections of 2013. It seems therefore logical to ask whether the absence of any self-placement along a left-right continuum can today be considered in Italy as the expression of a shared interpretative framework of political reality which drives voters to specific attitudes and behaviors in the electoral sphere.

Anna Oleszkiewicz

Methodological challenges in trust research

A hierarchy is a constant feature of an organisation’s reality. It results in uneven distribution of power. The results of previous research suggest that the degree of possessed power influences the way we perceive other people. In our study, using the fundamental dimensions of social cognition – agency and communion – we gained support for the thesis that power also changes the point of view in the case of interpersonal trust.

In Study 1, 273 corporate workers read the story about colleague or supervisor presenting agentic (high vs. low) and communal (high vs. low) behaviors. Perceived trustworthiness was measured. Data revealed that agency has similar impact on trust in supervisor and colleague but communion is more conducive to trust in supervisor than colleague.

In Study 2, 118 managers read the story about subordinate and assessed his trustworthiness. Data suggest that supervisors trust more in agentic subordinates.

Studies indicate that trust at work is based more on agency than communion. The role of communion in assessment of trustworthiness depends on the trustee’s position.