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Business Bystander Effect

On March 13, 1964 Kitty Genovese was brutally murdered near her apartment complex in Queens, New York. She was an ordinary girl. The stabbing was not extraordinary for NYC in the mid-60’s either. What shocked the nation was that 38 people witnessed the happenings and no one called the cops until thirty-five minutes after the assault began. How is it possible that 38 people allowed an innocent 28-year old woman get killed and did nothing? How can this be? What’s wrong with these people?

What does this have to do with business and entrepreneurship?

A single person will typically intervene if another person is in need of help. However, when more than one person witnesses a situation in which their help is needed, there is lesser likelihood of intervention. In some instances, a large group of bystanders may fail to help a person who obviously needs help. This is known as the bystander effect, where each individual experiences the diffusion of responsibility and simply chooses not to act.

What does this have to do with business and entrepreneurship?

The more people we have working with and for us in our ventures, the more likely we may experience the business bystander effect. You’ve been a part of this phenomenon, I am sure.

I am bystanding now. There’s an email in my in-box asking for volunteers to lead the next teleconference. I am not that into it. Apparen’tly, neither is anyone else. It continues to sit in my in-box, waiting for someone to respond. Had the email been directed only to me, it would certainly not have taken me a week to respond.

I spoke in a company a month ago where I saw a white elephant in the room. Everyone else saw it. In fact, they’ve been seeing it for a long time. Yet no one talks about it and no one does anything. It’s too big. The responsibility is massive. Yet someone needs to make that phone call. Someone needs to own the white elephant. Someone, anyone, help!

** How is bystander effect playing out in your business?
** How can each project be conceived with each member taking full ownership of his/her part?
** How can your company structure be designed with the bystander effect in mind?

I want to know…

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Comments

  1. Many people prefer to go to those brand name outlets to buy goods in good quality though they will cost much more money than that in stable stores and fakes. It is common that when a brand has become famous many fakes of it will exist in market quickly. As the most worldwide luxurious brand name, Louis Vuitton had and is meeting such a problem all over the world. Some manufacturers of luxurious brand name think that fakes of their brands show they are very popular in public but other brands do not think so. It is reasonable that Louis Mote Hennessy had ever prosecuted Google for it sold fake goods of Louis Vuitton for they thought the fakes would destroy the image of Louis Vuitton Brand. And their honest customers will never like Louis Vuitton Bags for they feel this brand has cheated them when they see a person wearing an ugly fake some day. We can say that the key to the success of commercial area is brand for it is the real thing that increase and create the valuation of those brand name goods. It is not the design and quality can cost so much money but the brand which they have set though more than one century’s efforts. It is true that the setting of brand bases on the good quality and design. For example, a Louis Vuitton wallet will be made in more than one hundred procedures before being displayed in market.

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