Escape from the diffusion of responsibility: A review and guide for nurses.

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  • Author(s): Christensen, Scott S.
  • Source:
    Journal of Nursing Management (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). Mar2019, Vol. 27 Issue 2, p264-270. 7p.
  • Additional Information
    • Subject Terms:
    • Abstract:
      Aims: This review aims to help nurse leaders and professionals to understand, recognize, and mitigate the phenomenon known as the diffusion of responsibility, while also bridging a gap in nursing literature by highlighting Milgram's and Zimbardo's research. Background: Nurses are uninformed of how responsibility is diffused when obeying authority figures, fulfilling roles, and conforming in groups. It is important to recognize and address this potential for unethical practices, given the high risk for these behaviours to occur in health care settings. Evaluation: Sources discussing the diffusion of responsibility were identified through databases using terms such as: "Diffusion of Responsibility," "Nursing," "Ethics," "Obedience," "Groupthink," "Bully," "Milgram," and "Zimbardo." Key Issues: Social psychology examples of diffused responsibility from Milgram, Zimbardo, and Janis are explored, applied to the field of nursing, and leadership implications are discussed. Conclusion: Nurses can unintentionally ascribe accountability for personal action to others. It is therefore essential for nurses to escape the cycle of diffused responsibility. Implications for Nursing Management: Examples in this review provide important clues for addressing the negative effects of diffused responsibility. The onus is on nurses to personally enhance the ethics of their practice by surveying, pondering, and applying these concepts. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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