Perspective-taking is a social competency to consider the world from other viewpoints (Galinsky, Maddux, Gilin, & White, 2008); it “allows an individual to anticipate the behavior and reactions of others” (Davis, 1983, p. 115) and helps to balance attention between self- and other-interests (Galinsky et al., 2008). Though often used interchangeably with the term empathy – “an other-focused emotional response that allows one person to affectively connect with another” (Galinsky et al., 2008, p. 378), clear evidence exists that demonstrates that the two concepts are distinct (Coke, Batson, & McDavis, 1978; Davis, 1983; Deutch & Madle, 1975; Hoffman, 1977; Oswald, 1996). Although both concepts refer to a social competency of taking another's perspective, empathy tends to be more affective while perspective taking leans toward the cognitive (Galinsky et al., 2008). For example, perspective taking is associated with personality characteristics such as high self-esteem and low neuroticism as opposed to emotionality (Davis, 1983). Perspective-takers are more capable of stepping outside the constraints of their own immediate, biased frames of reference (Moore, 2005) to reduce egocentric perceptions of fairness in competitive contexts (without it being at the expense of their own self-interest; Epley, Caruso, & Bazerman, 2006). Perspective taking has also been shown to be a more valuable strategy than empathy in strategic interactions because it helps negotiators find the necessary balance between competition and cooperation, between self- and other-interest (Galinsky et al., 2008). Achieving such a balance facilitates creative problem-solving (Pruitt & Rubin, 1986). For instance, in negotiation, a focus only on self-interests is associated with excessive aggression and obstinacy whereas a focus only on other-interests encourages excessive concession making to the detriment of one's own outcomes (Galinsky et al., 2008). In contrast, perspective takers have the capacity to uncover underlying interests to generate creative solutions when an obvious deal is not possible (Galinsky et al., 2008). Consequently, the cognitive appreciation of another person's interests is capable of facilitating economically efficient outcomes by acting as a discovery heuristic that reveals hidden problems or solutions and as a tool that enables individuals to capture more value for themselves (Galinsky et al., 2008).
McMullen, J. (2010), "Perspective taking and the heterogeneity of the entrepreneurial imagination", Koppl, R., Horwitz, S. and Desrochers, P. (Ed.) What is so Austrian about Austrian Economics? (Advances in Austrian Economics, Vol. 14), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 113-143. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1529-2134(2010)0000014009Download as .RIS
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