Egocentrism – Definition

Cite this article as:"Egocentrism – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated November 30, 2018, last accessed October 27, 2020,

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Egocentricism Definition

Egocentricism as a concept comes from Piaget’s theory of childhood development. The term egocentrism refers to a person’s inability to comprehend that views or opinions may be different from their own. The person who is egocentric has a cognitive bias that limits their understanding of others to their own perspective. They compare views and opinions with their own and measures everything according to their own yardstick.

A Little More on What is Egocentrism

Ego centrists tend care about their own options, lack empathy, indifferent to the needs of others, are very concerned about what people think, and are self-centric or self-focused.

David Elkind, a leading development theorist, defines egocentrism as “a heightened self-awareness and self-conscious.” For example, Elkins observed that teenagers often feel that others are likely to watch them and observe them. So they are really concerned with the views and opinions of others and hence try to become attention seekers.
Egocentrism is commonly compared to narcissism. Narcissists tend to have additional attributes beyond those of the egocentric. The main distinction between being narcissist and egocentric is that the narcissist seeks appreciation and admiration from other people, and they feel a sense of reward from achieving that admiration. They routinely attempt to persuade others about their importance and value.

References for Egocentrism

Academic Research on Egocentric

Egocentric and sociocentric measures of network centrality, Marsden, P. V. (2002). Social networks, 24(4), 407-422. This article experimentally explores the degree to which egocentric and sociocentric of Freeman’s betweenness centrality measure. It was found to be close in seventeen different networks. The results of the study show that the method of research has an effect on the determining the betweenness of nodes and that a betweenness method based on data from egocentric networks is a dependable alternative for Freeman’s betweenness measure when complete network data cannot be gathered.

The “false consensus effect”: An egocentric bias in social perception and attribution processes, Ross, L., Greene, D., & House, P. (1977). Journal of experimental social psychology, 13(3), 279-301. Four studies were carried out to study the false consensus effect. The results of the studies were obtained in the form of questionnaires which presented subjects with imaginary and real situations and gave them reaction choices. The article used the results obtained to discusses the divergent reactions of subjects and its implications on the social perception phenomena. It also proposes intellectual and perceptual mechanisms to explain the changes in sensed agreement and for resulting biases in social inference and attributional processes.

The evolution of business: Learning, innovation, and sustainability in the twenty-first century, Laszlo, K. (2003). World Futures: The Journal of General Evolution, 59(8), 605-614. This paper- in a bid to broaden human fulfillment and environmental sustainability of entrepreneurship- explores new frontiers for business. Evolutionary changes can lead to increased opportunities for leadership and innovation toward sustainability. The final part of the article reflects on the impacts of the evolutionary changes on business education.

Egocentric interpretations of fairness and interpersonal conflict, Thompson, L., & Loewenstein, G. (1992). Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 51(2), 176-197. This article describes two experiments carried out to test a hypothesis. The hypothesis proposes that egocentric interpretations of fairness are responsible for unnecessary and expensive settlement delays in bargaining. From the results of the experiments, the authors conclude that egocentric interpretation of fairness limits conflict resolution because clients rarely agree to what they think is an inequitable settlement.

Business formation—a network approach, Johannisson, B. (1988). Scandinavian journal of management, 4(3-4), 83-99. This paper proposes that the ability to create and manage a personal network is the key to entrepreneurial success. In the course of this article, the author describes the environment of the business as “enacted”. The inexperienced entrepreneur requires help to develop a personal network and maintain the enacted environment. An approach called the “organizing concept” is introduced to help the entrepreneur deal with the factors that affect his/her reality. The approach provides an opportunity for the different types of entrepreneurship to be analyzed and compared.

Advice taking in decision making: Egocentric discounting and reputation formation, Yaniv, I., & Kleinberger, E. (2000). Organizational behavior and human decision processes, 83(2), 260-281. The authors discuss two theoretical ideas that help to explain advice-taking in making decisions. The first idea is the egocentric disregard for other people’s opinion and the second is the formation of a reputation for advisors. The authors found out that the advice is disregarded based on one’s personal belief while adviser’s reputation can be developed quickly and updated asymmetrically meaning that its easier to lose a good reputation than to build one.

Here or there? Consumer reactions to corporate social responsibility initiatives: Egocentric tendencies and their moderators, Russell, D. W., & Russell, C. A. (2010). Marketing Letters, 21(1), 65-81. This study explores consumer reactions to corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Three experiments were conducted to liken the extent of consumer’s patronage of accompanying to local and distant CSR programs. Existing egocentric literature implies that local CSR programs increase the patronage of local CSR companies. This egocentric bias proved to be true in all three studies.

Ecocentric leadership in the 21st century, Shrivastava, P. (1994). The Leadership Quarterly, 5(3-4), 223-226. The world leaders at the June 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro approved the idea of sustainable development. The effects of ecologically sustainable development for corporations are dramatic. In this short article, the author outlines the reasons for corporate transformation in the concept of egocentric management. He explains what this means for corporate leadership.

Egocentric Network Analysis of Personal Networks Ethnic Minority Female Entrepreneurs, Rauf, A., & Mitra, J. (2011). In 10thInternational Entrepreneurship Forum, Tamkeen, Bahrain, January. The authors explore the interactional aspect of Pakistani female entrepreneurs’ personal networks and how it affects the development of their business. They carried out in-depth interviews with the use of name generators and sociograms to determine the type of networks they have and why they formed them. By thoroughly understanding the use of personal networks to develop their business by Pakistani female entrepreneurs, the paper provides an understanding of a particular ethnic minority group that will be of use to business owners.

An egocentric model of the relations among the opportunity to underreport, social norms, ethical beliefs, and underreporting behavior, Blanthorne, C., & Kaplan, S. (2008). Accounting, Organizations and Society, 33(7-8), 684-703. This article proposes a model that represents the relationship between taxpayers’ opportunity, social norms, ethical beliefs, and tax compliance. It also tests the model by using structural equation modeling. The article also discusses the effect of this study on tax compliance researchers and policymakers.

When are monetary policy preferences egocentric? Evidence from American surveys and an experiment, Bearce, D. H., & Tuxhorn, K. L. (2017). American Journal of Political Science, 61(1), 178-193. This paper engages in the international political economy debate about whether individual‐level macroeconomic policy preferences are egocentric or not, and if they are, on what evidence. The paper argues that contextual information could act as a requirement for the occurrence of egocentric preferences.

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