Recent research has shown that perceivers who are culturally oriented to focus on the causal influence of groups tend to assign blame to an organization and extend the blame to an individual representing it (i.e. proxy blaming). The present research investigates the mechanism of this blame extension. Results show that it occurs when punishing the organization is impossible rather than possible (Study 1) and that this blaming is brought about by the perception that the target individual is in the role to represent the organization, not by the perception that he/she is the typical member of the culpable organization (Study 2). Implications of these findings in the responsibility literature are discussed.
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