This study investigates how environmental uncertainty in resource dilemmas influences the decisions of participants differing in social value orientations. We argue that under resource size certainty people anchor their decisions on tacit coordination rules such as the equal division rule, whereas under resource size uncertainty people rely more on their own social value orientations to determine their choice behavior. The results corroborate our line of reasoning. When the size of the resource was certain, proselfs as well as prosocials anchored their decisions on the equal division rule. Under resource size uncertainty, the equal division rule appeared to lose its coordinating potential, inducing proselfs to harvest more than prosocials.

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ERIM Article Series (EAS)
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

de Kwaadsteniet, E., van Dijk, E., de Wit, A., & de Cremer, D. (2006). Social dilemmas as strong versus weak situations: Social value orientations and tacit coordination under resource size uncertainty. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42(4), 509–516. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2005.06.004