January 3, 2013

Red light crossing

Let’s say that you are waiting at a pedestrian crossing at a red light. Someone, waiting beside you, starts to cross the street without waiting for the traffic lamp to turn to green. What would you do? Will you follow that person, who is crossing the street? Would the dressing style of that person influence you in your decision to follow or not to follow him?

M. Lefkowitz, R.R.Blake, J.S. Mouton published in 1955 their research, titled Status factors in pedestrian violation of traffic signals, whereby they state that the probability of following a well dressed person, crossing the street at a red light, is higher than the probability of following such a person who is poorly dressed.

During our meetings we tell our clients, who want to sell their business, that the potential acquirer’s company may be stronger or bigger than our client’s company but this does not mean that the managers of the potential acquirer always give better decisions. They too may make mistakes during the discussions. When they are inclined to violate the rules, like crossing at red light, then instead of following them we should remind them of the rules.

Although we have a saying which goes as, “Fine feathers make fine birds”, it is better in a relationship not to be deceived by the feathers.

If you would like to read about research on influence of status on road-safety rules, please click here.

The oldie of the week: Chris de Burg – Lady In Red (1986)

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