The social facilitation theory suggests that the presence of others affects an individual's behaviour. Aligned with this theory, this study theoretically investigates the impact of social influence on the decision making of sports officials, and empirically examines officials' decisions and their subsequent effects. Using archival data of 4,879 National Basketball Association games, we find that officials make decisions in favour of a home team by giving it fewer foul calls and awarding it with more free throws. This study contributes to the decision science not only by identifying a relevant social psychology theory and applying it to individuals' decision making, but also by transcending the boundaries of traditional decision-making studies and facilitating the community to conduct research in new frontiers.
International Journal of Information and Decision Sciences – Inderscience Publishers
Published: Jan 1, 2010