An Analysis of the Role of Reactivity in the Observer Effect
King, Allison Hughes
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Peer observations, which consist of employees observing and scoring their coworkers’ performance of some targeted behavior(s), are often an important component of behavioral safety interventions. Research on peer observations has demonstrated that individuals improve their performance of a task as a result of observing and evaluating their coworkers perform that task, a phenomenon known as the observer effect. Most of the research has demonstrated this effect when the observers were aware that their performance of the task was also being observed, suggesting that reactivity may play an important role. The current study examined this by evaluating the impact that observing others’ safety performance had on the observers’ subsequent safety performance under reactivity and non-reactivity conditions. Results suggest that the observer effect might be more robust when observers are aware that their performance is also being evaluated.