Self-Justification (Rationalizing Behavior)
Common methods of justifying actions/beliefs in light of contradictory information.
Rationalizing behaviors are common responses to cognitive dissonance. When confronted with a poor outcome from a decision we made or facts that contradict existing beliefs, we respond in predictable ways:
Villianization: We blame someone else for our personal failure.
Diffusion of Blame: We blame others around us or point to a group failure.
Displacement of Responsibility: It wasn’t our responsibility to make the decision in the first place.
Advantageous Comparison: What you did wasn’t as bad as what that other guy did.
Distortion of Consequences: Sure it set the project back 3 months, but out of a 4 years timeline that really isn’t that bad.
Attribution of Blame: Also called fundamental attribution error, when we blame external sources for a problem that we caused.
Euphemistic Labeling: Using more pleasant wordings like having someone “taken care of” instead of killed, or saying there was a small problem to describe some really bad screw-up.