Diffusion of Responsibility

Diffusion of responsibility is a sociopsychological phenomenon whereby a person is less likely to take responsibility for action or inaction when others are present. Considered a form of attribution, the individual assumes that others either are responsible for taking action or have already done so. The phenomenon tends to occur in groups of people above a certain critical size and when responsibility is not explicitly assigned. It rarely occurs when the person is alone and diffusion increases with groups of three or more.

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Diffusion Of Responsibility - Real-World Examples
... into possible explanations, which helped develop the concepts of diffusion of responsibility and the bystander effect ... The diffusion of responsibility for alleged war crimes during World War II was famously used as a legal defense by many of the Nazis being tried at Nuremberg ...