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To blame is to hold another person or group responsible for perceived faults real, imagined, or merely invented for pejorative purposes. Blame is an act of censure, reproach, and often outright condemnation. Blame is used to place responsibility and accountability for faults on the blamed person or group.

Psychology of blame

Blame seems basic to hominid behaviour, as the cat did it incident with Koko the gorilla demonstrated very vividly.

Blaming is nearly universally observed in children. It seems to be an essential part of human development. When language skills develop, one of the first practical things that can be done with them is to apply them to blame others for one's own misdeeds, and get them sanctioned or punished while one simply continues to engage in more of same.

Specific examples of blame

Blame in organizations

Some systems theorists and management consultants, such as Gerald Weinberg, held that the flow of blame in an organization was itself one of the most important indicators of that organization's robustness and integrity. Blame flowing upwards in a hierarchy, he argued, proved that superiors were willing to take full responsibility for their orders to their inferiors and supplying them with the resources required to do their jobs. But blame flowing downwards, from management to staff, or laterally between professionals, were signs of organizational failure.

Organizations can apply censure and demotion to managers and leaders who do not take full responsibility for their actions - in effect, to blame them for deflecting blame, rather than admit and redress it. These measures are quite common in government and diplomacy, in situations where no punishment can be applied, e.g. due to diplomatic immunity.

Blame in politics

Resignation of a public official is another common way to accept blame, although in doing so the person may publicly blame others for the resignation.

See also