“That’s the way we’ve always done it.”
Bias in the Selected Statement
1). “That’s the way we’ve always done it.”
Confirmation bias focuses on favoring information that confirms the preexisting belief or preconception. As a result, the team will seek creative solutions that confirm the team’s beliefs rather than challenge them or seek new possibilities (Pinder, 2019). Furthermore, an employee or individual who enjoys addressing problems in a particular way will always choose the alternative that keeps things as they are. As a result, it is possible to miss out on potential benefits realized after changes in organizational choices are implemented. If teams must rely on traditional decision-making methods, the process of gathering, interpreting, and evaluating information will be hampered (Keil et al., 2007). As a result, the team will not employ alternate data gathering methods so long as they do not align with preexisting beliefs; rather, they will evaluate and interpret tools using available tools that will keep things the way it is.
Comfort zone also comes into play as employees may become content with the organization’s current state, especially when there is no motivation or pressure to change. Moreover, employees may avoid hard decisions and rely on the same system of decision-making. Alternatively, employees can use past experiences to measure success; this is the gambler’s fallacy (Kovic & Kristiansen, 2017). It involves an expectation the past events will affect the future. Another element is anchoring bias, where employees make final decisions based on the information collected early on. In essence, it is jumping to conclusions.
2). “The CEO needs to validate it first.”
The statement is an example of authority bias, in which the CEO’s viewpoint notion is preferred over other team ways. This suggests that senior team members’ opinions are superior to those sought from team members, even when alternative concepts, ideas, and contributions are more innovative and pertinent to problem solutions (Pinder, 2019). Authoritarian bias limits an individual’s ability to think divergently and generate fresh ideas at the subconscious level. As a result, as long as the authority’s perspective is opposite to the majority, fresh and original ideas will be excluded from decision-making. Authority bias affects information gathering, interpretation, and evaluation since there is less brainstorming when a leader’s judgment is definitive before a choice is approved (DeAcedo Lizárraga, 2007). Despite the team’s brainstorming on a problem, the final decision will be left to the CEO; hence, the team will be discouraged from gathering data, interpreting, and evaluating the information as long as the CEO’s perspective is superior.
The statement can also be the result of the organizational procedure. Some organizations require final decisions to be made by top-level management, regardless of the situation. Another condition would involve employees who are more accustomed to vertical relationships. In essence, they are more adept at adhering to strict guidelines and reporting to a traditional command structure. Individuals with such a predisposition are more likely to consider the implications of their actions. However, teamwork requires a lot of cooperation and consideration of multiple perspectives for efficient decision-making.
3). “Trust me, I know this won’t work.”
The statement is a case of overconfidence bias in action because such statements are frequently made by people who have previously failed and are unwilling to take a chance (How to Reduce Bias In Decision-Making, n.d.). As a result, people tend to play it cautiously to prevent repeating their earlier failures. Because the team will make decisions without following a defined decision-making process, the team’s decision-making will be impacted. Prior experience with the issues instills dread in the team, preventing them from collecting, interpreting, and evaluating data gathered during the structural decision-making process.
Such statements are also made by individuals unwilling to take risks irrespective of potential rewards. Hence, new ideas are threatening. Overconfidence bias also applies here as individuals place a lot of emphasis on their knowledge and opinions. Moreover, they place a high value on their contribution to the team. It directly relates to expert bias, believing that personal knowledge is sufficient to guide decision-making (Dieckmann et al., 2015). Negativity bias also comes into play. It is characteristic of individuals placing more focus on the negative aspects of a decision. Moreover, they assess the value of a decision based on its direct consequences.
4). “If it’s not broken, why fix it?”
The statement is an example of status quo bias where the current situation is favored and maintained due to the loss of vision and does nothing as a result (Pinder, 2019). If that is fine the way they are, then there is no need to change anything. The status quo indicates that people feel that perpetuating the present state of a thing is more preferable over any change. The bias will affect the decision-making because the team will not implement new ideas so long the existing ideas are still working, and no problem is being faced (Keil et al., 2007). The gathering, interpreting, and evaluating of data will not occur since members will hope to stick to the existing state of things rather than changing anything.
The statement can also directly relate to availability bias. Employees may decide to concentrate on the ideas they already have; this hinders the ability to discover better ideas. If a company is in a stable condition and making profits, sunk cost may come into play; decision-making is based on winning or losing. Alternatively, resistance to change might be due to the number of resources invested in developing the outdated strategy. Resistance might also be due to fear of losses after investing in a process or ideas that may not be successful.
5). “There is no budget for this risky stuff.”
Anchoring bias is exemplified here. Individuals with cognitive biases are more likely to depend on the initial bits of information they are provided on a topic (Pinder, 2019). An individual manipulates the minds of team members by preloading them with information that they already know. This bias has a tremendous impact on creative thought, as well as the final judgment. Data gathering, interpretation, and evaluation are harmed because the team will rely on the first information provided by one team member, which indicates that the project is risky, thus influencing the data gathering process. The members may refuse to participate in data collection and evaluation due to the assumption that the project is risky.
The statement can be attributed to the development of a risk aversion culture in a company. However, risk is an integral part of any decision-making process (Aven & Kristensen, 2019). The organization might be in a tough financial period where management cannot tolerate failure. The benefit of the decision-making process is that it can paint a clear picture of what risks the company should prioritize. From such an analysis, deciding when or how to act becomes straightforward. A firm that can analyze risk before making decisions is in a prime position to navigate challenges.
6). “Let me check with the team and see what they think.”
The statement reflects confirmation bias. The team prefers information that confirms preexisting beliefs or preconceptions to believe what they want to think. As a result, the team will seek out new solutions that correspond to them rather than challenging beliefs. In this instance, it is difficult to make a judgment without first seeking input from the team so that whenever a decision is reached, it confirms prior opinions (Pinder, 2019). The purpose of asking people what they think ensures that the innovative solution implemented would validate existing beliefs. This form of bias harms decision-making because it prevents autonomous thinking and aligns decisions with what is best for the team. In this case, data analysis, interpretation, and evaluation would be useless because the final decision must be taken as a group rather than individually. As a result, the team may not follow a formal decision-making process and instead make decisions based on what they believe is right.
Consultation with the group may also be a result of the decision-making procedure. The group may require that all decisions are made with a consensus. The advantage is that all members of the group will accept the final decision. However, a negative consequence can be group think; this refers to members in a group making a decision without careful consideration, a lack of critical thinking. The bandwagon effect may also emerge where group members adhere to group norms, creating a bias towards the process. The statement also reflects authority bias, which prevents individuals from collecting, analyzing data, or making decisions.
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