Making an accurate decision or judgement is not a very easy task. It involves lot of complexities such as gathering of information, processing the same and based on the result decision is taken. But the question that remains unanswered is whether the information gathered and processed are free from any biasness. Decisions and information collection all are dependent upon human minds. It is a minds game. We think and arrive at conclusions basis our own judgemental emotions, experience and prejudices. Thus there are various factors that distort an individual as well as an organization’s ability to collect and refine the information and take decision which is accurate (Bauer & Erdogan, 2001).
First and foremost the most important factor is the failure of an individual as well as an organization as a whole to consider all the facts and figures available while making decisions. People and decisional groups become very selective with regards the data available. We have a single dimensional view while looking at things and this limits our perspective of looking at all the available evidences in detail. This factor can take any of the two forms. Either a person will consider only the positive aspects of information which will satisfy its requirements thus waving off the negative aspects in totality. And second is consideration of only negative aspects and discussing over them while ignoring the positivity of the evidence. Thus this distorts the ability to take a balanced and an unbiased decision (Korte, 2003).
People many a times are seen to arrive at a conclusion based on a piece of evidence, thus ignoring the entire sample data. This leads to arriving at a general consensus which may not be accurate. The main reason for distortion in this scenario is inability to interpret samples by integrating them as a whole (Lovallo, & Sibony, 2006).
Another very important factor which cannot be dismissed is polarized thinking which leads to looking at only one side of the coin. Individuals and organizations fail to analyze both sides of the situation and conclude by looking at things in a linear manner as in they are either black or white, good or bad or all or nothing. Because of this misleading notion one ends up arriving at such rules and regulations which are irrational and disagreeable to the masses. This myth leads to missing out of opportunity to take sound decisions when it is possible to break down the complex elements of a data into simpler ones and take faster decisions during times of need. Every piece of bad news is not harmful should be inculcated into the minds of the individuals which would help them personally as well as professionally. This limitation which is set in the minds of humans also is a major limiting factor for taking sound decisions. (Workingresources.com. 2016)
As is rightly said it is a minds game, thus mind reading is a very important factor which also contribute to such fallacies. We often conclude basis what is clearly visible from our naked eyes without even looking at other possible alternatives which may be visible if looked in depth. This is known as Fundamental Attribution Error where one interprets one’s action wrongly. We often tend to neglect the information which is representative in nature. Focus is only on the evidences which lead to negative conclusions and thus positive views or extracts are ignored. This attribution effect limits the persons viewpoint to look at the cause of occurrence and just concentrate upon the effect of the action. Our judgement becomes so biased that we judge people sitting on the other side of the table basis their behavioural patterns and judge ourselves basis our purpose (Nead, 2015).
Organizations decisions are often affected by the personal whims and fancies of the individuals. The ego enlarges to such an extent that one cannot look beyond himself or herself. They have a mindset of taking everything upon them and find everything else around to be opaque. This leads to forming rules which are only favouring them. They become self centred (Wilson, & Brekke, 1994).
Lack of confidence in some individual’s leads to overestimation or underestimation of their own calibre. This leads to a loss of control. Often the people around tend to take advantage of this fallacy. Controlling of emotions such as anger is a must else it tends to hamper your judgemental thinking. Resentment is a negative attribute which should be overcome by making oneself informed and not acting basis incomplete communication of information. Thus lack of proper communication channels leads to development of such distortions (Gutnik et al. 2006).
An individual’s reasoning capacity is highly influenced by its emotional quotient. Thus any piece of information should be adequately analyzed before arriving at any decision. Adhoc decisions often is misleading and false. Stubborn nature influences an individual’s behaviour as well as the behaviour of the organization as well. Believing on the fact that one cannot be wrong is egoistic nature which may lead to disasters specially if such a thinking is imbibed into the minds of the ultimate decision makers of any organization (Dietrich, 2010).
Lastly the concept of ‘let bygones be bygones’ should be followed in tact. Organizations often consider sunk costs as costs which cannot be recovered while making any economic and business decisions. Considering sunk costs while taking any decision leads to distortion. The decision will not accurate and instead of viewing the future one is seen stuck with the past. Unfortunately human beings have this habit of considering their past investments without considering the future of the investment. It is known that sunk costs are irrecoverable in nature yet the myth exists and people continue to try to recover what they have lost. Thus these factors are very influential in enabling a person to take informed decisions. They often lead to distortion and thus biased and imprudent decisions.
However it is to be understood that one can easily try to overcome these fallacies if adequate efforts are put in by the individuals as well as the organizations. Let us take a small example of a politician’s speech during a rally. Do we actually agree to whatever he says or promises in its face value? The answer is no. Some judgement is exercised before arriving at a conclusion. Thus one should think critically before arriving at any solution trying to keep the biasness away from the loop. This helps to resolve problems why discussing situations from all angles and not from only one side which is favourable for the decision maker. Critical thinking helps to think about the management, the organization and the society as a whole rather than just thinking about satisfaction of self. It is impossible to eradicate the emotional quotient fully however the critical thinking factors in the element of biasness. It simply prefers one to keep the biasness in mind but at the same time slants the preference towards honesty. It is more inclined towards resolution of problem rather than just giving importance to emotions. Critical thinking is one of the most preferable way of resolving this problem of lack of accuracy in judgements due to biasness. It even helps a person or an organizational group’s emotional quotient to control and behave in a rational manner which would benefit the society as well. Critical thinking cannot become a part of an individual automatically. The same has to be nurtured by self as well as the organization. They should keep training programs on a continuous basis for the same, conduct assembly sessions within the small teams that are there in an organization and explore the abilities of the employees towards critical thinking which will benefit the employees in their professional as well as personal lives (Wolf, 2012).
Further the individuals and the organizations as a whole can put in efforts to overcome the Fundamental Attribution Errors as well. They need to learn and develop the attitude of empathizing with the people around and their situations rather than sympathizing with them. By doing so the decisions taken become less prejudiced and one thinks keeping oneself in the shoes of the other person (DeSteno et.al. 2004). Further to this understanding the cultural diversity is another important method to waive the distortions that occur while arriving at decisions. People from varying cultures are a part of any organization, between that it is very important to keep in mind the same before arriving at any conclusion .Also working with a team which is diverse in nature enables one to think in a more rational manner (Richeson, & Nussbaum, 2004).
In view of the above it is very evident that the vulnerabilities in making decisions lies in the very ability to take decisions by human beings. It is their behavioural patterns which proves whether justice is done while arriving at a particular consensus. Its impact can be minimized even by other ways and means also such as by seeking opinion from external resources so as to be over sure about one’s own decision. External agencies are generally unbiased as they have no direct interest in the organization or the individual. Another very important way is to appreciate the efforts of the employees which would encourage them to take more sound decisions for the organization’s welfare. Also people who make mistakes should be enlightened about the same rather than penalizing them. Sessions should be held and discussions and re-discussions should be done for resolving graver issues so that bouncing back of problems will help to bring out newer sides of the problem which may be positive as well as negative (Mindtools.com, 2016).
It is very crucial for companies to understand that it is the organizational behaviour that puts any organization at risk rather than occurrence of any contingent event. Eminent scholars have also proposed that amongst others, awareness is one such way to ensure that biasness is eliminated while arriving at a decision, however it is not applicable at the top and middle level management of any organization which has a more complex structure. The same is helpful at the lower levels where the decisions are minor and there biasness is very ineffective for the organization’s goals and aims (McGinnis, 2007).
Individuals who are a part of organizations are held to be mature enough. Thus they should also take steps on their own to minimize biasness in their work by working upon one’s capability to judge without prejudice. They should make a deliberate attempt to look at situations from a neutral view point. This is although a sort of self awareness but the same is also to be supported by the organizations itself. The company’s protocols should ensure visiting of various decisions of all levels. Individuals and organizations should make an effort together to find out the reasons for bias decisions and take steps for its removal from the scenario so that accuracy can be maintained. For this timely reviews should be conducted which would also inculcate a discipline amongst the employees that anything which is not exemplary or in line with the organization’s requirement can cost them. Although self check is the best check but there are times when the same is not possible. It is then when feedback from others should be welcomed in a healthy manner and the organization should also contribute in it by ensuring that it does not give rise to any negative or false environment (Rudman et al. 2001).
Thus from the above context it is very clear that judgements are coupled with biasness which effects its accuracy and acceptability. Individuals belonging to any cadre of an organization should ensure that personal fractions should not dominate one’s decisions. Further decisions should not be taken in haste. Proper investigation and interrogation is required and team should comprise of all the members and not restricted to only a few powerful of them. All the voices raised should be heard and decisions which are best in the interest of the organization should only be taken. Thus biasness is although present and data even though collected is accurate the same can be addressed only with a joint effort on the part of the individuals as well the organization itself.
Bauer, T., & Erdogan, B., (2001), Organizational Behaviour, Available at : https://catalog.flatworldknowledge.com/bookhub/3?e=bauer-ch11_s01 [Accessed 16th August 2016]
DeSteno, D., Dasgupta, N., Bartlett, M., & Cajdric, A. (2004). Prejudice from thin air: The effect of emotion on automatic intergroup attitudes. Psychological Science, vol. 15, pp. 319-324.
Dietrich, C., (2010), Decision Making : Factors that Influence Decision Making , Heuristics Used and Decision Outcomes, Inquiries Journal , vol. 2 no.2.
Gutnik, L.A., Hakimzada, A.F., Yoshkowitz, N.A.,& Patel, V.L. (2006), The role of emotions in decision making : A cognitive neuroeconomic approach towards understanding sexual risk behaviour, Journal of Biomedical Informatics, Vol. 39, no. 6, pp. 720-736
Korte, R.E., (2003), Biases in Decision Making and Implications for Human Resources Development , Advances in Developing Human Resources, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 440-457
Lovallo, D.P., & Sibony, O. (2006), Distortions and deceptions in strategic decisions, Available at : https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/distortions-and-deceptions-in-strategic-decisions [Accessed 16th August 2016]
McGinnis, S.K., (2007), Organizational Behaviour and Management Thinking, Jones and Barlett Publishers
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Nead, N., (2015), Overcoming Organizational and Individual Biases, Available at : https://investmentbank.com/overcoming-organizational-and-individual-biases/ [Accessed 16th August 2016]
Richeson, J., & Nussbaum, R. (2004). The impact of multiculturalism versus color-blindness on racial bias. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, vol. 40,pp. 417-423.
Rudman, L., Ashmore, R., & Gary, M. (2001). Unlearning” automatic biases: The malleability of implicit prejudice and stereotypes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 81, pp. 856-868.
Wilson, T. D., & Brekke, N. (1994). Mental contamination and mental correction: Unwanted influences on judgments and evaluations. Psychological Bulletin, vol. 116, pp. 117-142.
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