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Introduction biases in management by examining how

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Introduction

 

The implications of heuristics and biases are
significant in management contexts. While their significance may not be clear
or discernible on a descriptive level, the impact of heuristics and biases become
increasingly obvious when examined against the backdrop of a real-world scenario.
Heuristics and biases especially deserve attention in management set-tings
because they can inadvertently create consequences
throughout the sponsoring organisation (Shepherd, Williams & Patzelt,
2015). This
paper encompasses an exploratory discussion on the role of heuristics and biases in management by examining how they can
influence decision-making in recruiting and hiring and contexts.

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Heuristics in Recruiting and Hiring

 

When managers and human resource (HR) experts
initiate a job requisition, they must usually outline specific
responsibilities, requirements, and abilities to attract the right candidates. The
heuristics managers depend on when approaching the dynamics of each job often
extend from years of experiential learning (Cummins et al., 2013).
Heuristics garnered from authentic experiences may help in certain cases, but ones
that are unfounded could contribute to management biases. The following
sections discuss four distinct forms of biases and exemplify how they might
transpire in hiring and recruiting
contexts.

 

 

 

Ease
of Recall Bias

 

The cognitive faculties and information
resources managers harness to formulate decisions might seem logical to them,
but the fundamental reasoning behind their choices may reflect a form of bias
known as ease of recall (Bazerman & Moore, 2009). For example, when managers design and assemble job postings to
entice desirable candidates and filter undesirable ones, they are liable to
reflect upon previous experiences when identifying and selecting
characteristics, abilities, and requirements to include in a job requisition. If
managers rely too heavily on the memorability, vividness, and recency of their
recollections to determine the contents of a job posting, they may fall victim
to the ease of recall bias (Bazerman & Moore, 2009). Designing the specifications of a job posting in this fashion is
erroneous because the construct validity of the ensuing job requisition will be
exclusively subject to the manager’s perspective (Newman & Lyon, 2009; Kluemper et al., 2015). The ease of recall bias is a derivative of the availability
heuristic, which involves an overreliance on retrievability when expediting decision-making
(Bazerman & Moore, 2009). Managers may not intend to misuse the availability heuristic or
commit the ease of recall bias, but they
are guilty on both accounts if they design job requisitions that filter
prospective candidates solely based on their recollections.

 

Confirmation
Trap Bias

 

For multiple reasons, managers responsible
for designing job requisitions may presume to know precisely which requirements
and abilities belong on the job posting of a specific position. One example of
this scenario might include a manager who previously excelled in a sales
position, who must now recruit and hire for the same sales position as part of
their management responsibilities (Agnihotri et al., 2014). If
the manager believes they were successful at sales because of their ability to
control conversations with prospective customers and skill with aggressive
closing tactics, they may feel a natural inclination to include the same types
of abilities and skills on the job requisition for the sales position.
Moreover, the pursuit of these characteristics is liable to continue throughout
other stages of the interview process as well. This example epitomises a bias known as the confirmation
trap, where offenders gravitate toward conclusions they already suspect to be
the case (Bazerman & Moore, 2009). The confirmation trap bias extends from the confirmation heuristic,
the proclivities of which are very similar to the self-fulfilling prophecy,
which characterises a situation where
individuals continually fulfil their
expectations because they quest for them incessantly (Shepherd et al., 2015).

 

Hindsight
and the Curse of Knowledge Bias

 

Despite the best efforts of management, sound
hiring processes do not always translate into new hires who perform well in
their positions. Naturally, a common tendency among hiring managers is to
reflect upon their hiring processes and decisions to identify at what point
they overlooked indicators of potential failure. When managers confide in these
assessments, they are guilty of committing hindsight bias by believing
knowledge acquired in the present can explain past behaviours and predict future occurrences (Zhao, 2013). Hindsight bias is a type of confirmation heuristic because
wielding conclusions as a methodology for finding and analysing evidence in the future is methodologically invalid (Bazerman & Moore, 2009).

 

Overconfidence
Bias

 

Another form of bias extending from the
confirmation heuristic encompasses overconfidence, which is divisible into
three distinct classifications of overconfidence. One of these classifications is referred to as overprecision, which is
especially prone to occur in recruiting and hiring contexts (Gudmundsson & Lechner, 2013). When managers confide excessively in their ability to identify the
right solution, they could be suspect of overprecision. What ultimately
determines whether managers are guilty of overprecision
is their insistence on compiling large
volumes of information about candidates without empirically testing whether the
information they collect will dependably corroborate their hypotheses (Moore & Healy, 2008). In other words, more information does not necessarily lead to higher
levels of accuracy in hiring and recruiting.

 

Steps to Avoid Biases in Managerial Decision-Making

 

Beliefs and assumptions about the way the
world works play a meaningful role in the interpretive paradigms people use to
form judgments and make decisions. When people practice introspection, self-reflection,
and open-mindedness, it is much easier for them to remain cognizant of the
beliefs, values, and assumptions that guide their attitudes and behaviours (Bazerman & Moore, 2009; Robbins
& Judge, 2013). One
suggestion to help managers avoid biases in hiring and recruiting is to
challenge the paradigms they depend on through self-reflection and self-guided
learning (Solansky, 2015).

 

While most people assess and interpret the world
around them according to cognitive maps and mental shortcuts, relying on
heuristics without fact-checking or challenging them with alternative paradigms
can lead to different forms of bias, albeit unknowingly or unintentionally (Giacomin, Janssen & Shinnar, 2016;
Simon & Kim, 2017). Managers can reduce the likelihood of these errors by employing sound recruiting
and hiring practices in the workplace (Johnston, 2008). Before accepting certain capabilities as paramount to a certain
position, managers should collect data to measure whether existing
top-performers possess these characteristics. However, even if the suspected
capabilities are present among the company’s best employees, there could be
other trait combinations worthy of consideration as well.

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