Factors That Lead to Bias
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Even though we might strive to make accurate and informed decisions, sometimes being biased is inevitable. This is because there are several factors that affect the way we perceive things. They distort and limit our perception leading to bias. This is often referred to as cognitive bias and it is human to have it. Our perception is influenced by several factors that drive us to the judgments we make.This means that the judgments we make in day to day lives are not always fair but affiliated or inclined towards a particular side(SILANI, G., Lamm, C., Ruff, C.C. and Singer, T., 2014, pp.76-80). Being bias means being inclined towards something. This article explores some of the factors that limit and distort our perception leading to bias. It also looks at the remedies that individuals and organizations can use to avoid bias.
There are a number of factors that will actually distort and limit how we perceive things and lead to bias. For instance, time will limit our perception. The time that a particular thing occurs determines how we perceive it. If for example, a particular person speaks last in a gathering our judgment is that the person is too prominent (SVENSSON, J., Mustafa, A., Fick, J., Schmitz, M. and Brunström, B., 2016, pp.44-50). Again, if a person is engaged in an interview for a longer duration than others, we perceive that the person particular person is great. Another factor that distorts our perception is past experience with someone. If for example you had an encounter with a particular person and saw how they behaved and how they presented themselves you get a positive attitude towards that person. When at one time asked about who can do a particular thing efficiently you will definitely mention that person as opposed to another person you’ve not met.
Attitude is another factor that actually distorts our perception. Attitude simply means the state of mind. When we have a positive attitude towards a particular thing, we shall surely be inclined towards that particular thing. For instance, if you have a positive attitude towards strolling in the beaches and you are given options to a leisure activity you will definitely choose strolling in the beaches. Motive also affects our perception. Motive means an emotion that will make a particular person do something (ENOS, R.D. and Celaya, C., 2017, pp.89-90). Sometimes our emotions influence how we make decisions. If for example, you are judging a case between two people who were fighting and one of them is seriously hurt you are likely to be inclined towards the one who is hurt. Your emotion and sympathy are likely to make you lay hands on the one who is not hurt. Emotion makes you pity that particular person and makes decisions that are inclined towards that particular person. This is a good and solid evidence of the distortion of perception to make a biased judgment.
Ways to Overcome Bias
Interest is another factor that limits and distorts our perception. This is to mean that you will always make decisions influenced by your passion. There is no way a particular person will decide to do something that does not please his or her heart. For instance, if a person prefers taking juice to porridge and is asked to suggest a drink after a lunch session is likely to request juice rather than porridge. This is a decision influenced so much by interest and passion.Again, if making choices for oneself; one is likely to be much influenced by his interests which will hinder making accurate decisions. Another factor that will limit our perception is our expectation (AGHA, R.A., 2017, pp.6-7). Expectation makes us make a prior judgment about how a particular thing is likely to happen. How we make decisions is influenced by what we expect from particular people. If for instance, we expect a particular thing to happen in a particular manner, we shall make our decisions inclined to that expectation. If for instance, a teacher expects a particular student to pass the exam; his decision will be inclined towards that particular student and will always make affiliated decisions.
Proximity is yet another factor that limits and distorts our perception. This means the state of being near to a particular thing or person, whether in terms of space, time or relationship. How much we are close to people affect our perception and judgment. For example, we are likely to incline towards our family members when judging a case or deciding the ratio of sharing capital (CHE-CASTALDO, C., Crisafulli, C.M., Bishop, J.G. and Fagan, W.F., 2015, pp.104-108). It is not even strange to see managers hire their family members to take top positions in organizations or promote them. We are also likely to choose our relatives to be among the top position stakeholders in an organization. Similarity also influences our decisions by limiting our perception to bring about bias. Similarity means the relation of sharing properties with a particular person. It also won’t be strange to see a person asked to choose workmate and choose a former schoolmate because he or she believes that they have some common traits due to common training. In simple terms, our decisions will always be inclined towards those who we share a commonality.
The background is another factor that influences our decisions and leads to bias (DUCHÊNE, D. and Duchêne, S., 2016, pp.54-57). In this context, bias means ones’ social heritage. This means that one is likely to favor a person of their own social heritage as opposed to those of another background. If for instance, a person hates a particular background due to his or her well known reasons, he or she is likely to make judgments against that background. For example, it is likely that an African judge in a European court will make judgements inclined to an Africans. Another key factor that influences our decision is sounds. The way a particular thing sounds will always influence the decision we make. For example, we will always make judgments on the state of anger of a person depending on the pitch of their voice. Again, if we are rating the danger of a scenario, we are likely to determine the magnitude of the scream by the affected victim.
Organizational Strategies to Overcome Bias
It is important to know that even if there are factors that will influence how we perceive things and lead us to bias, there are ways to overcome this bias. It is very imperative to overcome bias so that we can make decisions that are not affiliated to a particular thing. This is what is called uninfluenced judgment.Hanging out with people who have better attitudes than can reduce our bias greatly(SCHMIDT, H.G., Mamede, S., Van den Berge, K., van Gog, T., 2016, pp.34-40). If for example, you have a negative attitude about the homeless, walking with a person who volunteers to work in the advantage of the homeless will help you get a better attitude towards them. This way will help you reduce your affiliation towards those who have homes. By so doing you will have avoided bias and you will be capable of making fair judgments. Making friends and interacting with people who you perceive as being different can also help you reduce bias. It is said that thoughts are influenced by behavior. If for example you don’t like old people and you associate yourself with them or people who like them you are likely to love them as time goes by.
Appreciating the fact that we are all humans and that our brains make mistakes can help reduce bias. If for example, you become aware of the unconscious bias you will instantly reduce the bias of generalization and stereotypes. It is important that we accept the fact that as human beings we are at times biased based on generalization and work towards mitigating it. Therefore, accepting this fact will slowly waft out this bias. Organizations also ought to establish clear criteria before making decisions so that the bias can be taken out of the decision-making process (GOODMAN, D.B., Church, G.M. and Kosuri, S., 2015, pp.56-70). This includes and is not limited to hiring and promotion of employees and other organization staff. By so doing, we avoid affiliations and are able to make just decisions.
Organizations have to also hold decision makers accountable for the decision made. This will include the outcomes, whether negative or positive. The decision makers should be held responsible for any mess that occurs as a result of their decisions. This will actually reduce the inclination towards one side and lead to accurate decisions. Organizations can also make an employee screening so as to confidentially find out what is happening in every employee aspect process(JACKSON, B. and Campos, J., 2017, pp.87-91). The organization should take a keen interest on how resumes are screened, how hiring and employee promotion is done so as to know whether there is bias in any stage. By so doing the organization will be aware whether there is transparency in the activities that take place in the organization. This is the only sure way of dealing with bias in the acquisition and dealing with employees.
Proper training of employees and leaders can also help an organization overcome bias. An organization ought to train its employees about the malpractices and their effects so as to reduce the effect of being bias. This can take the form of mentoring programs and benchmark among other ways. When this is done effectively, the company to a wider extent is able to avoid bias. Another way an organization can avoid being bias is pair training of best practices (DEL JUNCO, D.J., 2015, pp.76-80). For example, an organization can choose to hold interviews for employee recruitment and at the same time hold training of the moral uprightness that the absorbed employees are expected to show. This is one of the most effective ways to counteract bias. This is because employees hired will be already knowing what is expected of them and the consequences of breaching the moral standards. By so doing, the acquired employees will be free from any bias.
An organization can also include practices that are aimed at changing the culture of the employees. This will ensure that the employees change their perception and drop their cultural judgments and are able to make accurate decisions (SCHLÜNS, H., Welling, H., Federici, J.R. and Lewejohann, L., 2017, pp.204-210). This can take the form of sensitizing on listening to others, giving credit to others and fair and balanced feedback. This helps the employees to have self-esteem as well as respect other’s opinions and give credit to them as well as appreciating their worth. Organizations can also reward employees who do their best in promoting diversity in the zeal to avoiding affiliation and bias. By so doing, these employees feel motivated and t is likely to get stronger and also influence the rest to adopt the same idea in promoting diversity. It is said that appreciating other people’s views and seeing their worth will reduce cognitive bias to a great extent.
Conclusively, it is a mere and undisputable fact that some factors like our expectations and attitude affects our perception and leads to bias. However, this should not frighten us so much as though there is no a way forward that will be used to lessen our biased decisions or completely waft them out of ourselves. We should, therefore, know that bias can be overcome in several ways which include appreciating others' worth and association with people who promote diversity. Although bias is human, it is important to avoid it, by all means, possible because there is always a consequence for every decision made.
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