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Common biases found in the workplace

Thursday, Nov 3, 2016, by Sheryl Blythen

Globally, unconscious bias is a big focus for organisations working to address diversity issues. Undiagnosed, biases work to subtly undermine the many hours organisations invest in creating an inclusive culture. Here are some of the common biases that may be impacting your workplace. Affinity Bias The preference for those similar to ourselves or those perceived as part of our ‘in-group’. Recency Bias Recent events tend to weigh more heavily on our decisions than events in the past. Recency bias would indicate that we don’t learn over time as well as we remember the last thing that happened. Halo/Horn Bias Allowing your judgment to be influenced by a particular trait (either positive or negative) could indicate Halo/Horn Bias. Confirmation Bias When people tend to favour information that confirms their already established beliefs, you have a case of Confirmation Bias ... the “bias enhancer.” Anchoring Bias When we’re faced with a decision, Anchoring Bias causes us to give more weight to the first bit of information we gather. Commitment Bias It’s difficult to accept sunk costs. Commitment Bias is the tendency to increase our commitment in a decision based on prior investments despite evidence that the cost of continuing down our current path is much greater than any expected benefit. Stereotypes Assumptions and judgments are made based on the stereotypes of the category that an individual belong to such as gender or race.   Diversity Works New Zealand offers customised unconscious bias training that not only raises awareness of this issue, but helps organisations take the next step in managing it. To find out more, contact Diversity Manager Fezeela Raza on training@diversityworksnz.org.nz or 0800 DIVERSITY (0800 348 377)  

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