Decision Making - Heuristics & Bias

Topics: Critical thinking, Decision theory, Cognition Pages: 2 (487 words) Published: September 16, 2006
1.Identify the possible heuristics and/or biases that may have influenced your co-worker's opinion. There are three items I see that may have influenced the other senior manager's opinion:

1)The candidate is female
2)The candidate is Hispanic
3)The candidate has been working at a competitor

The representativeness heuristic may be applicable for item one and two. Perhaps the senior manager has a personal judgment (bias) toward a Hispanic woman's' ability to be successful as a marketing manager. This would fall in the A, B, C's of representativeness, specifically, conjunctive fallacy. Relating A (Hispanic) to B (female) to the candidates success or failure as marketing manager violates, as Plous (1993, p. 110) states: "…a fundamental rule of probability. The conjunction, or co-occurrence, of two events… [e.g., "Hispanic" and "female"] …cannot be more likely than the probability of either event alone." The third possibility does not seem to me to be a scenario in which heuristics may be applied. There may be violations of legal or corporate ethics that make it impossible to hire this candidate as marketing manager since she has been working for a competitor. This is understandable from my perspective as I am aware of similar restrictions in the company I work for. There are intellectual property concerns among competitors within the semi-conductor industry that prevent hiring people in certain positions within those companies.

2.Are there ethical or legal implications from making a hiring decision based on his opinion? Violation of discrimination laws may certainly be of concern. Ethics may come into question if this candidate is hired knowing they have 20 years of experience (knowledge) of a competing company. The company with whom the candidate is currently employed may have legally bound her from accepting a position with a competing firm.

3.What would your response be to your co-worker?
I would ask him to explain the reasoning for his...

References: Plous, S. (1993). The psychology of judgment and decision making. p. 117. St.Louis:
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