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Bias Can Impact Your Business from Within

by | Apr 23, 2018 | Best Practices, MyTek Blog

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Biases are not always bad, even though you probably have heard that before. But if they aren’t considered rationally, they can lead to a bad business decision that can ruin your business. Bias in business can be damaging overall. Researchers have done the research to figure out why we hold biases, where they come from, and how we can overcome them in the end.

What Do We Mean By Bias?

Although this doesn’t make any biases against any group OK, there are some theories that suggest that biases began as a survival tool. When we think about it, a healthy skepticism of other groups may have saved some of our ancestors from trouble or even from death. 

An expert of examining bias, Maureen Berkner Boyt, offered a different theory when it comes to the roots of bias in an ironically inclusive way. Boyt said that our biases have come from an attempt to protect ourselves from the information overload of the brain. With the world being filled with stimuli and so much information for our brains to process, Boyt says that biases allow the brain to process and sort out the information in a quick and easy way.

Without these biases, Boyt believes that our brains, although powerful, would not be able to process all of the information they receive without overload. Biases would allow us to categorize and would help our brains refrain from breaking down. Boyt suggests that biases are not only just certain feelings associated with groups but are mental shortcuts that allow us to function. With this definition of bias, we can draw the conclusion that we are all biased but it doesn’t make us bad people.

How This Can Create Issues in the Business World

Although the bias itself may not be harmful, it can lead to harmful situations in the workplace. When thinking about one industry that is populated more by one gender than the other, you may find it hard to make it unseen. Stereotypical beliefs can lead biases to dangerous decision-making that affects many industries.

If we think about orchestras, you may realize that most are filled with mostly male musicians. This isn’t a reflection on their being more male musicians, because it has been found that if the auditions are held blindly, the ratio of male and female level out. During a study at GitHub, a blind review revealed that they favored code that female coders developed, even though the industry is mostly male-dominated. Bias in business can be damaging, especially if it is never brought to light.

Have You Been Biased in Your Business Decision-Making?

You may not even realize that have you been biased until it is pointed out to you. These shortcuts, although they are just shortcuts, can lead to a thought process that isn’t ultimately rational. Luckily, are tools that can help you become more educated on your own biases. Harvard’s Project Implicit has quizzes that can reveal your biases based on many different factors, and your responses will be tracked anonymously. 

But, awareness isn’t everything. Knowing is only half of the battle. If you recognize that you have extreme biases, you will need to act on them in order to change. Reevaluating is important and Boyd calls this an “interrupter,” which can be an effective tool. Bias in business is a battle that we all have to work on to fight. If you want to take some time to understand your bias, MyTek can be there to make sure your technology is managed in the meantime. Give us a call at 623-312-2440 to learn more.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Tim Tiller, LMSW

 
Tim Tiller, MSW brings a deep service background to his role at Mytek, having graduated from McDonald’s management training program, fresh out of high school, and working his way up through the ranks in the hospitality industry. He has led two prior companies – Multi-Systems Inc., an IT-focused organization providing technology to hospitality companies (where he was named President at age 36), and most recently, as Chief Operating Officer for Jewish Voice Ministries International.

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