Decision making in business is a vital element not only for achieving workplace coherence and high team performance but also for significant innovation and creativity. Effective management and leadership in organizations are fruits of exemplary decision-making (Shalley et al., 2015, p. 26). However, decision-making as a tool of management can be detrimental and a significant cause of challenges and disorganization if unconscious bias influences it. Unconscious bias also known as implicit bias is referred to as prejudice in favor of or against a person, a group or one thing such as favoring a recruit at the expense of another candidate not on merit but due to prior experience or knowledge of the preferred candidate. Therefore, unconscious bias in everyday life influences decision making that, in turn, affects the organizational diversity, high-performance team, and innovation/creativity adversely.
Explanation of Unconscious Bias
More elaborately, unconscious bias is prejudice and an inclination for or against a group or a person. Unconscious bias is the unconscious feelings one has towards other people; the emotions take a significant part in influencing making judgments of specific groups and people in many aspects of life. Moreover, unconscious biases are also social stereotypes about a specific group of people, which are outside their conscious awareness, and thus, everyone commits unconscious beliefs about identity and social groups. Unconscious bias manifests in several ways hence the many types and kinds biases that influence decisions. In the cooperate world and at workplaces the most unconscious biases people commit is the gender bias (Burke & Cooper, 2012, p. 20).
In management, especially in a multi-billion companies where the employee base has diverse cultural backgrounds, unconscious biases significantly influence the manager's decisions. Despite the professional prowess and the academic excellence the leaders and manager possess these biases still ensues at workplace since the leaders themselves are still members and part of the society full of stereotypes and beliefs. The socialization experience or the exposures to other social groups and social identities as well as media affect how people feel and think about a given social group (Shalley et al., 2015, p. 40).
However, it is important to mention that most biases from gender bias to gender stereotypes, in particular, is not as a result of evil intent, but just a deep-rooted unconscious bias or stereotype that formed in people brain across the year of different influences of which people have no control over. For instance, one can imagine all the phrases about the women that have caught our hearing and considered by feminists as negative such as "Gender Pay Gap," "The Maternal Wall," and the "Glass Ceiling" to mention a few.
In recruitment, people think that they are always liberal thinkers and astute decision makers, who can size up objectively and judge a job applicant fairly or arrive at a rational conclusion in venture deal, which is not always the case. Nonetheless, in most instances and reality we make the decision, not in the best interest of the organization but that, which is influenced by how we perceive and see reality (Mirza, 2018, p. 24). Our decisions are also greatly influenced by our attitude, how friendly one is towards a particular group of people, to what extent we get to listen to others opinions, and how much we can give attention to people.
Example of Unconscious Bias in Hiring Employees
Discrimination is a pervasive character perpetuated by unconscious biases that affect business decisions in our contemporary society. In the workplace, discrimination takes the form of social stereotypes and gender biases that derails the process of decision making especially in job advancement, recruitment, promotion and job advancement opportunities. Discrimination can be based on age, gender, weight, religion, disability status, skin color and even the place the applicant was educated. In an equal employment opportunity organization, the effect of discrimination as a result of unconscious bias is much more detrimental as it propagates discriminatory practices or treatments, lack of workforce diversity and adverse business culture.
In the recent past, there has been an attempt to introduce more infinite methods to challenge the manager's unconscious biases especially the HRs while deciding recruitment exercises. In employee recruitment managers makes a lot of uninformed decision and judgments prematurely due to unconscious biases. In recruitment instant that involved, two qualified employees one with a physical disability, from different races and gender many instances of unconscious bias effects manifested in the manager's decision. For example, the manager argued in her decision that she could not hire the physically challenged applicant because she has a defect thus she will perform poorly and therefore chose the other candidate over here. She also alluded in her deism that the job was rigorous and so needed a lot of labor that her as women could not comply with work demands of the job.
The manager's social stereotype and gender bias depicted in her decision, claiming that men are more competent and more productive than women, which an example of unconscious bias is affected her decision-making. Therefore, the feeling that the woman was incompetent, a weakling and uncivilized, made her consider the women beings less competitive, consequently high-level gender bias and stereotype in this decision. Consequently, the manager also committed affinity bias which is a type of unconscious bias in the manner she handled the applicants.
Unconscious Bias Influence on Performance Review
Primarily, unconscious bias is a hindrance to objectivity, which is a critical element for performance appraisal system. Organizations need systems where the top performers are given the opportunity to advance their skills and prowess. At the same time, there should be a provision for low performers to be provided with adequate motivation and advice required for improved performance (Griffith & Dunham, 2014, p. 32). Unfortunately, the opposite happens in the organization, as nearly nine over ten human resource managers do not believe the annual performance review as most of the result does not reflect the performance of the employees.
Unconscious bias influences the performance reviews in four distinct ways. Firstly, they include the central tendency bias, spillover bias, negativity bias and the halo effect bias. Central tendency happens when the managers are faced with a task to judge a low performing employee and do not know how to go about it out of fear to demoralize the employee. Also, spillover bias occurs in a state where the manager cannot remember the performance of the employee throughout the year and resort to rate the employee based on the recent performance (Burke & Cooper, 2012, p. 28).
Moreover, as a way of defense mechanism the employee's analyses and use the results to get back to their bosses hence this is also a hindrance of merit review as managers give favorable results to avoid adverse situations (Mirza, 2018, p. 36). Thus, the performance reviews in most cases are provided in favor of the prevailing circumstances but not on merit. The Halo effect bias occurs when managers have positive overlay views on a particular employee impact on the objectivity review hence preference. The existing systems of annual performance appraisals in the organizations are not based situations existing therein but not done based on objectivity or merit.
Selection Criteria Used in Building Collaborative Teams
Team performance is based not only on the expertise of the members but also the cooperation among the members themselves. In as much as leadership dictates the performance of a collaborative group many other criteria also take center stage in ensuring the success of the group right from formation and structure.
The first criterion would be building on heritage relationships. Trust is a critical element of collaborative group formation. The teams whose foundations are based on trust and are composed of trustworthy people always increase their chances of project's success (Griffith & Dunham, 2014, p. 32). Research shows that collaborative teams consisting of new and unfamiliar members are likely to fail because they find it more difficult to collaborate and articulate their issues. For instance, a media group will work and coordinate well to deliver good news coverage if trust prevails among them.
Understanding roles clarity and task ambiguity is another criterion. Because teams are built, not formed, the members must be presented with clear and vivid outlined tasks and with a clearly defined strategy to facilitate and ease their work to enable them to achieve their objectives and goals. In most cases, collaboration or teamwork is always active when the roles of each are clearly defined and well understood (Rathbone, 2012, p. 28). Nonetheless, collaborative works in the most instance are more active are assigned a task and have the feeling to do a portion of the work independently.
Excellent communication is an essential element in the building of a collaborative team. Different people with different expertise and skills will only work and coordinate well if they improve their communication skills. Teams, which have understood the effectiveness of communication, have shown outstanding performances in a different project they undertake. With effective communication among the members, the team model itself will circle back to the foundation of a collaborative building that is achieving a common goal and purpose for this cannot be met without effective communication. These criteria are essential in building and selection of a high performing collaborative team.
Tools, Methodologies, and Techniques to Promote Creativity and Innovation in Teams
Staying competitive in a continually evolving world is critical and requires a deeper understanding of science and art of creativity and innovation in diverse levels. Significantly, collaborative groups and diversity promote innovation and creativity in a company or an organization.
One achieves creativity by understanding and strict adherence to the vital underlying principles, phases and critically the divergence and convergence rule. The one primary tool that makes the tool applicable to collaborative teams and more useful is that which requires a separate approach to two phrases. Using the two phrases divergence- stimulating thinking by exploring and diversifying, together with convergence- choosing and refining the best possibilities at the same time is confusing and give people lifeless ideas (Shalley et al., 2015, p 41). Despite the many divergences and convergence techniques, one needs to understand the two principles only to think creatively that is SWAMI for deviation and SOARS for convergence. The two principles stand for supposing, associate, morph, inquire and sort, order, adapt, refine, select respectively. The rule makes creativity much more achievable and feasible.
Also, the CPS, creative problem solving is a concrete method of creative thinking that has been studied and certified by various research. It is not only useful problem-solving technique but also a pioneering way from where the current methods originate. The method follows a process through which every person run through knowingly or unknowingly anytime they attempt to solve a problem creatively. Once one has a problem he or she defines and clarify it, generates ideas to address it, think of approaches to the likelihood of the impacts and implements, which are the critical s...
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