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What are the chief sources of bias in the selection of employees? To what extent can these biases be minimised?

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BUSINESS STUDIES SUMMER ESSAY Organisation Studies Jane Stiller Matric #: 0237293 Malcolm Hamilton Wednesday 11am What are the chief sources of bias in the selection of employees? To what extent can these biases be minimised? There are a number of issues when tackling the problem of bias in the selection of employees in the modern market environment. To bias against someone is to exert a preference or an inclination that inhibits impartial judgement. This often stems from a prejudice. Perceptual selectivity operates when we are perceiving other people. It can lead to a stereotyping in decision making and ultimately a biased view point of potential employees. However, people are less likely to use stereotypes when they are motivated to avoid using them. This essay will discuss the source of stereotypes and bias in the selection of employees and consider additional methods for reducing their biasing effects. The judgement heuristics and biases model represents the current thinking in decision making. Decision making involves choice, and choice requires both careful thought and much information. Excessive information might overload and delay a final decision. Indeed, some managers believe that making the right decision but taking a long time is as bad as making the wrong decision. ...read more.


Indeed, men are consistently judged to be better leaders than women. There is evidence to suggest bias against attractive female applicants also. In a study by Heilman and Saruwatari they argued that when we assess attractive people, we make the perceptual error of assuming that they conform to their gender stereotype.6 For this reason attractive females lose out as they are though to be more feminine and consequently not suitable for managerial positions. To avoid this type of bias this research implicates that good looking women should appear plain and masculine to avoid stereotyping. However, to offer this as a means of minimising bias against women seems ridiculous. As the traditional image of the weaker woman is still entrenched among many employers it is important to discuss how it is possible to minimise this bias. We give more favourable judgements to people who have characteristics in common with us. These are the characteristics that we look for and recognise without difficulty in others. Therefore, it may be possible to reduce prejudice against women by having more female interviewers considering recruitment in a company. However, this may create problems of jealousy between the employer and the employee which could lead to greater bias against female candidates. ...read more.


It is crucial for employers to take their time before judging prospective employees and learning to not see what they expect or want to see. By doing this employers could reduce the bias against ethnic minority selection in the work place. In conclusion the key managerial challenge is to make decisions that are impartial to race, age or gender. This is an extremely difficult process. However, companies can begin by educating themselves about the problems of stereotyping through employee training. Social scientists believe that interpersonal contact among mixed groups is the best way to reduce stereotypes because it provides people with more information about the characteristics of the other groups of people. Courses in social skills, self awareness and personal growth are widely available. They emphasise openness in personal relationships and the giving of non-evaluative feedback on how people on such courses perceive each other. Similarly, it is possible for organisations to create opportunities for diverse employees to meet and work together in groups of equal status. By bringing together groups that are prejudiced against in an atmosphere which does not allow one's own characteristics to affect the way we perceive others the bias of selection of employees could be minimised. Another method to minimise bias is to decrease the differences in job experience across groups of people. If this was added to evaluation of performance managers may be able to achieve their aim of decision making free of bias. ...read more.

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