The Vulnerability of the Process to the Traps and Biases of Decision Making

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The Vulnerability of the Process to the Traps and Biases of Decision Making

The idea of implementing a remote working system is not new in the context of the coronavirus crisis. However, many companies and their leaders know that decision-making can be a challenging task under the best conditions, which makes virus-based uncertainty serious trouble at a global level (Alexander, De Smet, & Weiss, 2020). Therefore, much attention is paid to organizational agility and the necessity to analyze and re-organize missions, visions, and methods of work (Denning, 2020). At this moment, SBA undergoes considerable changes, and the possibility for the administrative staff to work remotely is characterized by the following traps and biases:

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Outcome bias

SBA does not have a clear plan on how to benefit from the remote working system, but it is expected to achieve positive results because of following general recommendations and standards. Organizational stress could increase the number of negative outcomes for either leaders or employees (Gregory, 2020). Instead of analyzing the decision-making process, the company tries to focus on the outcomes only.

Overconfidence trap

The decision to work remotely is inherent to many organizations worldwide. Despite high-level expectations and the presence of free time, a number of difficulties are revealed when administrative employees should face technology applications and associated problems by themselves (Semuels, 2020). SBA leaders are not good at forecasting, and their overconfidence can become a real trap for the whole company due to the impossibility to estimate all the risks.

Framing trap

SBA aims at developing media performances, following the principles of freedom and creativity. Decision-making depends on how a fact or a situation is presented to a team, and today, many events, shows, and programs have to be shut down because of isolation recommendations (Zeitchik, 2020). The staff learns benefits and losses from multiple perspectives associated with coronavirus, without understanding what actually influences their work.

Loss aversion trap

People have to stay at home and work without face-to-face communication and collaboration. They feel lonely, and some scientists admit that this feeling shortens life by 15 years (Semuels, 2020). SBA employees start feeling worse because of such working conditions, without an opportunity to observe gains they actually have (like traffic jam avoidance or prolonged sleep).

Distinction bias

Some SBA may compare the benefits and shortages of working distantly simultaneously. During a crisis, leaders must say the right things and make people hear what has to be heard, and remove uncertainties (Alexander et al., 2020). The company overvalues inconsequential differences and deprives itself of an opportunity to understand potential profits and evaluate every point separately in terms of its specific value.

Information bias

As soon as a disaster or danger occurs, people want to find as much information as possible about the event. Today, it is possible to learn new information every single day, and the governments shape it in regard to local achievements, expectations, and possibilities (Chaxel, 2020). Perceived influences might have a negative or disturbing impact on the company, and employees find themselves at a loss because of statistics, tactics, and challenges.

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Egocentrism bias

SBA is an independent organization with a number of values and principles that have been working during the last several years. As a result, its leaders and managers believe that their own point of view, experiences, and observations play a crucial role, neglecting the importance of other perspectives and the world’s expectations. One should remember that if the disease is new, the fear is not, and many people continue ignoring potential threats (Ropeik, 2020). At this moment, SBA fails to observe the situation from multiple perspectives, focusing on its needs only.

Disaster neglect trap

Coronavirus remains a poorly investigated area, and its consequences are hard to predict. Some governments go astray because of unfamiliar circumstances and the necessity to make fast and important decisions (Chater, 2020). The decision made by SBA to work distantly is also quick, and the staff was hardly able to propose the worst-case scenario. Employees and leaders hope that everything could be improved soon, and it is just a temporary measure, neglecting the possibility of a disaster and a plan of how to survive.

Confirming evidence bias

To support the decision, SBA tries to find the facts that support the decision to work distantly. People believe it is enough to follow general recommendations like washing hands, wearing masks, avoiding direct contact, and canceling travels (Gonçalves-Sá, 2020; Sustein, 2020). Employees do not find it necessary to investigate contradictory statistics or information and check the credibility of the already found data.

Suggestions to Guard Against the Identified Traps

Although employees use their best practices and knowledge to make successful decisions, some traps and biases cannot be avoided. Therefore, it is necessary to understand how to deal with decision-making challenges and provide the company with a chance to improve the situation. The following recommendations can be followed to predict negative outcomes:

Outcome bias

To avoid focusing on outcomes only, SBA should investigate the peculiarities of the change, gather opinions of people about the current state of affairs, and evaluate real actions in real-time. Still, the importance of the outcomes cannot be ignored at all, and the team needs to combine their current investigations with expected outcomes.

Overconfidence bias

Not to be trapped by overconfidence bias, SBA must challenge its low and high extremes, identify available resources (either technical or human), and develop several plans, depending on multiple outside impacts. In this case, attention to the examples of other companies is appreciated because it is possible to understand what benefits and challenges are expected.

Framing trap

A decision-making process should be based on thorough evaluations, assessments, and collaborative discussions (that usually last not one hour or even not one day). There are many problems and solutions, and the acceptance of the first frame is not always a good fast decision, so SBA leaders must listen to their employees, ask questions, and consider a variety of events.

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Loss aversion trap

It is necessary to underline the benefits of working remotely and minimize the number of negative effects of losing something. For example, SBA managers may think about the possibility of staying at home and spending more time with family members, which substitutes the loss of communication with colleagues with strengthening family ties.

Distinction bias

The roots of the coronavirus crisis lie in the quality of healthcare services and the necessity to take care of personal health. It is useless to compare business losses/benefits with health losses/benefits simultaneously. SBA leaders help their employees identify the advantages of saving their lives while working distantly compared to professional growth that puts human health under threat.

Information bias

The investigation of the coronavirus’s consequences is another task for the SBA team. Instead of searching for additional information, the staff should focus on a particular side of the crisis and its effects on the decision-making process (e.g., the creation of brief reports, tables, and graphs).

Egocentrism bias

The crisis is a perfect time for strengthening cooperation and collaboration in organizations. SBA employees will listen to each other, ask questions, and evaluate answers to obtain another perspective. In addition, the analysis of other companies may help recognize existing challenges and achievements to make a smart choice.

Disaster neglect trap

The application of a pre-mortem strategy is one of the frequent steps made by modern companies. Employees imagine that their company is about to fail or face a challenge and think about the tactics that can be helpful. The principles of creative thinking and professionalism are combined, which is inherent to the SBA team.

Confirming evidence trap

Due to an excessive amount of information about the coronavirus crisis, the company collects different opinions, including those that support the remote working strategy and oppose the same idea. All evidence has to be examined equally, so the employees understand what they obtain, lose, and develop during the implementation of the offered change.

The Challenges of Implementation and Ways to Deal with Them

The implementation of the remote working system is a decision made by the SBA leaders under the conditions of the coronavirus crisis. Although it is impossible to support the work of the technical staff distantly, it seems reasonable to apply this system to the administrative staff. The expected challenges include access to various facts, either credible or unreliable, the necessity to change working conditions, and the importance of staying isolated. Today, misinformation propaganda is common online, and it is an individual responsibility not to panic and evaluate everything thoughtfully (Gonçalves-Sá, 2020). Instead of accepting the first well-structured recommendations, SBA should spend more time on the analysis and the development of various predictions and outcomes in regard to available resources.

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Alexander, A., De Smet, A., & Weiss, L. (2020). Decision-making in uncertain times. Web.

Chater, N. (2020). Coronavirus: Are psychological biases causing politicians to make bad choices? The Conversation. Web.

Chaxel, A. S. (2020). How do governments and individuals make decisions in a time of crisis? The case of the coronavirus. Web.

Denning, S. (2020). Why organizational agility is key to defeating the coronavirus. Forbes. Web.

Gonçalves-Sá, J. (2020). In the fight against the new coronavirus outbreak, we must also struggle with human bias. Nature Medicine, 26(305). Web.

Gregory, S. (2020). Don’t become an absentee leader while working remotely. Web.

Ropeik, D. (2020). The cognitive biases that make coronavirus seem scarier than it is. Anchorage Daily News. Web.

Semuels, A. (2020). The coronavirus is making us see that it’s hard to make remote work actually work. Time. Web.

Sustein, C. R. (2020). The cognitive bias that make us panic about coronavirus. Chicago Business. Web.

Zeitchik, S. (2020). For the sports-enterteinment business, coronavirus is taking a huge toll. The Washington Post. Web.

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