Types of Unconscious Bias, their Effects and Solutions

Types of Unconscious Bias, their Effects and Solutions

Unconscious Bias: As more firms focus on diversity and inclusion, “unconscious bias” is becoming more common in the workplace. Company executives and decision-makers across industries are stepping up efforts to recognize prejudice in their firms’ hiring, recruiting, and management practices in order to foster a more inclusive workplace atmosphere.

As individuals, being able to recognize unconscious biases in yourself and others can help you make better decisions in both your professional and personal lives. But, it is not always straightforward to understand unconscious bias and its many types. In this article, you will get to know the basics of unconscious bias, including its types, effects, and solutions.

What is Unconscious Bias?

Also known as implicit biases, unconscious biases constantly affect your actions. Informed by your values, backgrounds, and experiences, these biases are crucial in helping your mind efficiently and quickly navigate the world around you. Unfortunately, however, these biases can often be informed by inaccurate and harmful stereotypes. As a result, people can be discriminated against, harming workplace equality, productivity, culture, and opportunity.

When you acquire a rapid opinion on a person or circumstance without being consciously aware of it, this is known as unconscious or implicit bias. Biases are formed in your brain due to our understanding of social situations, cultures, emotional reactions, attitudes, stereotypes, and other factors. You learn these things throughout your lives due to your media exposure and experiences.

When it comes to hiring, unconscious bias can dramatically sway your decision. While it’s crucial to use your experience to evaluate applications, it’s an issue when your assumptions, preferences, and expectations become too powerful.

Even if you interpret a bias positively in your mind, it can nevertheless lead to unfair favoritism. For example, it’s still an unconscious bias if you prefer an applicant who went to the same university as you equate it with intelligence. A more excellent education does not automatically imply that they are brighter than other contenders.

It isn’t easy to overcome your preconceptions when it comes to recruitment. During interviews, gut feelings and first impressions are extremely important. But on the other hand, unconscious bias must be avoided since it can lead to inaccurate, unfair judgments, overlooked talent, or, in the worst-case scenario, discrimination.

The beliefs are buried deep within your minds, and you are often unaware of their existence. Unlike conscious or explicit biases, unconscious biases are not prejudiced on purpose. Scientists have concluded that your minds are programmed to make assumptions and associations to help you digest information more quickly. Still, it doesn’t make them any less destructive to the people affected by them.

How Does Unconscious Bias Affect Your Actions?

Most of you might believe that you are unbiased and ethical. You think you are a good decision-maker, able to size up a venture deal or a job candidate objectively and reach a rational and fair conclusion in your organization’s best interest. However, over twenty years of research shows that most people fall regretfully short of their inflated self-perception.

Biases affect you and your decision-making processes in various ways. It affects your:

  • Perception: how you perceive reality and see people
  • Attitude: the way you react towards some people
  • Behavior: how friendly or receptive you are towards some people
  • Attention: which aspect of a person do you pay most attention to
  • Listening Skills: how much you actively listen to what some people say
  • Micro-affirmations: how little or how much you give comfort to some people in certain situations

Types of Unconscious Bias

Attribution Bias

When you mistakenly assess the reasons for other people’s experiences and accomplishments, you call it attribution bias. This usually means that you assume that people’s triumphs are attributable to luck rather than work or competence, which is thought to be the cause of their negative experiences or failures.

Attribution bias can cause managers to overlook candidates’ successes, affecting recruitment and performance evaluations, allowing exceptional people to pass them by who could have otherwise been a valuable contribution to their teams and the company.

Rather than jumping to assumptions, you should carefully investigate the causes behind people’s histories and successes to ensure you don’t fall victim to attribution bias. This can include analyzing performance indicators, thoroughly analyzing an employee’s role in successful or unsuccessful initiatives, and analyzing a variety of work examples in the workplace.

Unconscious Bias

Affinity Bias

When you treat someone more favorably just because they are similar to you or those you know, this is known as affinity bias or similarity bias. Similarities might encompass anything from likes, dislikes, or looks to schooling or work background.

Affinity bias must be avoided when forming diverse teams. However, when it comes to hiring, it might lead to managers hiring people they like but who aren’t really the best fit in terms of experience or skill set. As a result, it can stifle a company’s growth and function, as well as deny opportunities to otherwise qualified candidates.

Ensure that an applicant’s skills and experience take precedence over factors like history or personality, and use blind recruitment practices to avoid affinity bias.

Confirmation Bias

You have succumbed to confirmation bias when you make decisions or draw conclusions about situations or people based on your own experiences, opinions, or prejudices. Yet, early interactions and experiences with individuals, regardless of their present performance or actions, might impact your enduring, long-term attitudes about them if you submit to it.

In the workplace, minimizing confirmation bias entails giving people a second chance as well as recognizing and disregarding your own prejudices to evaluate people properly. In the context of interviews, this also entails using standardized questions to prevent your biases from showing through as you interrogate potential candidates.

Confirmation bias can be destructive not only to others but can also impair your own decision-making at work. Take this illustration, for example.

A business wants to launch a new service, and the marketing department feels it will be a huge success. Therefore, market research is allocated to a member of the team. During their investigation, they discovered various clues indicating the business may not be as profitable as it was initially believed, but they chose to dismiss the data as an aberration. Instead, they exclusively consider studies that support the team’s existing beliefs.

Confirmation bias clouds your judgment and traps you in a circle of different biases. In this case, all data is not taken into account. Instead, the team looks for evidence indicating the new service will be a significant success.

Conformity Bias

Conformity bias refers to the pressure you feel to act based on the actions of others rather than your own independent reasoning. The bias is linked to your need to please and conform to others around you.

This prejudice is a significant issue in the workplace since it can lead to groupthink when debates become echo chambers for the same or similar points of view or cultures where decisions aren’t thoroughly questioned. Conformity bias can result in senior employees wielding undue influence over recruiting, promotion, and other company procedures, as well as poor decision-making that negatively impacts business performance.

Create and support a workplace culture that allows employees to express their ideas and opinions constructively and sees bosses actively listening to their teams’ concerns to combat conformity bias.

Attractiveness Bias

Also known as beauty bias, attractiveness bias occurs when you perceive attractive people as more competent at their employment while viewing ugly and exceptionally handsome people as less competent.

This bias has its roots in evolutionary psychology, where more attractive people are thought to be more charismatic and persuasive. In contrast, unattractive people are supposed to lack these qualities, and beautiful people are thought to have succeeded in life because of their looks rather than their accomplishments.

To overcome attractiveness bias, make sure that abilities and accomplishments, not beauty standards, are used to determine decisions when hiring, promoting, or managing your workforce.

Gender Bias

Gender bias occurs when you have a preference for one gender over the other. Gender bias impacts women significantly more than it does men. It can lead to both women and men employing more male job prospects and having an impact on the positions men and women are perceived to be best at fulfilling.

You can also read our related article on this topic.

Unconscious Bias

The impacts of gender bias in the workplace are apparent:

  • More males in senior positions.
  • Employing more men than women, and for specific tasks.
  • Resulting in a team that is defined by its lack of diversity rather than its members’ skills and accomplishments.

To overcome gender bias, resumes must be anonymized, in addition to the setting of diversity hiring targets to ensure that your company’s gender mix is nearly equal.

Perception Bias

When you treat others based on preconceptions and broad assumptions that are often wrong, you engage in perception bias. It can include a variety of other biases, such as age, gender, and height, and has similar consequences on organizations, such as rejecting talent and diminishing diversity.

To be ignored, individuals must be conscious of their biases, which can be accomplished by flipping bias when you are about to act on it. This includes shifting the form of bias between the two things you are comparing. For example, the gender of two hires and analyzing how your brains react to the roles being exchanged. If their skills do not match their gender, the probability is relatively high that you are biased.

Contrast Effect

It is a bias that makes you compare one thing to another even though there are many other things in the set to compare.

Consider recruitment, for example. When faced with 30 resumes or interviews to review, you may find yourself comparing one to the next and ignoring the rest. Even if the following applicant was significantly better than others, one great interview could make the next interviewee appear terrible. On the other hand, a truly bad interviewee can make a mediocre hire appear outstanding.

The result in the workplace could be that exceptional candidates are turned down solely because of their position in the interview process, while good, dependable employees may be denied promotions owing to their meeting timing. Therefore, create well-structured review mechanisms that simultaneously assess all hires or workers, not just some, to counteract the contrast effect.

Horns Effect

When you build a whole image of someone based on a single negative feature, it’s called the horns effect. The horns effect, which is the polar opposite of the halo effect, has comparable commercial implications, disqualifying employees who are generally good but have done something potentially small wrong, thereby removing the benefit of the doubt.

A person arriving at an organization for a job interview is one example of this bias. They don’t notice an employee walking behind them when they enter the building, so they don’t hold the door open. But unfortunately, this is the individual who will be conducting the interview. Besides, though the applicant didn’t even see them, their chances to get the job have been skewed because of the tainted judgment of the interviewer of the applicant.

When interviewing potential workers, you must avoid jumping to judgments and use procedures such as standardized interview questions and blind interviewing to prevent the horns effect.


Unconscious bias manifests itself in a variety of ways, making it difficult to determine which to address first and how to do so. However, being conscious of these biases might help you counteract their power over you and make more informed hiring and promotion decisions. Consider an unconscious bias training program for your employees if you want them to learn more about these biases and how and where they can occur in your company. Your team will learn how to recognize and manage different types of prejudice and what rules and procedures to implement to prevent systemic bias in your company.

10 Best Books on Diversity and Inclusion

10 Best Books on Diversity and Inclusion

Books on diversity and inclusion teach workers how to negotiate workplace issues such as color, sexual orientation, religion, physical ability, gender, and age. Dignity, respect, and compassion are emphasized in these guides. The goal of these publications is to establish a work atmosphere that is inclusive and equal.

Many of you have picked up the next book on your reading list as your everyday lives have slowed. You all have been reminded to constantly self-learn and think on inequity resulting from the incidents occurring around the world, elevating the visibility of discrimination and racism. What better time to begin compiling a list of the most outstanding books on diversity and inclusion, which you intend to update regularly?

Here are some bestselling books on diversity and inclusion in the workplace:

Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People

By Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald

It is one of the most popular books on diversity in recent years. Unconscious biases are investigated by psychologists Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald, who look at how events and ideas gradually alter thinking ways. The authors demonstrate how to recognize and fight biases using scientific approaches like the Implicit Association Test.

The book portrays prejudice as a trait of humans rather than a personal weakness, making it more straightforward for readers to face the reality of their discrimination and accept it. According to Blindspot, not just “bad individuals” have hidden biases. Instead, everyone should examine their assumptions, strive to be more accepting and open of others who are different from them, and stop hiding behind good intentions.

The “good people” in the title are those among you who endeavor to connect your actions with your goals. Blindspot’s goal is to describe the science in simple terms so well-intentioned people can attain that alignment. You may adjust your views and conduct and “outsmart the machine” in your heads by being more aware, allowing you to be fairer to people around you. Wandering into this book is an invitation to learn more about you.

Inclusion: Diversity, The New Workplace & The Will To Change

By Jennifer Brown

Change is difficult, but it is vital, according to this book. The global scenario constantly changes, and inclusive workplaces are the new future. The trend toward more diversified businesses will not decrease, or vice-versa, and the most successful companies of the future will recognize this. Change, on the other hand, is never simple.

This book portrays a future where all employees are welcomed, acknowledged, and respected, but only after the workforce has conquered existing challenges and impediments. Inclusion: Diversity, The New Workplace & the Will to Change outlines techniques for workers and executives to understand the importance of improved diversity and inclusion for minority employees and the company’s bottom line.

Books on Diversity and Inclusion

The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth

By Amy Edmondson

This book offers actionable guidance for the teams and businesses looking to prosper in today’s market. With quite a lot depending on a spark, innovation, and creativity, attracting and retaining top personnel is vital. But what is the use of brilliance if no one can convey it? The traditional culture of “going along” and “fitting in” means catastrophe in the economy. A steady flow of new ideas, critical thought, and challenges are required for success, and the interpersonal environment must not strangle, mute, mock, or frighten this flow.

Yes, there are foolish questions, and disagreement can slow down things, but working through these issues is an imperative section of the creative process. It creates a culture in which a momentary lapse or small mistake is no big deal, where honest mistakes are accepted and rectified, and where the left-field idea could be the possible next great thing if people are allowed to voice partial thoughts, ask out-of-the-box questions, and brainstorm outwardly. This book delves into the psychological safety concept and offers a roadmap for implementing it. The road isn’t always smooth, but brief and insightful situation-based explanations show how to keep learning and innovate in a healthy way.

Better Allies: Everyday Actions to Create Inclusively, Engaging Workplaces

By Karen Catlin

If you are looking to develop a workplace culture where employees are flourishing, engagement survey scores are high, and people from different abilities, ages, sexual orientations, ethnicities, backgrounds, and genders are hired and set up for success, then this book is for you.

One of the best books on inclusion in the workplace, Better Allies, describes how to assist and advocate for coworkers of various backgrounds, sexual orientations, genders, colors, abilities, identities, and ages. Karen Catlin offers suggestions on implementing equitable recruiting processes, using inclusive language, and giving disadvantaged groups more significant opportunities. In addition, the book distinguishes between ally-ship and savior-ship, arguing that efforts to defend disadvantaged identities can be insulting and ineffective.

In this book, you’ll learn how to recognize circumstances where you can foster a more inclusive culture, as well as simple strategies to take. Karen Catlin, a leadership coach, will show you how to be a better ally, including hiring and maintaining a diverse team, amplifying and advocating for others, giving adequate and equitable performance evaluation, and using more inclusive language. Read this book to improve your ally-ship skills and establish a culture where everyone can do their best work and thrive, including you.

The Remix: How to Lead and Succeed in the Multigenerational Workplace

By Lindsey Pollak

The term “diversity” encompasses not only gender and color but also age. There are currently four generations in the workforce, each with their own ideas and work habits. Managing life phases and degrees of experience can be difficult. The Remix is a handbook for leading many generations without estranging any of them. The book includes suggestions for bridging communication, cultural, and value barriers and eliciting the highest performance from all age groups.

The Remix teaches you how to adjust and win by using tried-and-true techniques that cater to the demands of all generations. Lindsey Pollak, the foremost authority on generational differences in the workplace, blends the most up-to-date information from a number of reliable sources with her original research and extensive illustrations from Fortune 500 companies. Pollak discusses how entrepreneurs, employees, mid-level managers, CEOs, and organizations can deal with circumstances that develop when different styles collide, as well as specific techniques for turning diversity into an economic advantage. All types of companies, industries, and leaders are affected by generational change. Anyone who wants to survive and flourish in the present and future should listen to The Remix.

The Loudest Duck: Moving Beyond Diversity while Embracing Differences to Achieve Success at Work

By Laura A. Liswood

This is one of the most widely read workplace diversity books available. The book promotes a comprehensive approach to diversity, for example, by encouraging executives to select unique candidates and to identify and value the benefits of their distinctions.

Laura Liswood highlights the scope of workplace diversity and offers concrete suggestions for creating inclusive workplaces. The Loudest Duck provides a collection of practical methods for supervisors and coworkers to appreciate better and accept differing points of view. The author challenges readers to identify minor injustices and question long-held beliefs.

Books on Diversity and Inclusion: The Culture Map

By Erin Meyer

In this insightful and practical book, international business expert Erin Meyer dwells on how to overcome cultural differences. Latin Americans and Asians are steeped in the hierarchy, whereas the Scandinavians believe the best boss is just one of the crowd. Israelis, Dutch, French, and Germans get right to the point. Latin Americans and Asians are steeped in the hierarchy; Scandinavians believe the best boss is just one of the crowd. Americans precede anything negative with three lovely comments. It’s no wonder that mayhem ensues when these groups try to communicate with one another. The Culture Map is an excellent guide across this sensitive, sometimes difficult terrain, where people from vastly diverse origins are expected to work together in harmony.

Erin Meyer blends a clever analytical framework with actionable, practical guidance to create a field-tested strategy for interpreting how cultural variations affect international business.

You can also check our other article for related Books

Books on Diversity and Inclusion

Messengers: Who We Listen To, Who We Don’t, and Why

By Stephen Martin and Joseph Marks

“Messengers…” explains why it’s so challenging to build a more diverse and inclusive society. It teaches you that, while you should follow the advice of experts, you often make decisions on whom to listen to based on your first impressions of the person with whom you are speaking.

The book investigates how your social status can influence your perceptions of others. One example from the book that stands out is how long it takes someone behind you to hoot if a car doesn’t start moving once the traffic light turns green. Surprisingly, the longer the pause, the smarter the car is.

You tend to make more allowances for people you see to have high status. You listen to them more intently and pay more attention to what they have to say. You question them less – this is something you should all be aware of in your daily lives and workplace decisions, and it matters a lot if you have a challenge or scrutiny role.

Diversity in the Workplace: Eye-Opening Interviews to Jumpstart Conversations about Identity, Privilege, and Bias

By Bärí A. Williams

The book “Diversity in the Workplace” collects personal tales of minority workplace experiences. While many diversity publications focus on single identities, “Diversity in the Workplace” acknowledges Intersectionality and the disparities in the experience of being a member of many minority groups. Religion, race, ability, age, and gender are just a few distinguishing factors discussed in the book. At the end of each segment, there is an opportunity for reflection and suggestions for having productive talks about inclusion with coworkers.

The Leader’s Guide to Unconscious Bias: How To Reframe Bias, Cultivate Connection, and Create High-Performing Teams

By Pamela Fuller, Mark Murphy, and Anne Chow

One of the many best diversity books for managers is “The Leader’s Guide to Unconscious Bias.” Since managers have considerable influence over recruiting decisions and workplace cultures, they must be aware of potential prejudices.

The book teaches how to recognize and overcome internal influences by delving into the neuroscience behind prejudice and advocating for a more conscious approach. Reflection spaces and exercises are also included in the book so that readers can put their best skills into practice.

The book is an excellent resource for team leaders. Leaders may strengthen organizational culture, build connections among coworkers, form more dynamically diverse teams, and encourage minority people to flourish by addressing subtle preconceived beliefs.


While campaigners have been pushing for greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace for many decades, initiatives have recently gained traction. Inequality and injustice have been exposed thanks to the rise of social media. Furthermore, the general population is becoming more conscious that even well-intentioned gestures or casual remarks might have unintended consequences.

Companies’ social duty to provide more inclusive settings for all employees develops as awareness grows. While the path to equality may not be straightforward, DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) books can provide much-needed clarity and direction.

Reading literature about diversity, equity, and inclusion broadens your horizons and helps you comprehend diverse points of view. While discussions about diversity frequently elicit emotional responses, such books give you time to analyze and re-read before responding, making them a safer place to start. Reading books about workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion can help you become a better collaborator, coworker, ally, and advocate for minority colleagues.

Belief bias vs Belief perseverance – Sentiments overruling Logic

Belief bias vs Belief perseverance – Sentiments overruling Logic

What is belief bias vs belief perseverance? Wikipedia defined belief bias as the tendency to judge the strength of an argument based on the plausibility of their conclusion rather than how strongly they support the conclusion. It is one of the most common cognitive biases. This means that we are more likely to accept the outcome of something if it matches our core values. It is an extremely common error. Believe bias also emphasizes that when a person makes an argument, we agree once the conclusion matches our beliefs. You are presuming on the validity of someone’s argument when belief bias comes into play. The belief is based on the believability of the person’s conclusion.

On the other hand, belief perseverance can be defined as the tendency to stick to one’s belief in the face of evidence that contradicts them. This comes when people show unwavering faith in certain beliefs and refuse to change when proved wrong. Believe perseverance is said to be a state wherein a person refuses to change his belief after being proven wrong. It also refers to belief persistence. It is the inability of people to accept new ways that contradict their beliefs. Simply put as holding on to a belief when they are not supposed to do so.

Relationship between belief bias and belief perseverance

One might think it is not bad to maintain core values and principles. It is not bad at all; in fact, it is good to stick to one’s values and principles. Our core values are what describe us. They blend in with our character and present us to people. Core values distinct you out of the many. That is where the issue of belief bias comes in. Human beings generally support a conclusion that relates to their belief. That’s human. In belief bias, we just ignore the premise and consider the conclusion.

People tend to support conclusions not based on validity but on how it conforms to their beliefs and practices. Belief bias makes people put their values first above any other thing. In the reasoning, judgment, and decision-making process, belief bias favors values and neglects validity. Their judgment is sentimentally clouded by their values and principles.  Such people can stick to those values even after being proven wrong. The relationship between belief bias and belief perseverance is glaring.

A person can combine the two. Once he accepts a conclusion based on conformity to his values, it will be very hard to change even if proven wrong. The defense of his values will not allow him to easily give them up. It can also happen in the way a manager runs his company. A leader can stick to maintaining values while making decisions. When considering ideas to implement, a leader can cancel an idea once it doesn’t conform to the values of the group.

People are likely to endorse an argument if the conclusion doesn’t alter their beliefs and values.

A company might fail to perform or sign some deals with other companies that don’t conform to their values.

Errors in belief perseverance

Here are some Errors in belief perseverance:

Conservatism bias

This belief perseverance error occurs when people fail to integrate new knowledge and end up retaining their old beliefs. This often happens when people are not open to change. New information can alter their conclusion and judgments.

Confirmation bias

This error is belief perseverance, in which people look for information that confirms their beliefs. They tend to overlook that information that contradicts their beliefs. A common example is only considering the positive sides of investment and ignoring the negative part.

Illusion of Control

The illusion of control is an error of belief perseverance in which people think they can influence the outcome when they cannot. This thought can be persuasive enough to make decisions. The illusion of control influences our judgments and decision by giving us certain reliability on what we know.

Representativeness bias

In this error, people use past experience or information to classify new information. This is shown when using historical trends to determine conclusions. It is judging the past information as the standard for new information.

Hindsight bias

Hindsight bias is seeing actions as predictable occurrences without a shred of substantial evidence backing it. In this error, people see past events as unfailing and inevitable.

belief bias vs belief perseverance

Factors that can influence belief bias

Time: Research has shown that the amount of time available for thinking can influence the conclusion. If the time available is small, there is a higher probability of belief biased conclusions. And if the time available is much, there is time for logical reasoning. There is an imbalance in logical thinking and belief bias thinking with time differences.

Nature of argument: The nature of argument has a lot to say when deciding the conclusion. A negative argument will attract an emotional conclusion from the people. For instance, when dealing with issues pertaining to children and women, emotional support is attached. A neutral argument will be treated logically.

Available resources and instructions: In an experiment carried out in 1994. People were given detailed information about the subject which requires them to make logical conclusions. A higher percentage of the people reject invalid arguments with convincing conclusions. The same set of people was given arguments with little information about the argument. The result was belief-biased. It shows that the effects of belief bias can be reduced when elaborate information and resources are available.

Factors that can influence belief perseverance

Belief perseverance can be influenced by some factors, they include:

Readiness to change: The willingness to change can bring about belief perseverance. When people are not ready to change, they will stick to their beliefs. The change will require people to adopt new information. New information will bring about a shift in belief. No matter how much you try to change a person, the efforts will be futile if the readiness is not there.

Religious or ethnic stronghold: Religion and ethnic morality blindfold people from seeing the light even when their beliefs have been proven wrong. It is very hard to change a religious fanatic. They tend to accept assumptions based on their religious or ethnic standards. When all odds are against their beliefs, they still hold onto it. Religious and ethnic fanatics are always partial with judgment and conclusion. They analyze every argument from their religious or ethnic standards.

Fear of being left out: The fear of being left out can influence belief perseverance. It commonly happens among peers or groups. Once a member of a group sees the light, the fear of being tagged a betrayal keeps them a prisoner of their belief.

Types of belief perseverance

There are three types of belief perseverance:

  1. Self-impression: This is the belief about one’s self. Such beliefs include everything from the body looks, shape, and figure to skills, intelligence, and abilities. It is a way a person sees themselves.
  2. Social impression: It is the belief about other people. We have different impressions about some specific people. These people include family members, friends, or someone we know through social media.
  3. Social theory: Social theory is the belief about how the world works. It includes beliefs about the way some groups of people think, interact and behave. The social theory also encompasses ethnic disparity, stereotypes, racial differences, gender roles, etc.

How to counter belief bias and belief perseverance

So far, we have decisions to make; we may be guilty of them anytime. If not eradicated, they can be reduced. What are the ways to counter them?

One of the ways to do that is flexibility in argument, judgment, and decision-making. The rigidity can cause belief bias and belief perseverance. Flexibility is characterized by the readiness to change and adapt to new or different requirements. Another thing is to be open to change. Be willing to learn new things and comprehend new ideas.

In addition, don’t be stuck in the past. Try as much as possible not to be influenced by past experience. Ask for people’s opinions if you feel you are biased in your belief or belief persevere.  Ask a trusted friend for a different point of view other than what you already know.

Finally, belief bias and belief perseverance can help you attain confidence about what you know or what your value stands for. In some cases, it can block you from making the right decisions. Try and question things, gather information about something before making a judgment or drawing a conclusion.

What is Groupthink? Definition, causes, and examples

What is Groupthink? Definition, causes, and examples

Groupthink is a sociological and psychological phenomenon in which members of a group will conform to the majority opinion for the sake of harmony. “Groupthink” means that the majority always controls the outcome. It happens when a group of people comes together to think collectively with one mind. The group is more concerned with unity when reaching a consensus.

Groupthink tends to conform members into agreeing to a decision rather than objecting and risking the group’s harmony. Members of the group remain silent and lend their support in most cases. It values cohesiveness and harmony over the right decision. Groupthink doesn’t care about whether a decision is correct or not as it focuses on what decision maintains peace and orderliness within the group.

Groupthink examples are not far-fetched. Have you ever thought of correcting a friend, but you don’t want to appear unsupportive? You might have been a victim of groupthink. Groupthink erases effective thinking. In a group that prioritizes harmony over the right decision, members with a different opinion will remain silent. It doesn’t matter what decision has been made; members of the group must conform.

The desire for harmony drives the intention of the group. Problem-solving and decision-making have been made to maintain peace. In this kind of situation, the majority opinion takes the stand. Irrespective of how valid the decision is, the minority opinion is swept under the carpet. The desire to maintain peace and cohesiveness prompts the group members to agree to the decision made at all costs. Groupthink omits critical evaluation of matters when deciding.

Sentiments come into play in a group where groupthink is prominent. The majority group tends to lure support out of what benefits them and not the right thing. People who are opposed to the most popular opinion generally remain silent. They prefer to keep the group peaceful rather than disrupting the uniformity.

Group dynamism plays a vital role in some decisions we make in our lives, especially in a workplace or group we belong. For instance, you are in your workplace, but you do not want to oppose a senior colleague’s opinion. Or you don’t have the courage yet to start opposing the majority. This affects the decisions we make and the consequences that follow. Although, a senior colleague might not want to consider your opinion due to pride, ego, or personal benefits.

Groupthink tends to ignore individual voices and appreciate popular opinions. Unpopular opinions don’t stand a chance in groupthink even though it brings a different view to a problem.

Causes of groupthink

A powerful and convincing leader: Groupthink in most cases occur when a group has a powerful and convincing leader. If a group has a leader that they fear and wins the majority to himself, groupthink is inevitable. A feared leader imposes on his followers. In most cases, followers wouldn’t want to offend the leader by opposing his opinion.

Leaders have a lot to decide when making decisions. A leader might want to consider other people’s opinions or stick to his own opinions. A leader can, because of his sentiment and ego, throw away a good idea. He can similarly consider a person’s idea based on likeness and not validity.

A high level of group cohesion: A high level of group cohesion brings about groupthink. Every member of the group prioritizes peace and harmony. Even if you have a conflicting opinion, you will have to keep it to maintain peace. Have you ever tried to challenge a popularly accepted opinion, but you couldn’t because every other person feels happy and satisfied with it?

Intense pressure to make decisions: This can also trigger groupthink. When there is intense pressure on the outside to make quick decisions, group members tend to stick to a popular opinion. It can also happen when there is little or no time for consideration. Once a person drops an opinion and the majority sides with it, it becomes the group’s decision.

Imbalance in the level of knowledge: An imbalance in the level of knowledge of the group members will strike groupthink. A section of the group might be more educated than the others; their take on issues is more serious. A person lower in education or knowledge might have a better view of things, but they will not be considered because they believe they know more.


Indications of Groupthink

Here we are talking about Indications of Groupthink:

Peer Pressure:

This happens mostly among friends. The rest of the peers try to convince a friend with a conflicting opinion into compliance. This might come with threats of you being left out of the group. Peer pressure forces opinion on people. It makes us do things because others are doing it. Research shows that peer pressure played a key role in youth influence. Youths have a high tendency of being influenced by their friends. The kind of company a person keeps affects what he does.


This occurs when the sources of the opinion have been successful in the past. The sources boast of an excellent track record. Members of the group tend to comply because of past successes. If a counter opinion comes from other sources, the members then compare using their track records.


Rationalization means to bring into agreement something that seems reasonable. Team members convince themselves that despite a piece of contrary evidence, they are sticking with an opinion. The majority feel others have not sizably researched about a problem like them.

Moral standard:

Each member of the group sees themselves as morally upright. The standard for their decision-making is a moral standard. No member of the group would want to be perceived as immoral, so they agree to opinions. Decisions made under this standard are seen to be the perfect and correct decisions.


The more a group becomes uniform in their views, they see outsiders as people with a bad or inferior opinion. They look for negative characteristics in others and use them to discredit them. They don’t want to share their opinion or have anything to do with them.

Groupthink Examples

There are several examples of groupthink in the world today. For instance, a group of people or a racial background will want to impose on another group. The group might come to hate or distrust the other group just because they don’t understand them. They create a significant margin between their group and the other group to maintain moral superiority. This still happens in some parts of Africa. Some ethnic groups are not allowed to marry from other groups or a specific ethnic group. Probably because their moral standard doesn’t meet or they know the other group for one perceived negativity.

Another example of groupthink can be seen in politics. Members of one political party support the party even if the ideals are wrong. They do so just to remain in power or gain ground. Such people see only see the good things that are done by their parties and neglect the bad things.

Moreover, groupthink is not an abstract concept or an isolated philosophy. There are real-world examples that we can see. These examples show how destructive it can be to follow groupthink without questioning it. Let’s take a look at the examples:

The bombing of Pearl Harbour:

Many superiors at Pearl Harbour didn’t heed warnings. They believed the Japanese would not risk having a war with the Americans. Japanese messages were intercepted on several occasions about a potential attack. The superiors at Pearl Harbour ignored the strong warnings.

The Bay of Pigs invasion:

The United States, under the Kennedy administration, accepted plans to attack the Cubans in 1961. Rather than querying the Central Intelligence Agency information, he accepted stereotypes against the Cubans. The attack was unsuccessful.

The mass resignation of the Major League Umpires Association: The members of this association resigned to get better leverage while negotiating. They overrated the unity of the members and their position in the Major League Baseball in 1999. It led to their unsuccessful effort.

The collapse of Swiss Air: Swiss Air was a financially stable airline. It was nicknamed the flying bank in those days. The airline eventually went bankrupt when they felt they were immune and invulnerable. That led to poor administration and management.


How to avoid groupthink?

The bigger challenge rests on the leaders as they determine how decisions are made. In situations where the stakes are high, they must make sure they are making the right decisions. It is important to understand the risk of groupthink. There must be necessary steps in place for checking the validity of every assumption. This will help to evaluate the risks and assist when making decisions. To do that, you must:

  • Examine ideas and expectations
  •  Analyze alternatives
  • Evaluate risks
  • Sample beliefs
  •  Compile appropriate information from external sources
  • Have a contingency plan
  • Motivate objectives to be questioned without bitterness

Groupthink can be defeated by brainstorming. Brainstorming allows the group members to voice their opinions. When they do, you should give reasonable thought to their opinions. You could seek external validation if necessary. For more information, join us at The Black Sheep Community today.

Don’t follow the crowd – Why it’s true?

Don’t follow the crowd – Why it’s true?

Don’t follow the crowd stay true to yourself. The quality of a person and their actions make them distinctive from one another. However, people are fond of comparing themselves to one another. It’s pretty easy to choose a path led by most people than the path less traveled.

Robert Frost quotes,

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and  

 I took the one less traveled by,

 And that has made all the difference.”

1. Fear-based attitude

Don't follow the crowd

It’s pretty easy to choose a path that has been tested or traveled to a great extent. However, standing out from a crowd can be scary, but such a stance can help us show our capabilities. Life should not be blindly acquired; it takes preservation and time to figure out ourselves. If we follow the crowd, we will end up where most people end up called mediocrity.

Many people have reached the top because people are involved in fighting and competing with one another and not accomplishing their goals. So don’t follow the crowd.

As Alan Ashley-Pitt says,

“The man who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself no one has ever been”.

2. The crowd’s mentality can influence us, so we shouldn’t follow the group

Don’t follow the crowd: It’s important to know what we want and strive hard for it. If we are congested with people, it makes us settle for what we believe is good enough. The thought of standing out from the crowd and doing something unlikely no longer intervenes because we have decided with what most have that is ordinary, thus don’t follow the crowd.

3. We follow the crowd as if it suppresses our abilities

Our abilities and thoughts are entrapped inside the ordinary bubble that restricts us not to do something spontaneous. It represses our power and capabilities of doing wonders because we no longer have that stimulation and the urge to work towards something. People usually do something that has already been done because they are too afraid of changes or their attitude is fear-based. But the thing is, people who fear failure won’t be able to be a leader or a conquer because taking chances and falling once or twice gives us the motivation to get back on our toes. And being in the crowd won’t help us strive for what we want, so it’s better not to follow the crowd.

4. Peer pressure can enforce wrong decisions

Under peer pressure, many people can blend in with the larger crowd without thinking and questioning their actions. The result might be many people following the first few ones who got into the movement. Being unaware of what’s going around can destroy our image and outcomes because of the lack of thinking and performance. The peer pressure that can restrain one from making risky decisions because of competition and jealousy may arise.

5. Misinterpretation of the majority is correct

It’s human nature to think that the majority is correct, and it seems easy to follow something that has the attention of the majority. Because people are fond of judging quantity over quality, this can be misleading because not always the majority is correct; we should use our sense to determine the difference between right and wrong and not follow and get into something blindly, so don’t follow the crowd.

6. Most people are unhappy

It’s morality to not be happy with what we have and always find new things that we don’t have already to help make us happy. The dissatisfaction with life can indulge us in following or choosing a path where the majority belongs. When a person follows the crowd, they believe they can earn the same happiness as the general public, which could bring some satisfaction to their lives. How that is not true, everyone has different interests and goals; thus, leading to the path where the majority is happy doesn’t mean you will find happiness. We approach with struggles and sacrifices on the way, but the end would be enlightening.

7. Groups can be irrational

Being a part of the crowd means that a person will have to do similar tasks; thus, a job that might seem irrational will be done in masses since the whole group is doing it. It can be pointless, so there’s no need to follow the crowd because such tasks won’t be beneficial.

8. Most people aren’t successful

Don't follow the crowd

Don’t follow the crowd: When a person does something unique and original, it automatically gains support because opting for a new path not traveled by many and succeeding in it is a huge accomplishment. Whereas doing something perfected by many people before won’t guarantee success and can be considered ordinary and former. Opting for a new taste and being different from your peers can interest the media and gain much success throughout, so we should follow our path and not follow the crowd.

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