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Coworker Decision

Essay by   •  February 13, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,600 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,338 Views

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Co-worker Dilemma Introduction

Each day that we enjoy is fraught with decisions. Some we make on our own, while others are made because our situation requires us to be involved. Our presence of mind can be the style we use that sets the dynamics for our decision. In other words, how we feel, what conditions (past & present) exist, how our values are affected. Lovaglia’s law: The more important the outcome of a decision, the more people will resist using evidence to make it ( It is often our “whims” that guide us and others into offensive or reduced decision making tactics.

Issues present

The choices that decide the type of heuristic that your co-worker uses to reject a viable potential employee might have different outcomes. The information provided on the prospective employee tells us that she is Hispanic, has a Masters in marketing, superb references, and good prior experience. Two items become apparent when reading the employees background. One, the individual is a female and she is Hispanic. Two, She worked for the competition for an extensive period.

We have a few options when making our decision as to what our co-worker is implying when he proclaims that the prospective employee is “not a good fit”. Questions that become evident are: Could the employees’ past work experience be of concern? Is there racial bias or profiling being practiced by your fellow employee? Another possibility to be address is the chance that your co-worker knows the prospective employee either professionally or personally. We should also note that both decision makers are in equal management positions.


Before the particular style of heuristic is discovered it might be an opportune time to explain the three methods (decision heuristics) that are commonly used. Availability is explained as a process in which decisions are made quickly by recollecting ones’ most current experiences, “We make a judgment based on what we can remember, rather than complete data. In particular, we use this for judging frequency or likelihood of events”, (, 2008).

Anchoring & Adjusting is a decision process where a person chooses an established and proper value or standard, (perceived or learned); then makes a judgment, (or adjustment) based on those personal principles, “We tend to base estimates and decisions on known вЂ?anchors’ or familiar positions, with an adjustment relative to this start pointвЂ¦Ð²Ð‚Ñœ(, 2008).

Representativeness is loosely defined as a presumption that if one category provides a best fit then all other classifications of that category will be similar. If something does not fit our category we will approximate its’ fit into another category, “People tend to judge the probability of an event by finding a вЂ?comparable known’ event and assuming that the probabilities will be similar”, (, 2008).

The type of heuristic

The heuristic that best describes the co-workers type would be Representativeness.

Why would this be the dominate trait for this situation? Representativeness was described as the heuristic type that is similar to stereotyping. Stereotyping as defined by the Oxford dictionary “the act of judging people according to our assumptions about the group to which they belong. It is based on the belief that people from a specific group share similar traits and behave in a similar manner. Rather than looking at a person's individual qualities, stereotyping leads us to jump to conclusions about what someone is like” (Heery, E. & Noon, M., Oxford University Press, 2001).

Representativeness suggests that the process of considering one category over another has as its’ foundation the assumption that we are able to interpret the probability of one category juxtaposing with another category. The thought is that this heuristic style allows us the freedom to associate one group as being the representative of all other groups. This makes sense for our co-worker, as they may be stereotyping and/or representing this eligible employee, as belonging to a distinctive class or classification. This design provides credibility for our co-worker to rationalize the prospective employee as being, “not a good fit”.

One condition that raises an issue for our scenario is the phenomenon known as the “conjunction fallacy” (Plous, 1993 p.110). This claim is that “the co-occurrence of two events cannot be more likely than the probability of either event alone” (Plous, 1993 p.110). So our co-workers’ belief that all Hispanic women that worked for our competitor are not a best fit can be construed as being ill-advised. Or can it be? Let us look at this scenario and presume that our co-worker is also a Hispanic female. What would then be their reasoning for stating that the candidate is “not a good fit”? As it works out our scenario specifically states that the co-worker is a male. Tversky and Kahneman concluded, “As the amount of detail in a scenario increases, its probability can only decrease steadily, but its representativeness and hence its apparent likelihood may increase” (Plous, 1993 p.111).

Legal or ethical issues

As far as issues that could occur because of the co-workers opinions. If these opinions are not expressed to others and are not voiced publically, then there may be no legal ramifications. On the same point if there are no obvious racial connotations or inequality interviews being practiced and these are just one person’s opinions that have no bearing on employment then legally the managers are within their boundaries. Ethically, a good human resource person would be all over this. Having any sort of preconceived notions should be limited to oneself and this co-worker needs to be more discrete when handling employee rejections. That being said there are two managers making this decision and both need to be smart when it comes to hiring the best candidate. The co-managers’ proclamation that he “does not think this candidate is a good fit” is an obfuscating statement when conducting professional interviews.

What to say

We need to discuss and get out into the open any issues that exist. This might be done over a



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