Unconscious Bias

There are two categories of bias in studies today : Conscious or Explicit bias and Unconscious or Implicit bias. Unconscious bias is usually thought of as social stereotypes that typically focus on others that are not from the same conscious area. Here are some quick facts about unconscious bias :
  • Unconscious bias is more common than conscious or explicit bias.
  • Unconscious bias may not concur with the conscious bias of an individual.
  • Unconscious bias may be triggered by an event or situation.
Unconscious biases are deeply rooted in the human brain. The brain is constantly collecting and categorizing data. One of the connections that is automatically made is between good and bad, right and wrong, better or worse even guilty or innocent. Think about ancient times, when humans had to judge between a good situation and a bad situation in a moment’s notice. As time has evolved, this same type of survival instinct has been engrained in our decision making.

Today, these assumptions, or biases are often the result of social conditioning and life experiences. Researchers believe they often started with early childhood exposures to biases and prejudices. These judgements or biases affect many aspects of our personal and work lives, so much so that they can hinder decision making. In the business world, unconscious biases can affect an organization from the top executive to the most recently hired employee.
Educating the employees of the company must start at the top of the organizational chain. The entire work culture starts at the top. The executives and management are the leaders of the company and represent the moral standards to which the employees must hold themselves. Once the management is trained and knowledgeable about challenges presented by the existence of unconscious biases, then they can then assist in the training of the employees that they manage. After the leaders of the company are trained, they can then identify possible biases in the workplace, and assist with changing the negative culture.

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