The purpose of this essay is to reflect on my own decision-making style, my strengths and weaknesses, the causes and consequences of the decisions. I will be using secondary data like the readings, theories, concepts and applications discussed in class for the analysis. The scope of the essay covers three past critical incidents in my various workplaces with a conclusion to wrap up the main learning points.
Critical Incident 1
The first critical incident would be my internship for my student internship program in polytechnic. I was working as a Customer Service Executive in an office space rental agency. One day, a client sent an email regarding renting the building’s rooftop space for an event and so, he was enquiring about the rates. At the start of my internship, my supervisor verbally told me about the rental rates and I would convey those rates to clients who have enquired about it.
Using my intuition (system 1), I was about to reply to the email when my thought process got interrupted and the reasoning approach (system 2) got engaged. Hence, I went over to my supervisor to inform him about the email received. He told me to reply to the client about the rate and that was when I realised that my intuition was wrong. Since the nature of this event and client was different from the nature of the other events and clients, whom have previously enquired about the rooftop space, the rate was actually different. My supervisor then showed me the pricing schemes which was on a hardcopy list, that I was unaware of, and explained the differences in the prices. Thereafter, I replied to the email stating the correct rate suited to the client and his event.
This incident showed that I utilised intuition-as-expertise and so, the element of pattern recognition comes in since I had prior experiences with many other clients enquiring about the rooftop space rental. However, I learnt that I should verify and confirm the information before quoting data to clients. This is in order to effectively minimise the allowance for errors. The usage of intuition and reasoning is known as quasi-rationality and it is the most common way to make a judgement.
Critical Incident 2
The second critical incident would be my internship for SMU credits and graduation requirement. I worked as a HR Intern for a media and entertainment company. The organisation was expanding and every few days, a job ad would be posted, thus there were a lot of recruitment to work on in that period. I was assigned to shortlist candidates for the various roles advertised on job portals over the course of three months that I interned in the company.
When shortlisting, I would go through the applicants’ qualifications and skills that matched the job requirements but there were only a handful resumes that I could select to pass on to the hiring manager. Therefore, I had to decide on the differentiating factor. At that point of time, if the applicant graduated from a reputable and recognised university or had experience in a well-known organisation, I would put them as the top priority to be shortlisted. For example, if I see NUS, NTU and SMU on the applicant’s resume or organisations such as The Walt Disney Company or Twenty-First Century Fox, I would prioritise it.
From this incident, I realised that I was committing the cognitive bias of halo effect. This occurs when the recruiter forgoes proper investigation of a candidate’s background, choosing instead to focus too heavily on one positive aspect of a candidate, like where they went to school, or what sports they do, and rely on that one thing when making decisions. We zero in and let that golden halo guide us and our opinion of the candidate. Forsaking all other information about them, we are blindsided by this one thing about them, the thing we believe makes them so great.
Thus, I feel that I could have dug deeper by looking through other aspects of the resume such as their activities and achievements at their current and previous workplaces. Since I intend to continue into the HR field once I graduate and also foresee myself working in the recruitment function, learning about my hiring biases has benefitted me as I am now be able to avoid this incident from occurring again.
Critical Incident 3
The third critical incident would be my most recent internship as a part-time HR intern. The Head of HR had some projects for me to work on where I had to conduct internet research so as to be able to come up with a few good HR practices to implement into the organisation.
I went onto google and searched for the related HR content. I would click on few links that popped up and copy-paste the relevant information from the webpage into a word document that was in a shared drive for the Head of HR to browse through. Since these first few links gave me information that seemed to be enough to use for the new HR practices, I stopped researching after finding those links.
I thought that I was being a satisficer as my goal was to satisfice rather than to maximise in this situation. To satisfice, people need only to be able to place goods on some scale in terms of the degree of satisfaction they will afford, and to have a threshold of acceptability. A satisficer simply encounters and evaluates goods until one is encountered that exceeds the acceptability threshold. That good is chosen. To satisfice is to pursue not the best option, but a good enough option.
If I had taken the time and searched for case studies/ research papers/ scholar papers, I would have been able to gather more complete information as well as information that could not have been found in those links. However, at the same time, I feel that by doing so, there would be an overload of information and I would have faced the paradox of choice, where people were found to be less satisfied with the choices they make if selected from a larger set of options. Therefore, I ended up satisficing as I was afraid of regretting my decision.
To summarise, I addressed the aspects of system 1 and system 2, awareness of biases, and maximising versus satisficing. From the critical incidents, it can be inferred that I optimise both system 1 and system 2 to make decisions at the workplace and it is not necessarily one or the other. Moreover, when it comes to hiring, I tend to commit the bias of halo effect but I will work on reducing that effect from now on. Lastly, I am a satisficer as I feel that being a maximiser would cause me to be unsatisfied with my decision.