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Unconscious Bias

UB Awareness Package Diversity Miner for Iluka Resources

Lucy Stocker

on 22 September 2014

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Transcript of Unconscious Bias

Diversity Miner
Unconscious Bias
Often others can see your bias more clearly than you.
It is automatic and can act as a filter in decision making.
I'm biased
Why am I based?

Who is biased?
Work Cited
The first time you meet someone you are coding:
1. Are you from my tribe?
2. Where are you in the hierarchy?
3. What is your gender?

Woo, Marcus. “Snap Judgments During Speed Dating” Nov 12, 2012 <http://www.caltech.edu/content/snap-judgments-during-speed-dating>
Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgement, Translated by James Creed Meredith, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007 (original publication date 1952), Oxford World's Classics.
Moule, Jean."Understanding Unconscious Bias and Unintentional Racism." Phi Delta Kappa International 90.5 (2009):320-326. Print.

Whelan, Dr Jen. Pysnapse. Unconscious Bias and Implicit Thinking, 2014.
Gladwell, Malcolm. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. New York: Little, Brown and Co, 2005. Print.
Who do you trust?
We like alike

Think manager, think male

Backlash and the double bind

Flexible work
Why it matters
i. Problem solving
ii. Influencing
iii. Team building
iv. Networking
v. Inspiring
vi. Delegating
vii. Consulting
viii. Rewarding
ix. Supporting
x. Mentoring

Leadership attributes that organisations emphasise and reward
What leaders should do now
What can be done?
Self Awareness
Psynapse Implicit Thinking Assessment


Learn the symptoms and mechanisms to address:

Group-think versus process-driven problem solving. Understand confirmation biases.
In-groups and out-groups.
Recruitment processes.

1. Acknowledge unconscious thinking and stereotyping. It is normal and shared by men and women of all ages, races and physical abilities.
2. Create unconscious bias awareness.
3. Educate with training, discussion and freely available tools.
4. Make employees aware of organisational impacts of unconscious bias.
For many years people believed that only bigoted people have stereotypes, but now scientists have discovered that all people, whether they know it or not, have some type of stereotype. This is called unconscious bias.

* Build a stronger vision for a more inclusive future. You need to champion the change and can no-longer be bystanders.

* Leaders need to be accountable for the culture change by ensuring systems of merit. You need to address biases that influence perception. You need to measure and monitor progress.

* Expand repertoire of skills to recruit and develop diverse leadership and be adept in the full spectrum of leadership skills. Validate assumptions with data.

* Stop asking what’s wrong with diversity and start asking what’s wrong with the us / the teams if we can’t retain and promote educated people from a range of backgrounds that reflect our society.

* Challenge stereotypical assumptions in yourself and others.

What leaders should do now
To know me is to know:
Psynapse Implicit Thinking
Measurement of:

- Unconscious stereotypes and biases in relation to gender, leadership and self.eg the degree to which you see:
Women as warmer
Men as more assertive

- Implicit adaptive factors. Provides a focus for development that can help overcome the negative consequences of unconscious bias and risk.

Psynapse tools developed by Dr Jen Whelan - Melbourne Business School

1:00 - 2:00 Developing awareness
2:10 - 3:00 Reviewing test results
3:10 - 4:00 Leveraging diversity for performance

Fast and Slow Thinking
System 2
System 1
More on Unconscious / Associative Thinking
Arises when events / concepts / feelings are activated in the brain simultaneously.

Associations get formed with regular co-occurrences.

------> Neurons that fire together, wire together.

The associations are usually impossible to control.

The associations are not based on facts, logic accuracy or truth.

------> The accuracy of associative knowledge is not checked or evaluated before it becomes activated.

Our Test Results
- Stronger associations come to mind more easily than weaker associations.
- The test aimed to catch responses 'before' conscious thinking could kick in.
- We engage our conscious thinking >0.9 sec.
- It is possible to consciously disagree with our unconscious attitudes.
What the test does not tell us
Test philosophy recap
- Conscious, deliberative, reflective attitudes or beliefs.
- Whether someone will consciously behave in a biased or prejudiced way.
- Reflexes - the test metric is calculated from the ratio of errors made - not the speed of response. The differences between people's reflexes does not impact on individual results.
- Memory - The test calculates how well a participant can distinguish target words from distractor words, not memorising the target words.

We like 'alike'
- Homophily and in-group bias.

- We prefer people just like us.

- Becomes a problem when our preferences influence our decisions and we make judgements based on bias.

- Examples?
Think Manager - Think Male
Characteristics that most people associate with leadership tend to be more masculine than feminine.

Management competency frameworks are still weighted heavily with more masculine leadership traits and behaviours.

Research shows there are no gender differences that relate to performance.
Backlash and the double-bind
Stereotypes are working models of what we expect other people to be like. It challenges us to deal with people that don't confirm to our stereotypes.

Women in organisations with male-dominated cultures, or more masculine models of leadership, can be faced with an impossible dilemma: Where they do not behave assertively, they can not demonstrate leadership competence, but if they behave assertively, they are considered less promotable.
Flexible Work
Flexible work is stereotypically associated more strongly with women than with men.

Research shows that men are reluctant to work flexibly because doing so means that they are at risk of incurring the double-bind effect...
Interpreting your results
Implicit gender beliefs - the top 4 blocks:

1. Degree to which women are seen as caring, nurturing, collaborative.
2. Degree to which men are seen as tough-minded, authoritative and independent.

The more strongly we hold these stereotypes, the more we are likely to perceive men and women as being different, and therefore, more suited to certain roles.

3. Degree to which we see leadership with assertiveness characteristics.(Think manager, think male)

4. Do we self-stereotype inline with our gender stereotype?

5. Degree of comfort with change and ambiguity.

6. Degree of goal / opportunity orientation.

Team Results
Fast and Slow Thinking
Because it impacts leadership and recruitment decisions.
Why it matters?
What can be done?
Implicit Thinking and Unconscious Bias Testing
Association testing methodologies have been used in psychology research for the past ~15 years.
We do not yet know the natural distribution of unconscious thinking so results can not be compared between individuals.
Meta-analytic research indicates that association tests predict attitudes and behaviours more robustly than conventional q&a for 'socially-sensitive' issues such as gender and race.
Most Implicit Association tests including the Psynapse test, utilise the theories around Fast Thinking and Slow Thinking to access unconscious/automatic responses.
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