The simulation we completed consisted of a scenario where we were part of a company that was in the middle of a troubled product launch. The product was a glucose monitor and there were reports that it was far more inaccurate than the internal testing had showed. This is where the simulation begins and from there, we were asked to make a variety of decisions about how the company would respond and seek to remedy the problem. Each of the major decisions targeted a specific type of cognitive bias in the player.
I learned a lot about cognitive biases through this simulation. In most of the decisions, I fell victim to the cognitive traps that were being targeted so it definitely showed me that I have a lot to learn. In the future, I am planning on making sure I am as aware as I can be of the potential traps so that I can avoid them. I also think slowing down my decision making will help combat cognitive bias as quick judgments can be when biases are most dangerous and hardest to avoid. During the simulation, I found that when I took more time to think about all the information given to me and look at it from multiple angles, that I was most able to go against my cognitive biases.
The aspects of the simulation that I found to be most challenging was the decision regarding laying off workers. While the other decisions focused more on the success of the company, this decision was particularly hard because it was deciding the fate and livelihood of people. While the decision did not actually change real people’s lives, the idea of deciding to fire people was a hard one. I decided to pick the potion that guaranteed 200 jobs were kept rather than risk it to keep all 600 but even now I do not know if that was the best choice.
The lack of information in the situation did make many of the decision hard. However, to combat this, I tried to think about as many sides of the decision as possible. My goal was to make the decision that benefitted the most people. I was not particularly concerned about the success of the company, I focused more on making sure the consumers were treated as best as possible. For me, I found most of the stress came from feeling the need to decide and react quickly. I think this negatively impacted my performance in the simulation as I believe I would have been able to avoid some cognitive biases had I slowed myself down.
I think there are a lot of real-life scenarios that could mirror this simulation. What immediately comes to mind is the scandals that companies like Boeing and Apple have had in the past with the safety concerns of the 737 Max and throttling of iPhone processing speed, respectively. Both of those companies likely went through similar types of discussions and decisions during their scandals. As for their handling of the situations, I think Boeing handled their crisis far worse than Apple did. Boeing struggled to get ahead of the crisis and has yet to recover from the grounding of all its 737 Max airplanes. It is worth noting that the severity of the error was much larger than Boeing as they were dealing with putting lives of people at risk. Apple’s scandal was much more an issue of lack of transparency with what they were doing behind the scenes to customers phones. They acted more proactively and through offering free battery replacements and adding new software features were able to win back the trust of their consumers. What I often find frustrating is that many of these crises seem entirely preventable if the companies had acted more transparently and ethically.