LIGC Blog Post 3 – Cognitive Bias

In today’s simulation titled “Judgement in a Crisis”, I was deemed Project Manager of a medical device manufacturing company called Matterhorn Health. The crisis that I had to handle in the simulation was concerning the high inaccuracy rates of GlucoGauge, Matterhorn Health’s new glucose blood monitoring device. I had to make a variety of decisions on behalf of the company including how to allocate money between two initiatives and whether I wanted to save 200 jobs while making a lower profit or risk the loss of 600 jobs while making a higher profit. 

The purpose of “Judgement in a Crisis” was to recognize and understand the concept of cognitive biases. I learned that the simulation tested for four main types of cognitive biases— confirmation bias, sunk cost bias, anchoring bias, and framing bias. I was surprised to see that these cognitive biases appear to be a natural human tendency. I, along with the majority of people, were guilty of possessing every single kind of bias. My plan to combat cognitive bias is rooted in my awareness of the problem; now that I am aware of my own bias, I can actively make efforts to go against it. Instead of jumping to the conclusion that seems the most obvious to me, I can consider other options. I can also touch base with an unbiased colleague in order to gain more perspective. 

The aspect of the simulation which I found to be the most challenging was determining what to prioritize during the decision-making process. Between the consumers, workers, finances, and reputation of the company, I had to question and decide which one I found to be the most important. For instance, with the decision to save 200 jobs or potentially lay-off 600 jobs, I was faced with a dilemma of whether I should prioritize worker’s livelihoods or whether I should prioritize the finances of the company. The way I handled the ambiguity and stress of the simulation was just by taking it step-by-step and accepting the “reality” of the situation. I tried to go at my own pace rather than rush through the decisions, but admittedly, it was challenging to do so. 

One real-life scenario which comes to mind that mirrors the events of the simulation is Samsung’s exploding phone fiasco in 2016. To summarize, Samsung launched the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 in August 2016 and recalled the product in the matter of just one month after 35 cases of the phone bursting into flames were reported. They conducted an investigation and found that the issue was due to defective batteries from their suppliers. They discontinued the product and promised to give everyone who already had the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 a replacement. I believe Samsung handled the crisis quickly, efficiently, and responsibly. The fact they discontinued the product after just one month shows how seriously they took the issue. The official statement made by Samsung hit all the key points— empathy for the consumers, responsibility of mistakes, transparency of the cause, and future steps to remedy the situation were all mentioned.

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