Given that automaticity seems to be an inescapable feature of individual cognition, one question for the practicing manager to ask is: What can be done to combat it? There are at least two answers to this that emerge from the scientific literature: (1) Reduce cognitive load on the decision maker; (2) manipulate the perceivers intentions (perhaps through goal setting/rewards) so that the perceiver is more likely to avoid mindless/scripted thinking; and, related, (3) provide alternative scripts, once that lead to more desirable actions. I will bring this up at the start of class today.
Post by Nathalya Zarth on Sept 23, 2015 20:22:21 GMT
I agree with most postings here that Gioia is attempting to hide behind the automatic and surface-level assessment he made while on the line due to his pre-programmed script to evaluate accidents given the data. I agree with Nicholas in that Ford engaged in high levels of unethical behavior and attempted to cover its tracks via inaccurate safety reports, recall delays, and considering the economic cost of a life over scrapping the car. I disagree with the notion that we assimilate so rapidly and fully into the culture we are in and that Ford must have an unethical culture, which influenced Gioia to engage in these unethical practices. If this is the case, then how is it that any ethical people are left? Are entire companies comprised of unethical and lazy workers? I believe the issue here is that he failed to properly recognize that there was a problem with the vehicle that would result in loss of lives until after the fact.
I truly believe that Gioia was not thinking and therefore did not look further into the issue as it was 1) scripted for him not to and 2) the data suggested he did not need to. We are becoming more data-driven in society and therefore, scripts based on the "hard facts" and on what the data says should be evaluated, particularly at the organizational level. I think that breaks in the scripts should be written, as Gioia suggests, to force the employee to actively evaluate the product or decision.
I believe that besides using scripts, the issue is more focused on that we become comfortable in our scripts and allow ourselves to succumb to inaccurate evaluations on whether these scripts are reliable through hindsight bias. It is through this that I believe that we enslave ourselves to scripts because "conscious, mindful thinking" requires high levels of effort, skill and motivation to continually employ.
Several commented on the fact that the military utilizes scripts in order to maintain order within the ranks and provide soldiers with a toolbox of predetermined courses of action designed to provide them with options in the midst of chaos. The fact of the matter is that even with all of that training, if you ask anyone that has ever deployed, you will notice that all bets are off in a war zone. All of your predetermined scripts on how to aim your rifle, breathing techniques, trigger squeeze, etc. are no longer in the forefront of your mind. You allow yourself to modify those scripts in order to do what you must: survive and accomplish the mission.
I merely wonder how much of this was an issue of the script employed that made Gioia fail to identify the issue before so many lives were lost or if this is the result of hindsight bias where knowing the horrific outcomes that, as Nicholas said, "tug" at your heart and made Gioia realize that he could have been a part of the prevention. If placed in the same situation at a different company with different scripts, do we really believe this could have been avoided? It is easy to say so considering that we have all of the facts after the incident occurred. Were there measures that could have been implemented to bar this from happening? Probably, but how effective would these measures be in real time? Companies should always strive to put measures in place that require employees to think about their actions, especially in industries where the cost can be someone's life, which can only minimize not eliminate, these outcomes.