After the first practice rounds, the consensus was that we all had a good grasp of the simulation and we understood the underlying mechanisms to it. It was a difficult but much needed wake-up call that our success so far was merely due to our luck or other teams incompetence or a combination of both. We did not have the skill or knowledge that we thought we decided to share our ‘game plan’ or strategy with Peter. Luckily for us, it was the ideal time to find this out, so we could adjust our strategy before the first round of the real competition began.
After not personally encountering a problem in the past week – which in hindsight was an oversight. There were many learnings from the previous week, but this is only evident now when looking back on what I had experienced. On articulation and analysis of the problem, from last week would be assuming that there was no problem, when in fact there was. (Daudelin, 1996).
The problem itself was assuming, that because of our team dynamics where there was open communication, cohesiveness, unity, agreeance and our performance confirmed that there were no obvious issues. However, looking back now, it seems that there was confirmation bias at play. Confirmation bias is the tendency to process information by looking for or interpreting information that is consistent with ones existing beliefs. I thought there were no problems that I had encountered and sought information to confirm this belief. (Nickerson, 1998).
An explanation of the problem, through formulation of a theory suggests that cognitive biases occur subconsciously, and only upon reflection of your actions can you learn to identity when and where it occurs and limit it in future decision making. To ensure this problem is not encountered again, the action to take that may be most helpful will be to be aware of what confirmation bias is and when it occurs, to ensure that oversights are not made. If I were, to go back and rearticulate the problem encountered from the previous week, it would be that individually and team based our confidence and performance provided a sense of false or overconfidence which lead to poor decision making and there was not enough critical thinking, which usually occurs through discussion or from opposing opinions or viewpoints that are raised. Since there was a consensus between the team, we were unable to engage in critical thinking (Daudelin, 1996).
To be ensure that within the team, individually we do not fall short and pursue the role of “sheep”, whom are passive and uncritical that we instead pursue the role of the effective follower who see themselves are equals of the leader(s) they follow and are able to openly disagree with leadership. Disagreements are not necessarily a negative in terms of team dynamics and likely to arise naturally as part of being in team. Disagreements enable greater critical thinking to occur and hence better decision making (Kelley, 1988).
Daudelin, W. M. (1996). Learning from experience through reflection. Organizational Dynamics, 24(3), 36-48.
Nickerson, R. S. (1998). Confirmation Bias: A Ubiquitous Phenomenon in Many Guises. Review of General Psychology, 2(2), 175–220.
Kelley, R. E. (1988). In praise of followers. Harvard Business Review, 66(6), 142-148.