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    Electric Fixtures Supply Company

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    Your employer, It's Electric, an electrical fixtures supply company has decided to purchase company cars for all of the sales staff. You have been asked to select the line of automobiles that should be purchased. You have decided that on grounds of economy and longevity you want to purchase one of those solid, stalwart, middle-class Swedish cars--either a Volvo or a Saab. As a prudent and sensible buyer, you go to Consumer Reports, which informs you that the consensus of their experts is that the Volvo is mechanically superior, and the consensus of the readership is that the Volvo has the better repair record.

    Prior to meeting with the Volvo sales people you talk the decision over with your supervisor. He reacts with disbelief and alarm: "A Volvo! You've got to be kidding. My brother-in-law had a Volvo. First, that fancy fuel injection computer thing went out. Had to replace it. Then the transmission and the clutch. Finally sold it in three years for junk."(Adapted from: Nisbett, R.E., et al., "Popular Induction: Information is Not Always Informative", in J.S. Carroll & J.W. Payne (Editors), Cognition and Social Behavior, Halsted, 1976)

    Part 1: Identify and explain the type of heuristics or bias in the reaction of your supervisor.
    Part 2: You do some additional research, including talking to Volvo owners. Your earlier research is confirmed.

    What heuristics will you employ to make your decision on whether to buy a Volvo?
    ? How can you use your knowledge of heuristics and biases to sway your supervisor to your viewpoint...and approve your recommendation?
    ? What information would you provide to your supervisor to help "influence" his/her decision making?

    Your firm is hiring a new marketing manager and you and one of the other senior managers has been interviewing candidates. A candidate just completed the interview process and you felt that she had the skills and background needed for the position. After expressing this to the other manager he replied that this person would not be a good fit and that you should continue to search for another person.

    The candidate in question had the following skills, background and characteristics:
    ? Hispanic Woman
    ? Masters Degree in Marketing
    ? Worked for a competitor for the past 20 years
    ? Identify the possible heuristics and/or biases that may have influenced your co-worker's opinion.
    ? Are there ethical or legal implications from making a hiring decision based on his opinion?
    ? What would your response be to your co-worker?
    ? How would you convince him that this person is right for the job and should be hired?

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    Solution Preview

    As you already know, I cannot write your answers for you or send you back a completed assignment that doesn't contain any of your own thoughts or input. But I will do my best here to send you some helpful links and get you started on your two scenarios. :)

    For background, as you might already be aware, in psychology, heuristics are simple, efficient rules of thumb that try to explain how people make decisions, come to judgments and solve problems, especially when facing complex problems or incomplete information. These rules work well under most circumstances, but in certain cases lead to systematic cognitive biases.

    In your first scenario, the supervisor's reaction raises the issue of the similarity heuristic. It relates to how people make judgments based on similarity. The similarity heuristic is used to account for how people make deductions, solve problems, and form biases based on similarity through comparison with past experiences. A similarity heuristic tends to spring forth from bias. It is based on past experiences, which are used to then compare to current experiences. The goal of the similarity heuristic is maximizing productivity through favorable experience while not repeating unfavorable experiences. Decisions based on how favorable or unfavorable the present seems are based on how similar the past was to the current situation. So here, the ...