Unconscious Bias in the Workplace Leads to Career Discrimination

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A recent article on EQSQ.com, an online personality testing and career and education resource site, suggests that subconscious preference and bias in our behavior may affect the career paths of others. The Implicit Association Test (IAT) personality test measures this bias in our behavior using word and image association techniques. EQSQ.com suggests that understanding subconscious preferences identified by the IAT test may help people understand how, inadvertently, their behavior can affect the career performance of others.

The unconscious choices that our minds make can affect how we relate to people. When these choices are made in the workplace our automatic preferences may shape our decision making process -- although we would never know.

In her piece http://w.wetrew.com/cgi/r?;n=203;c=235754;s=5186;x=7936;f=200611131244250;u=j;z=TIMESTAMP ["Conscious Pride or Unconscious Prejudice: Do You Have an Attitude?" __title__ EQ SQ Prejudiced Attitude & Stereotypes], http://b.baaloo.com/cgi/r?;n=203;c=235756;s=5186;x=7936;f=200611131244270;u=j;z=TIMESTAMP [EQSQ.com __title__ Visit EQSQ.com to learn about EQ and SQ] columnist Katrina Boydon highlights unconscious preferences measured by the Implicit Association Test (IAT), which is part of the Project Implicit initiative from Harvard University, the University of Washington, and the University of Virginia. This personality test measures hidden biases in people's behaviors -- biases of which people may not even be aware, and the article delves into how these biases influence personal interactions and thus career choices.

Results from the IAT suggest that everyone has implicit biases, and these subconscious preferences influence how people are likely to interact with others, such as whether they're friendly or unfriendly to someone. According to the Project Implicit Web site, implicit biases are pervasive and are prevalent in a statistically significant percentage of the American population. Expanding on her article Boydon explains, "The unconscious choices that our minds make can affect how we relate to people. When these choices are made in the workplace our automatic preferences may shape our decision making process -- although we would never know." Boydon adds, "Most people would be horrified to know that their behavior caused a job candidate to perform less than optimally."

"Of course, job applicants may exhibit biases of their own resulting in less than favorable impressions on interviewers. These applicants would be disconcerted to find that their own hidden biases caused them to be passed over."

Fortunately, legislation and well-developed social conscience ensure that most companies aim to provide equal career opportunities for all applicants. This is a great start. Knowing our hidden biases, which are often at odds with our stated conscious ideals, is a next step to enabling us to make that little extra effort to avoid career discrimination of any kind.

The American Career Resource Network (ACRN) supports the assertion by Boydon and http://b.baaloo.com/cgi/r?;n=203;c=235756;s=5186;x=7936;f=200611131244270;u=j;z=TIMESTAMP [EQSQ.com __title__ EQ SQ Career Information and more at EQSQ.com] that knowing oneself is key to making good career decisions. The ACRN's Web site offers a series of six steps to take when making career choices, including "Engaging" with your own feelings, to "Identifying" what's most important to you, and finally "Deciding" on the best career.

Making educated career choices is a challenge every professional faces. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2004 that between ages 18 and 40, both men and women changed careers an average of more than ten times. Knowing yourself and your preferences can help you make the best career choices.

EQSQ.com offers career tools like http://e.ertile.com/cgi/r?;n=203;c=235755;s=5186;x=7936;f=200611131244260;u=j;z=TIMESTAMP [personality tests __title__ EQ SQ Personality Test], articles, and educational resources to help professionals choose and pursue careers that will offer success and satisfaction over their lifetimes. It supports the Empathizing-Sympathizing theory of different brain types and how to make more educated life decisions.

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