Why don't they learn?

Cynthia D. Fisher*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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[Extract] Highhouse (in press) suggests that managers’ “stubborn” preferences for suboptimal selection practices are based on two beliefs: 1) that selection decisions can be near 100% correct, and 2) that the expertise and intuition needed to make perfect decisions is developed by experience. I will suggest mechanisms by which these beliefs persist in the face of what should be contradictory feedback. When managers make selection decisions, they receive delayed and partial feedback on the correctness of their decisions. Often there is no feedback regarding candidates who are rejected, and managers probably assume that their decision to reject was correct. This creates a sizable set of apparently correct decisions that bolster the beliefs identified by Highhouse.
For candidates who are hired, feedback may be delayed for a year or more until it is clear how well the new employee will perform. HR managers who are involved in a large number of selection decisions will not always receive feedback on the success or failure of each of the candidates they have helped to hire. Managers are more likely to become aware of the success or otherwise of individuals hired into their own units. However, the availability of feedback does not guarantee learning that selection is a probabilistic endeavour, or that intuition is a fallible basis for selection decisions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-366
Number of pages3
JournalIndustrial and Organizational Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2008


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