Outcome Bias

If the result is not good for you, think about what you missed when making the decision. Try to write down all the conclusions you have reached after receiving the results. If random factors will affect the decision, please do not judge by the result. By evaluating your process, you can make better decisions in the future without letting the bias in the results affect your judgment. [Sources: 5, 7]

By evaluating the process and the outcome, we can make better decisions in the future. Learning to avoid resulting bias can help improve the quality of decision-making. Thus, it is important to understand outcome bias and how it affects us; can help you make better and more effective decisions and avoid unnecessary suffering and loss in the future. [Sources: 3, 4]

Outcome bias is a cognitive bias that allows us to judge decision making based on the outcome of a process, rather than the quality of the process itself. A manager who makes decisions on the basis of “intuition” – when his team strongly advises him in one direction and the manager goes in another – will consider his process to be good if he gets a positive result from it. A manager who makes decisions based on his “intuition” – one who goes in the opposite direction because his intuition says so when his team strongly advises him in one direction – will trust his intuition if he gets a positive outcome. These managers suffer from confirmation bias: their false belief in their instincts is confirmed (which increases their self-confidence) when, fortunately, the result is in their favor. [Sources: 3, 9]

Results bias is applied to leaders (such as superintendents) because often their process and decision-making process is ignored and people focus solely on results, whether those results are consistent with leadership positions or not. Finally, outcome bias can be detrimental to decision-makers, such as doctors or politicians who are agents of others, because when the results are negative, people blame the agent for not being able to predict a negative outcome in the decision-making process. To avoid the influence of outcome bias, the decision should be evaluated by ignoring the information gathered ex post and focusing on what is the correct answer or whether it was at the time the decision was made. While the bias in the assessment of past events is very similar to the bias in the outcome, which unduly influences the assessment of events in the past, the bias in the judgments of the quality of decisions is the bias of the results, not the bias of the retrospective analysis. [Sources: 6, 7, 8]

In a recent study looking at outcome bias in legal decision-making, it was found that judges felt that a particular person acted more deliberately when that person’s actions produced a dramatically negative outcome than an outcome. Moderately negative (Kneer & Bourgeois-Gironde, 2017). Moreover, in hindsight, people tend to allow the consequences of a particular decision or action to unduly influence their judgments about the quality of that action or decision in such a way that they are more perceived negatively after a negative outcome and after a positive outcome (e.g. outcome bias; Baron & Hershey , 1988). [Sources: 8]

Because of retrospective analysis and inferences, decisions made by the director that seemed reasonable at the time could be perceived as careless if the outcome was unsuccessful (for example, retrospective bias includes the tendency of retrospective observers to reject any possibility that the outcome of a decision could be accepted in different ways (that is, although they are quite similar, the difference between the two is that retrospective bias causes an inaccurate view of the past due to distorted memory of events, while its relative importance causes a person to attach too much importance to the result More important than other information, Hawkins and Hasti describe hindsight bias as the inability to recreate a previous causal model that would have been available if the adaptive information of the processing mechanisms had not updated it so quickly based on feedback from outcome to. [Sources: 4, 7, 8, 10]

One possibility comes from a study by Slovic and Fischhoff, 8 who found that retrospective bias can be reduced by asking people to think about how other possible outcomes might have happened. [Sources: 10]

When coaches and teams come back to watch videos of past games, they may encounter biased results because they determine the quality of player decisions based on the results rather than analyzing the overall situation. When evaluating the behavior of others, most people pay more attention to the outcome of the decision rather than the intention. Psychologists call this phenomenon result bias. When employees are judged based on their performance rather than the quality of their decisions, result bias comes into play. When people judge the quality of a leader’s decision, they tend to focus more on the result than the intention. [Sources: 0, 7]

In such situations, asking the evaluators of candidates to make decisions about them before checking whether the decisions made by the candidate have led to good or bad results for the organization will ensure an impartial process. In these situations, making decisions about them before looking to see if their decisions led to positive or negative results will provide you with an impartial process. [Sources: 0, 9]

If you have reason to believe that someone’s decisions are made at the highest level, do not blame them for a negative result. Neither a bad result means a bad decision, nor a good result means a good decision. Usually, you assume a good solution for a good result and a mistake or a bad solution for a bad result. [Sources: 2, 5]

Sooner or later, he makes egregious decisions based on his confidence in previous results. A decision made with good intentions and sufficient thought may be criticized for not being successful. Outcome bias is your tendency to judge a decision based on its final outcome rather than the quality of the decision at the time it was made. [Sources: 5, 9]

This leads to blaming employees and managers for negative results, even if they had good intentions and made informed decisions with all the information that needs to be considered. This effect affects decision-makers, from students to business leaders and football coaches, often causing them to repeat inappropriate decision-making processes. Individuals whose judgments are affected by outcome bias are likely to hold decision-makers accountable for events beyond their control. Retrospective bias is the tendency of people with knowledge of the outcome to exaggerate the degree to which they could have predicted an event in advance, while outcome bias refers to the effect of knowledge of the outcome on judging the quality of decisions. [Sources: 4, 6, 9, 10]

They found that information about results consistently influences assessments of decision quality, the competence of decision-makers, and the willingness to allow decision-makers to make decisions for the subject. Although the interviewed respondents felt that they did not need to take the results into account when making assessments, they did. [Sources: 10]

However, when participants made their assessments individually, the well-meaning physician’s assessments did not differ from those of the selfish physician, suggesting that individual assessors were less likely to be affected by biases than collaborative assessors. In one study, we found that requiring evaluators to make judgments about the choice of decision-makers before the results of those results are known reduces results bias in the context of joint assessment, but not in the context of separate assessment. [Sources: 0]


— Slimane Zouggari


##### Sources #####

[0]: https://hbr.org/2016/09/what-we-miss-when-we-judge-a-decision-by-the-outcome

[1]: https://www.macmillandictionary.com/us/dictionary/american/outcome-bias

[2]: https://towardsdatascience.com/focus-on-decisions-not-outcomes-bf6e99cf5e4f

[3]: https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/outcome-bias-not-all-outcomes-are-created-equal

[4]: https://fallacyinlogic.com/outcome-bias/

[5]: https://productiveclub.com/outcome-bias/

[6]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outcome_bias

[7]: https://www.developgoodhabits.com/outcome-bias/

[8]: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jasp.12722

[9]: https://coffeeandjunk.com/outcome-bias/

[10]: https://qualitysafety.bmj.com/content/12/suppl_2/ii46

[11]: https://skybrary.aero/articles/hindsight-and-outcome-bias