Designing to Debias: Measuring and Reducing Public Managers’ Anchoring Bias
Public managers’ decisions are affected by cognitive biases. For instance, employees’ previous year's performance ratings influence new ratings irrespective of actual performance. Nevertheless, experimental knowledge of public managers’ cognitive biases is limited, and debiasing techniques have rarely been studied. Using a survey experiment on 1,221 public managers and employees in the United Kingdom, this research (1) replicates two experiments on anchoring to establish empirical generalization across institutional contexts and (2) tests a consider-the-opposite debiasing technique. The results indicate that anchoring bias replicates in a different institutional context, although effect sizes differ. Furthermore, a low-cost, low-intensity consider-the-opposite technique mitigates anchoring bias in this survey experiment. An exploratory subgroup analysis indicates that the effect of the intervention depends on context. The next step is to test this strategy in real-world settings.
|Public Administration Review|
|Organisation||Erasmus University Rotterdam|
Nagtegaal, R. (Rosanna), Tummers, L.G, Noordegraaf, M, & Bekkers, V.J.J.M. (2020). Designing to Debias: Measuring and Reducing Public Managers’ Anchoring Bias. Public Administration Review. doi:10.1111/puar.13211