Confirmation bias is a tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s own assumptions, experiences, stated opinion. Seeking out those things that confirm their status; things that do not presume to allow them to be wrong.
From a Maslow hierarchy point of view, people who still need support to see themselves better that their self-esteem level allows them; the need to be socially not just acceptable but a reference point, someone who others respect and even alter or form opinion because of their input.
We used to refer to it as ‘group think’ and ‘pre-emptive think”. That is, GT – I’ll go along with the others for fear of being ostracised from the group if I disagree. PT – “I’ve broached that before and stated my opinion and go nowhere; lost the argument and so I will not put myself up for ridicule by restating my opinion. I will assume that the answer will still be no.
Of the communication diseases I come across in executive groups and naturally then through the entire organisation, this is possible the main ‘communication cancer’ I encounter. I call it a cancer as it is insidious – once it arrives in a group, it spreads and can be difficult for the then manager/leader to eliminate or even diminish. Part of the impact in having this behaviour is the corresponding loss of trust and respect.
Andrew Mitchell has stated in his LinkedIn article, that Ray Dalio has said he seeks out the ‘smartest people’ to disagree with – I hope he is doing that within his own organisation as they are people he has recruited. If they are not putting forward tings to disagree with, he best check his own culture first; or his recruitment / selection criteria.