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Analyzing Heuristics to De-escalate Conflict

Analyzing Heuristics to De-escalate Conflict

Heuristics that were Most Relevant to the Conflict in this Case

According to Bhatia (2015), heuristics are problem-solving shortcuts that specify simple approaches that can be used to manipulate and access information. Heuristics and biases are hard to avoid in decision-making because it is impossible to consider all the information acquired in a specific scenario due to the limitations in mental capacities (Schirrmeister et al., 2020). Heuristics influence decision-making and judgment of actors at senior levels in organizations, thus influencing how junior and senior employees relate with and interact in the organization (Hodgkinson et al., 2023). Heuristics can also create biased judgments that could create conflicts (Dale, 2015). For instance, the conflict between Thomas and Kareem was caused by heuristics. The heuristic that non-Muslims could perform better than Muslims because of limited absenteeism is evident in the transcripts and was most relevant to the conflict between Kareem and Thomas. Thomas assumed that the organization could only improve its performance by firing Kareem and hiring another employee because Kareem could not put the organization’s interests over his religious beliefs. Therefore, Kareem was informed that he was being fired without prior warning about his poor performance and absenteeism because Thomas and other employees had observed that Kareem was committed to his religion and religious beliefs and was unwilling to prioritize work over religious practices.

How the Heuristic Resulted in Impressions of Bias that Negatively Impacted Workplace Interactions

The heuristics in Thomas and Kareem’s case resulted in the impression of bias that negatively impacted workplace interactions between Thomas, Kareem, and his supervisor. For instance, the heuristic that non-Muslims could perform better because of limited absenteeism resulted in the perception of discrimination against Kareem, leading to the decision to fire him. The decision then created tension between Thomas, Kareem, and Janet because Kareem was informed about the decision in the presence of Janet, who was among the employees complimenting him before he was fired. Thomas assumed that Kareem’s poor performance was because of his religion, thus implying that if Kareem had not taken so many breaks to go and pray, his performance would have been better. This assumption made Thomas decide to fire Kareem without prior warning and an opportunity for him to give feedback about the decision. Therefore, Thomas applied the stopping mechanism when deciding Kareem’s fate because he had already concluded that Kareem must be fired. According to Galavotti et al. (2021), the stopping mechanism requires decision-makers to make judgments based on the sufficiency of the information they acquire compared to focusing on the gathering of additional information. For instance, Thomas relied on the information provided by Kareem’s colleagues without considering the need to get information from Kareem and an explanation for his actions before deciding to fire him.

Recommended Techniques to Help the Stakeholder their Past Experiences to Positively Benefit Similar Interactions Moving Forward

Biases and heuristics play a significant role in the interaction among stakeholders. Therefore, stakeholders should use their past experiences to positively benefit interactions that are at risk of being negatively impacted by heuristics and biases. One of the techniques is getting feedback about how the scenario was handled to determine what was done well and what needs improvement. Establishing trust with those providing feedback is vital to getting honest feedback. According to Beslin & Reddin (2004), communication can be used to build trust by allowing employees to share their opinions and ideas and encouraging discussions about what should be done. Therefore, Thomas can ask Janet, Kareem’s supervisor, whether the situation was handled well and what can be done differently in the future. The second technique is determining whether attitudes toward those involved in the scenario may have influenced the situation’s outcome and whether the outcome could have been different if someone else had been involved. Green (2013) argues that attitudes are a subconscious transfer of feelings in the work setting. Therefore, Thomas should consider whether he would have made a different decision if the employee accused of absenteeism was non-Muslim and if the reasons for absenteeism were not to practice religious beliefs. This technique is effective in developing self-awareness to avoid biases that could impact interactions in future scenarios.


Beslin, R., & Reddin, C. (2004). How Leaders Can Communicate to Build Trust. Ivey Business Journal.

Bhatia, S. B. (2015). The Power of the Representativeness Heuristic. University of Warwick.

Dale, S. (2015). Heuristics and biases. Business Information Review, 32(2), 93-99.

Galavotti, I., Lippi, A., & Cerrato, D. (2021). The representativeness heuristic at work in decision-making: Building blocks and individual-level cognitive and behavioral factors. Management Decision, 59(7), 1664-1683.

Green, M. E. (2013). Painless performance conversations: A practical approach to critical day-to-day workplace discussions. John Wiley & Sons.

Hodgkinson, G. P., Burkhard, B., Foss, N. J., Grichnik, D., Sarala, R. M., Tang, Y., & Van Essen, M. (2023). The heuristics and biases of top managers: Past, present, and future. Journal of Management Studies, 60(5), 1033-1063.

Schirrmeister, E., Göhring, A., & Warnke, P. (2020). Psychological biases and heuristics in the context of foresight and scenario processes. FUTURES & FORESIGHT SCIENCE, 2(2).


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Analyzing Heuristics to De-escalate Conflict

Analyzing Heuristics to De-escalate Conflict

Prompt: Based on the transcripts you read in Module Three and this module’s reading, analyze the heuristics of the transcripts and determine how they impacted the interactions in the workplace. Additionally, determines the influence of cultural differences on the conflict. The transcripts can be found in the Final Project Case Study.

In this section, you will analyze the heuristics in the transcripts of the final case study provided and determine how they impacted the interactions in the workplace.

  1. Appraise the heuristics you found in the transcripts that were the most relevant to the conflict in this case. Support your appraisal with specific examples. For example, was there a bias such as “more is better” or “faster is better”?
  2. Determine how this heuristic resulted in impressions of bias that negatively impacted workplace interactions in this case. Support your determination with specific examples. For example, did a heuristic of “people who look like me do a better job” result in a perception of discrimination?
  3. Determine what techniques your colleague might recommend to help the stakeholders use their past experiences to positively benefit similar interactions moving forward. Support your determination with specific examples.

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