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Common Biases in Performance Evaluations
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Definitions

Definitions for different types of bias
Potential Biases That Influence Performance Ratings
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Type of Bias
Definition
1
Confirmation bias
Focusing on information that affirms one’s views and rejecting contradictory information
2
Halo/Horn effect
Assuming someone is generally good or bad based on a single trait
3
Recency bias
Relying on recent events because they are easier to recall
4
Availability bias
Believing examples that come to mind easily are the most representative
5
Ingroup/similarity bias
Favoring members of one’s own groups over groups considered to be outsiders
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Idiosyncratic rater bias
Managers evaluate skills they're not good at, higher. Conversely, they rate others lower in things they're great at.
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Style difference bias
Evaluating someone’s performance less favorably because their work style is different from your own
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Contrast effect
Comparing someone’s performance only to other colleagues rather than to role expectations and established standards. This is especially common when evaluating people one after the other.
9
Stereotypic bias
Relying on oversimplified perceptions because of an individual’s membership in a particular group
10
“Prove it again!”
Groups stereotyped as less competent often have to prove themselves over and over. “PIA groups” include women, people of color, individuals with disabilities, older employees, LGBT+, and class migrants (professionals from blue-collar backgrounds).
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“Tightrope”
A narrower range of workplace behavior often is accepted from women and people of color (“Tightrope groups”). Class migrants (professionals from blue-collar backgrounds) and modest or introverted men can face Tightrope problems, too.
12
“Parental Wall”
Making assumptions and setting different expectations based on whether someone is a parent or not
13
Gender bias
Tendency to focus on the personality and attitudes of women and on the behaviors and accomplishments of men.
14
Leniency bias
When managers give favorable ratings even though they have employees with notable room for improvement. This weakens the objectivity of your data, and makes it impossible to identify who deserves a promotion or raise, possibly leaving your top talent feeling disgruntled.
15
Centrality bias
Tendency to rate most items in the middle of a rating scale, weakening the objectivity of your data because it doesn’t provide valuable data. When everyone is receiving a rating of 3 out of 5 across the board, it’s difficult to distinguish the low-performing employees from the top-performing employees.
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