Management Papers

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Technical Report

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Administrative Science Quarterly





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The study reported here assessed the impact of managers' philosophies of human nature on their reactions to influential academic claims and counter-claims of when human judgment is likely to stray from rational-actor standards and of how organizations can correct these biases. Managers evaluated scenarios that depicted decision-making processes at micro, meso, and macro levels of analysis: alleged cognitive biases of individuals, strategies of structuring and coping with accountability relationships between supervisors and employees, and strategies that corporate entities use to cope with accountability demands from the broader society. Political ideology and cognitive style emerged as consistent predictors of the value spins that managers placed on decisions at all three levels of analysis. Specifically, conservative managers with strong preferences for cognitive closure were most likely (a) to defend simple heuristic-driven errors such as overattribution and overconfidence and to warn of the mirror-image mistakes of failing to hold people accountable and of diluting sound policies with irrelevant side-objectives; (b) to be skeptical of complex strategies of structuring or coping with accountability and to praise those who lay down clear rules and take decisive stands; (c) to prefer simple philosophies of corporate governance (the shareholder over stakeholder model) and to endorse organizational norms such as hierarchical filtering that reduce cognitive overload on top management by short-circuiting unnecessary argumentation. Intuitive theories of good judgment apparently cut across levels of analysis and are deeply grounded in personal epistemologies and political ideologies.

Copyright/Permission Statement

Philip E. Tetlock, Cognitive Biases and Organizational Correctives: Do Both Disease and Cure Depend on the Politics of the Beholder?, Administrative Science Quarterly 45, no. 2: pp. 293-326. Copyright © 2000 SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.

This is a pre-publication version. The final version is available at



Date Posted: 25 October 2018

This document has been peer reviewed.