What is unconscious bias
Everyone has biases – prejudices for or against things that express themselves in our behaviours. Biases we are aware of are known as conscious biases. Those we are not are known as unconscious biases, also known as implicit stereotypes.
An unconscious bias is an association or assumption held by an individual which affects their attitudes and behaviours. Unconscious biases are formed through positive and negative life experiences involving other people and their behaviours, and our actions, particularly how we view and evaluate others, are directly informed by these memories, feelings, urges and so forth. This can lead to unconsciously biased and non-objective decision-making.
These biases are often displayed subtly and without premeditation or intention: through body language, mannerisms and conversation. That can make them difficult to overcome.
In business, unconscious bias hampers fairness, equality and diversity, harming performance in kind. McKinsey’s 2018 Delivering through Diversity report found that companies in the bottom quartile for gender, ethnic and cultural diversity were 29% less likely to achieve above-average profitability than other companies.