Ladies@WHU

Event "Unconscious bias" in everyday working life

Meet Women@Bearing Point in Düsseldorf

The topic of unconscious bias in everyday working life was addressed by around sixty participants in the "Unconscious Bias" event on March 28.
After a welcome address by Stefani Rahmel, Partner at BearingPoint, and Klaudia Wilde, Director Resource Development at WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management, Dr. Isabel von Korff, WHU alumna and co-founder of Ladies@WHU, introduced the topic. She addressed both the evolutionary causes of prejudices that served to adapt to the environment at an early age and the ways in which biased actions can be counteracted.
These are not only unconscious bias trainings, which must be organized very professionally to be effective, but also the creation of own realities and standards, which correspond to the values of the organizations. Such new stereotypes, as diverse working groups, the exemplary compatibility of family and career, or equal participation of men and women in decision-making structures, shift the "bias" towards normality. Another very successful measure is the use of behavioural design to reduce the unconscious bias in us. Here, for example, standardised application procedures, in which all applicants are asked the same questions and do not add application photos and names are a good start.
She underlined how much behavioural design can bring about in terms of career opportunities for women with a practical example: the proportion of women in American orchestras has increased by 40 percent, since the musical performance of all applicants was performed exclusively behind curtains and gender bias could no longer be relevant.
In the subsequent panel discussion, the five panel participants (Valerie Kluge (BearingPoint), Dr. Isabel von Korff (Ladies@WHU), Professor Dr. Jochen Menges (Professor of HRM and Leadership at University of Zurich), Dr. Eva Pieper (Vodafone), Stefani Rahmel (BearingPoint)) further examined the topic from the perspective of science and business. The event was moderated by our WHU alumna Sabine Hansen. Among other things, it was emphasized that in-house programs on the topic of diversity must imply actual actions and measures. It was also important to convince the majority of the need for diversity. The importance of language in general and wordings in particular was also stressed.