Explain the events in this case in terms of perception and attitudes. Does personality play a role?
This case illustrates how the perceptions and attitudes of a person affect his/her decisions or views on other people. For instance, Jack Reed’s colleagues are accustomed to believing that former convicts tend to commit crimes once again. This is one of the reasons why they choose to suspect these people, even though these suspicions are supported by evidence. Moreover, they focus on the events that can confirm their beliefs about former prisoners.
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In turn, this case shows that Jack Reed’s co-workers said that he could have been in those places where money or personal possessions were stolen. This is one of the details that can be singled out. The problem is that they could have seen other people as well but they paid their attention only to Jack Reed. Such behavior has been observed during various experimental studies (Sternberg 512). This phenomenon is usually called the confirmation bias which can affect many people (Sternberg 512). Managers should know about this risk while taking important decisions. They need to know about the impact of possible stereotypes on their decisions.
In contrast, Susan Harrington knows about the biases against people who were convicted of a crime. This is why she tries to set aside such stereotypes. Moreover, she knows that it is difficult for such people to re-integrate into society in part because they have to encounter challenges that are not related to their own mistakes. For example, they can be accused of offenses that they did not commit.
This is why Susan attempts to remain impartial. However, her impartiality can be explained by her own experiences and personality. Thus, one can assume that Susan may favor Jack. These are some of the main arguments that can be put forward.
What should Susan do? Should she fire Jack or give him a chance?
It is possible to say that Susan should not fire Jack only based on circumstantial evidence. Such an action can certainly contradict her values and conviction that a person should not be denied a chance, even despite his/her past mistakes. Additionally, she should examine his past performance. If Jack always complied with the requirements of the employer, there is no reason to dismiss him. Certainly, she may encounter some challenges; for instance, it is possible to speak about the indignation of workers who may believe that she tries to shield Jack. Nevertheless, she should clearly state why she does not have any factual basis for terminating Jack’s employment. This is one of the arguments that she can put forward to justify her decision about Jack’s status in the company.
Admittedly, she may have other alternatives. In particular, she may decide to transfer Jack to a different department. Nevertheless, this strategy may mean that Susan tries to avoid a problem, instead of resolving it. These are the main aspects that can be considered. Admittedly, one can say that Jack seemed rather secretive when he was questioned about stolen money. However, such behavior can be explained because every person may feel uncomfortable when he/she is suspected of theft. Moreover, Jack knows it quite clearly, that people will first pay attention to him. So, it is possible to say current accusations are not supported by tangible evidence. Thus, the decision to dismiss Jack can hardly be called just. These are some of the main details that can be distinguished.
Sternberg, Robert. Cognitive Psychology, New York: Cengage Learning, 2008. Print.