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Malcolm Gladwell’s Book “Blink” Report

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Updated: Jul 9th, 2021

Core Thesis

Core Ideas in “Blink”

People’s ability to notice tiny details at first glance is amazing due to the effect that it produces on their decision-making and their choices in business and personal life. Some may call it intuition, others refer to the described concept as attention to detail, yet Malcolm Gladwell (2007) prefers to call this ability the “blink” as in “the blink of an eye” (p. 23). Claiming that a blink is an important part of shaping one’s opinion of a particular subject and making a decision, Gladwell argues that the power of a blink may have a positive effect on business when used properly. Although Gladwell (2007) realises that snap judgments may be misleading, he insists that the “blink” should be treated as an important element of forming an opinion in the business setting.

The idea of the instant judgment as the basis for people’s decisions has proven to be correct over time (Weetman 2016). As Gladwell (2007) explains, speed dating is one of the most obvious examples of the “blink” since it implies people making instant choices that will define their further personal life. At the same time, the author admits that immediate impressions may be misleading and even cause major social and political problems.

For instance, Gladwell (2007) addresses the case of Harding, “one of the worst presidents in American history,” who was also promoted by the person under the impression of his perfection (p. 36). The author explains that the blink may lead to significant positive outcomes when used along with other tools and with due caution. At the same time, Gladwell (2007) argues that, when applied to the areas such as business and economy, the blink may save the world due to the opportunities that it provides.

How “Blink” Changes the Vision of the World

The concept of “blink” as explained by Gladwell (2007) is, in fact, not a new idea. The “blink” has been known in the business and economy studies as behavioural decision-making and considered an important part of information analysis. However, it was Gladwell’s book that attracted so much attention to the concept that used to be taken for granted. Therefore, the new vision that the author offers can be considered a massive change in the modern business world since it helps to build a new approach toward managing business processes. “Blink” states that the first impression of which one is often unaware should be taken into account, thus changing the world completely.

Gladwell’s (2007) discovery of the “blink” makes it possible to create business scenarios in which a company will remain successful even in a rather challenging setting. By relying on their intuition, leaders of business organisations can avoid the options that are potentially harmful to their companies.

Moreover, the “blink” can be used on a larger level, such as changes made to the state economy. For instance, Gladwell (2007) mentions several cases when leaders made either extremely poor or unbelievably successful decisions by either ignoring their blink or following it. Based on Gladwell’s (2007) arguments, it would be logical to suggest that the “blink” can be applied to the context of any setting, including business and economy, politics, culture, and technology. “Blink” has the potential to change the vision of the worlds since it encourages people to give credit to their intuitive knowledge of a specific issue.

Applicability to Business

How the Concept of “Blink” Can Be Applied to the Business Context

The idea of using one’s instant feeling of a wrong situation in the business setting is likely to have positive effects on economic growth. Gladwell (2007) demonstrates quite well that, by applying the concept of the “blink” to the business setting, one creates opportunities for succeeding (Dominici, Giudice & Lombardi 2017). The positive outcome of utilising the blink as a factor in business decision-making happens due to the introduction of new ideas that may not have been considered otherwise. By using the blink as the tool for in-depth business analysis, one can discover a number of factors that play an important role in choosing the available solutions (Gladwell 2007). Therefore, the concept of the “blink” should be seen as a crucial element of decision-making in business.

However, even though the “blink” is considered important, it does not necessarily imply an immediate solution to a certain business problem. Instead, the blink represents another possibility that one would not have been considered without knowing about its existence (Engemann 2018). In fact, relying only on the “blink” may cause drastic outcomes for one’s business. Although the “blink” suggests unexpected solutions to economic, financial, organisational, and other types of problems, it can also mislead one since the first impression may be biased. Thus, the “blink” should be seen as an addition to the range of tools used to solve business issues and not the only method of managing corporate concerns.

Relevant Examples and Their Analysis

The history holds many examples of the correct and incorrect uses of the “blink.” For example, Gladwell (2007) mentions that the specified concept was very useful in introducing “spontaneity” to a company (p. 46). Once included in the corporate environment, a strategy based on the “blink” will have a quick impact on the company’s staff. At the same time, Gladwell (2007) states that some of the uses of the “blink” have been disastrous, the case with the American president being the most notorious one. Gladwell (2007) points to the fact that the use of the “blink” leads to especially negative effects when other options are not considered. While relying on one’s intuition is important, one should also focus on rationalising the sources of the “blink” and the effects that the proposed decision produces.

Changes in Business Outcomes: Assessment

In the modern business setting, decisions are typically made after careful and thoughtful assessments of a specific situation. Still, it is important to consider every solution that one can possibly find, which is why “blinks” are just as important as the results of a long and detailed analysis. The “Implicit Association Test” is only one of the many examples of how the “blink” can be used in the business setting (Gladwell 2007, p. 37).

Using the “blink” in the modern business setting will help organisations to make a large change and focus on reducing risks that they can face in the target market (Bolland & Lopes 2018). Therefore, the “blink” should be included into the set of strategies used in business analysis and the identification of the available solutions. As soon as the concept of the “blink” is introduced to the modern business environment, one will be able to analyse company-related issues from several aspects and select the right options.

Reference List

Bolland, EJ & Lopes, CJ 2018, Decision making and business performance, Edward Elgar Publishing, Northampton, MA.

Dominici, G, Giudice, MD & Lombardi, R 2017, Governing business systems: theories and challenges for systems thinking in practice, Springer, New York, NY.

Engemann, KJ (ed) 2018, The Routledge companion to risk, crisis and security in business, Routledge, New York, NY.

Gladwell, M 2007, Blink, Back Bay Books, New York, NY.

Weetman, C 2016, A circular economy handbook for business and supply chains: repair, remake, redesign, rethink, Kogan Page Publishers, New York, NY.

Appendix A: Decision-Making with the “Blink”

Decision-Making with the “Blink”
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IvyPanda. "Malcolm Gladwell’s Book “Blink”." July 9, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/malcolm-gladwells-book-blink/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Malcolm Gladwell’s Book “Blink”." July 9, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/malcolm-gladwells-book-blink/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Malcolm Gladwell’s Book “Blink”'. 9 July.

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