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Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is the concept that individuals have a preference at a subconscious level that unintentionally influences decision making.

As human beings we are continually processing information and to simplify this process we categorise the world around us. For example on seeing a dog, rather than processing all aspects such as four legs, fur, wagging tail, we create a framework around dogs. This automatic processing means that we automatically react around certain objects or individuals. This also takes place to categorise other human beings, and although it is an essential process, it can result in mirco-behaviours and the creation of micro-inequities.

Everyone has pre-existing concepts surrounding particular groups. These concepts can form at an early age from personal experiences, what we see in the media and moral guidelines for example parental influence and religion. The internal perceptions we have of certain groups lead to prejudgements that take place automatically, at high velocity, and are not privy to conscious manipulation.

However, through bringing the concept of unconscious bias into individual awareness, we begin a process that can regulate the resulting behaviours and eventually effect the beliefs that exist.

Through gaining skills in the areas of mirco-behaviours we affect the outcomes of these hidden beliefs. Both verbal and non verbal areas must be addressed.

Exploring these areas as an individual impacts our ability to understand the possibilities in ourselves and enables us to see more clearly the possibilities in others.


  • Organisation recruitment
  • Progression decisions
  • Interviews
  • Mentoring
  • Assignments and opportunities
  • Communication
  • Performance reviews
  • Client base
  • Policies
  • Board members
  • Customer relations
  • Marketing campaigns and target markets

Business case

A diverse organisation enables an increase in breadth of knowledge, education, experience, tenure and creativity which, when managed effectively, can increase the profit of an organisation. However, an inclusive environment that embraces its diversity is required to enable individuals of diverse backgrounds to voice their knowledge and experience.

For more information about the People Development Team's Unconscious Bias programmes, please call us on or


Global Inclusive Leadership Specialists