Cognitive Bias in Selection

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2005-2009

The second term of President George Bush was one of internal strife among the American people and the government. Accusations started coming in the year 2003, Iraqi attacks were based on rumors or unconfirmed sources. This state of accusatory remarks from the government dampened his popularity among the American people. Another detriment to his rule was on Hurricane Katrina.  The hurricane resulted in the death of many Americans, destruction of property worth billions of dollars.  The Bush administration was blamed for its slow response to emergency efforts. FEMA’s response was poor, the coordination of emergency response was poor. This situation contributed highly to the loss of faith of George Bush by many Americans. At this point in time, many American’s wanted to have the president out of the seat as he seemed incapable of handling his responsibilities (Decision making and cognitive bias, 2016).

George W Bush personality was one of a cool and composed individual who was known for his cool demeanor. Personality and leadership are very synonymous; it is important to acknowledge that an individual’s personality determines the kind of leader he will be (Soon and Hani Nawaf Ibrahim, 2016). It is important to acknowledge that the ability of an individual to handle pressure, the ability to make fair and sound decisions, the ability to communicate what they have in mind and the way they react when they are under pressure determines the kind of leader he/she will be. For instance George Bush never paid more attention to the American economy, it should be known that he never disappointed when it came to matters concerning the national security but he failed mostly in maintaining the economy of America.

A troubled economy led to the dissatisfaction of Americans with the Bush administration. Reports indicate that he started with a surplus in the budget. The large budgetary allocations for the two wars against terrorism and the large tax-cut across all the industries in America left the country bleeding economically. The budget deficits started in 2002, the worst situation that America got into is the depression of 2008. This was the biggest financial crisis that had hit the global economy since the Great Depression of 1934. The Bush administration passed out a couple of plans to bail out the country through the use of funds from the Federal Reserve.  His administration went ahead to solicit for support of the replacement of Social Security with the private retirement savings accounts.  

George W Bush was not a man of socialism in his leadership style (Bailis, 2014). He focused more on the development of security frameworks within the country. He made only two nominations for the Supreme Court who were regarded as judicial conservatives. These two nominations indicated his unwavering belief in social conservatism.  His ideologies stood were developed in his younger age and his preferred style of leadership in for the American government. Though his ideologies were agreeable with many of his supporters but the results tell a different story all together. Looking at the state in which the country was left for instance unemployment was at 4.6%, the government suffered a trade deficit of -$850 billion. Oil prices were highest than ever recorded in the history (Rathbone, 2011).

General Assessment

 Looking into the tenure of George W Bush one would wonder what good came out of his eight years as president of the most powerful state in the world. All that can be seen out of it; is the large trade deficits that he left the state with. The other perspective was the state’s ability to face the future; many American were not confident of the state’s ability to compete with countries like China and India. One would say that President Bush left the country worse than he got it.

Leadership and cognitive bias are very relatable matters; the American voted in President George W Bush because at the time they saw a capable leader. The polarity in thinking, bias in selection based on priorities, objectives and abstract factors like admiration and love play a role in the election of a certain leader. The expectations of the American people were not met, a few years into his rule people doubted if they voted in the right person for the seat. Basing their choices on Bush’s track record as the governor of Texas was good enough for the people, but one should put into consideration that he is the son of George Bush senior (Rathbone, 2011). The love and admiration that American people had for George Bush senior influenced them into voting in his son as the president of the country. It is difficult to explain this in a logical perspective as the psychology of voters and their ideologies as to where power remains in still in question.

The Bush administration had their own ideologies in place; the tax-cut is said to have benefited only the rich and corporations across America. The benefits of the tax cut was not felt by the American people. It is important to understand that the regime had intentions of flourishing the lives of the American people but their actions never impacted to the progress of the state.  People living in poverty earning the minimum wage were recorded as 5.3 million Americans, the globalization of trade with other countries were not initiated, and the bad mortgages faced by America were among the ills of the Bush administration.

It is difficult to say that the Bush administration failed in the executing of its duties to the American people. It is important to recognize that leadership and cognitive bias are highly relatable, despite the failures in the Bush administration, the American people gladly voted him, and he won in a free and fair election. The bias that voters might have for a given leader may change over the years and eventually the cognitive bias is shifted to another political leader. Decisions are based objectives, priorities of the people and their admiration over a certain individual as a leader (Lieberfeld, 2005).

References

Bailis, R. (2014). 5 Cognitive Biases That Affect Your Work Success. [online] QuickBooks. Available at: http://quickbooks.intuit.com/r/psychology-of-success/5-cognitive-biases-affect-work-success/ [Accessed 23 Sep. 2016].

Dóci, E., Stouten, J. and Hofmans, J. (2015). The cognitive-behavioral system of leadership: cognitive antecedents of active and passive leadership behaviors. Frontiers in Psychology, 6.

Facts, G. (2016). George W. Bush - U.S. Presidents - HISTORY.com. [online] HISTORY.com. Available at: http://www.history.com/topics/us-presidents/george-w-bush [Accessed 23 Sep. 2016].

Leedconsulting.com.au. (2016). Decision Making & Cognitive Bias : Leed Consulting. [online] Available at: http://leedconsulting.com.au/developing-leaders/unconscious-cognition [Accessed 23 Sep. 2016].

Lieberfeld, D. (2005). THEORIES OF CONFLICT AND THE IRAQ WAR on JSTOR. [online] Jstor.org. Available at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/41852927?seq=1#fndtn-page_scan_tab_contents [Accessed 23 Sep. 2016].

Rathbone, P. (2011). Role of cognitive bias. BMJ, 342(may17 2), pp.d3047-d3047.

Soon, L. and Hani Nawaf Ibrahim, A. (2016). Assessment of cognitive bias in decision making and leadership styles among critical care nurses: A mixed methods study. J Adv Nurs.

Stiglitz, J. (2007). The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush. [online] The Hive. Available at: http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2007/12/bush200712 [Accessed 23 Sep. 2016].

Supplemental Material for Toward a Synthesis of Cognitive Biases: How Noisy Information Processing Can Bias Human Decision Making. (2011). Psychological Bulletin.

sheldon

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