The Importance of Objectivity and Bias in Business Communication

13 Feb

In today’s world, information is often communicated in a biased, non-objective way from one person to the next. Whether it’s in the communication of news in social media or just a conversation between two people, bias can purposely or inadvertently be conveyed in communication. What’s more, people’s emotions or opinions can come across in discussions in the workplace, speeches to groups of people, or other forms of communication. Because of this, they can mislead their audience and consequently lose credibility or reveal negative personal traits. How exactly can bias have negative consequences for a business?

When it comes to the business world, bias could be seen as simply unprofessional and could potentially have negative consequences for a business. From their reputation with clients, the public, or staff, a company could suffer from not maintaining an objective non-biased presentation of information. Wording in e-mails, between co-workers, memos, etc. has the potential to demonstrate bad bias. Instances such as gendered pronouns, terminology, or racial references could set off crisis by offending employees or causing employees to feel undervalued. In reference to the public, companies must be careful as not to offend or isolate a segment of people through bias. However, in this way, bias could potentially benefit a company, depending on their overarching goals. An instance of this that I found interesting was a commercial for a product made by Dr. Pepper: Dr. Pepper 10. This commercial blatantly states that its product, which is essentially a diet beverage, is intended only for men, thus cutting off its market to women. On the one hand, this could prove detrimental to Dr. Pepper’s overall perception by women; on the other, it could boost its consumption by men. Consequently, this could go either way in benefitting or impairing the company’s overall perception in the public.

Essentially, what comes of this is that companies must be careful with how they communicate, as it influences their reputation. Thus, bias although it generally is viewed as negative and certainly can be so, it also has the potential to be used in a beneficial way for the company.

by A. J. Hong

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