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The generalist bias

  • Wang, Long
  • Keith Murnighan, J.
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    This research introduces the generalist bias – a tendency to reward and select people with general skills when complementary, specialized skills are needed. Five studies investigated its effects. Study 1 confirmed the existence of the bias in a context-free experiment. Study 2 showed that the compensation of players in NBA teams was related to their two- rather than their three-point scoring. Study 3 showed that basketball fans favored all-around players even when three-point shooters would better complement a team’s needs. Study 4 showed that the generalist bias occurred in HR recruiting, and Study 5 showed that companies often recruited specialists to handle multiple, unrelated jobs. In addition, studies 3 and 4 also showed that joint evaluations (comparing specialists and generalists side-by-side) strengthened the generalist bias, whereas separate evaluations weakened it.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

    Volume (Year): 120 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 47-61

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:120:y:2013:i:1:p:47-61
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