When experience leads to wrong decision: the illusion of control


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Experience means experiencing success and failure. Some fail, others will be a success. But what is the cause of success or failure? If experience leads to wrong decision: The illusion of control misjudgment3

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Here writes for you: PD Dr. York Hagmayer is Academic Councilor at the University of Göttingen. Profile

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Too many cooks spoil the broth

Overview

Some projects fail or are done more badly than right. Others develop excellently and become the basis for further, profitable transactions. But what is the cause of success or failure?

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An honest answer would be that a large number of factors always have an influence. Even in projects that are managed by one person, other people and the environment have a huge impact on the outcome.

The illusion of control

Overview

Software developers rely on the solutions and ideas of other developers, business consultants are dependent on the cooperation and cooperation of the customer, sellers are successful depending on the product, customer and competitive situation.

Although we have only limited influence on success or failure, we are often subject to an illusion of control. That is, we believe that we are the ones who determine the outcome decisively. And the longer we are successful, the more the impression is strengthened.

When illusion increases the motivation

Overview

Why does such an illusion lead to control? On the one hand, it makes us strive to achieve our goals. It increases our motivation and stamina. So this episode is positive.

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On the other hand, the illusion of control leads to the probability of success being overstepped and important influencing factors not sufficiently taken into account. This can have negative consequences.

Everything depends on us?

Overview

Take a salesman who believes everything depends on him. If the market becomes more difficult, for example, because the competition offers more attractive products, such a salesperson can reduce sales because he underestimates the impact of peer-to-peer communications, social networks, or anything as trivial as service around the product.

Instead of using the positive effect of other factors to his advantage, he tries to score points only by his own effort.

Successes are homemade?

Overview

Actually, experience should teach us how great our impact on success and failure is. Sadly, this is not the case. We tend to attribute successes to us personally. We believe that success has been achieved through our knowledge, our competence and our effort. That is why we can be proud of what has been achieved.

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On the other hand, we like to attribute failures to other or adverse circumstances. In this case, we are happy to give up control and thus responsibility. This has the psychologically positive consequence that we have to feel less guilty and our competence is not questioned. Since the number of achievements is usually much greater than the failures, we can continue to believe that we can control our success.

Do not waste your resources meaninglessly

Overview

So should we try to assess our impact on success and failure? Since the illusion of the control also has positive consequences for the motivation, there is no objection to a slight overestimation.

But it becomes critical when we waste our energy and our resources senselessly. Many dice players lose their money because they believe they can control the dice. In contrast, poker players are often successful because they are aware of their influence on the game outcome.

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