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New Information Technology and Implicit Bias


In this paper, we perform a review of relatively recent empirical research that relates new information technology to biased thinking. Based on this review, we develop a framework that suggests a number of implicit associations (i.e., unconscious linkages between phenomena, such as “women are nurturing”) that relate new information technology to a variety of attitudes held by both organizational decision makers and average users of such information technology (e.g., “new information technology is superior to older information technology”). Our framework proposes a set of three underlying beliefs about new information technology (that new information technology is mysterious, nonhuman, and complex) that may underlie the implicit attitudes and biased thinking we identified. These underlying beliefs suggest that biases related to new information technology are distinct, in important ways, from most interpersonal biases studied in organizations. Given these findings, we suggest an agenda for future research that may enhance our ability to understand and mitigate biases related to new information technology in organizational settings.

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