Biases in Talent Identification: A Quantitative Investigation of Contextual Influence

Talent management is crucial for organizational sustainability and competitive advantage. It includes the identification, development and retention of talented employees. However, little is known about what defines an effective talent identification process and how accurate decisions in the talent identification process are made such that individuals who are chosen as talents are indeed those who demonstrate abilities and skills in line with organization’s talent definition. There are different reasons for inaccurate decisions. For example, inaccurate decisions may result from biases. Biases are inclinations towards something, or a predisposition, prejudice or preference.

Content and objective of the research project:
The research project evaluates what kind of biases are relevant in talent identification, how they influence decision making in talent identification and how to deal with biases that are discriminating. Specifically, the focus is on the similarity bias. The similarity bias refers to the phenomenon of favoring or evaluating those who are similar to oneself as better than others who are not similar. Furthermore, the project examines the influence of contextual factors such as volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity also known as VUCA context.

Scientific and societal context:
The world is continuously changing – new technologies, globalization – and with it the societal expectations towards organizations. The quantitative research project aims to contribute to meeting the changing societal expectations, namely of having an effective and non-discriminatory talent identification.


Project leader: Naemi Jacob, MSc
Phone: +41 41 229 58 64

Project member: Marina Pletscher, MA
Phone: +41 41 229 58 69