Analysis of Heuristics
Dale Rice

Manage Difficult Conversations 21TW4

Date: June 09, 2021

Analysis of Heuristics

Impact of Heuristics on Workplace Interaction

Workplace relationships become successful when layers understand each other’s conduct. Heuristics play an important role in orienting these relationships and interactions in the workplace. Heuristics are usually deployed when there is limited information in a relationship, and there is room for people to make judgments and choices on how they will interact with each other (Ceschi et al., 2019). The case study provided shows the impact of heuristics in workplace interactions. In this case, the employees work in the right environment. There is no time for social relationships, and people have room to make their judgments without consultation or creating time to understand each other. The case also shows a lack of compatibility between the organizational culture and individuals’ culture. In this paper, I will analyze how heuristics affected workplace interactions and how the mismatch between individual and organizational culture led to the termination of Kareem.
The first element of heuristics is Kareem’s failure to communicate about his religious beliefs. As a committed employee, he did not want any special treatment from the company and imagined that he would be sneaking to pray without anyone noticing. Since he did not communicate about his religious beliefs. Everyone saw what he was doing as weird. The lack of communication created room for employees to make cognitive shortcuts and report him to the management that led to his firing. If Kareem had communicated about his religious beliefs, there is a possibility that the company would understand and accommodate him. It was wrong for him to start practicing religion while at work without informing the management about the demands of his religion. Therefore, the shortcut he took contributed to his firing.
The actions taken by colleagues were also heuristic. When Michael watched him washing hands and feet and going to pray, Michael did not take his time to ask Kareem about the whole thing. Instead, he believed the most appropriate action was to report him to the supervisor, Janet. Similarly, Janet did not take the initiative to talk to Kareem about his practices and how they may influence his productivity and job success. Janet, like Michael, watched Kareem for a while before reporting him to Thomas. Janet was the supervisor, and as expected, she would have engaged Kareem before deciding to report the matter to Thomas. Since the workplace condition is tough and intolerant, Janet did not spare. She feared for her job, too, and she felt the most important step was to report Kareem to Thomas. Also, Janet noticed that Kareem’s numbers were dropping despite him being committed to his work and offering the best services to the employees. Janet admits that there is no time for conversations in their company, and new employees are not appraised as they focus on productivity.
Thomas, the call center manager, also makes significant heuristic strides. Despite being productive and recording success in his work, he does not transfer the appropriate mentality to the employees. Employees have to make judgments and make choices without any direction from Thomas. Thomas only focuses on ensuring the call center records the best results for ABC Corporation. He does not create time to motivate employees or communicate the company’s expectations to them. He does not invest time to recognize employees’ special needs because he focuses on the best interests of the company and not employees. Thomas creates a culture that does not encourage open communication or concern for others. All the employees are concerned with the productivity of the call center. The focus creates fear among employees, and the best thing they could do when they noticed Kareem’s weird behaviour was to report him.
Heuristics also surrounds the decision to fire Kareem and the victim’s decision to consult the attorney. Thomas did not engage with Kareem at any point. He decided to terminate Kareem without consulting with Kareem or his supervisor. When Janet was informed about the termination, she did not question why Thomas decided to terminate Kareem. According to Janet, Thomas does not tolerate anything that will affect the company’s productivity. Although the colleagues remember Kareem as a nice and dedicated employee, Thomas could not consider all these factors. According to Thomas, anyone who does not meet the expectations in terms of call numbers does not deserve a chance to work there. When Kareem was informed about the termination, he did not spend any time trying to explain himself to Thomas. Instead, he was frustrated and left the office. Thomas made a premature decision that Kareem could not handle the work and pressure at the call center, and the best decision was to terminate him. If there were conversations in this center there is a possibility Kareem would not have been terminated.

How cultural differences influenced the conflict

Culture plays a predominant role in the conflict situation between Thomas and the employees. The root cause of the whole conflict is the cultural identity of Kareem. As a Muslim, he was supposed to pray five times a day. His culture was unique compared to other employees, and that is why it caused some attention. Michael reports that he observed his behaviour as weird. Since Muslim was not part of the company culture, it was challenging to accommodate Kareem, whose cultural demands are a bit out of the company’s expectations. None of the employees was willing to accommodate the cultural demands of Kareem. Kathy, who was a closer friend and a bit understanding, told Kareem to be careful because she understood the religion would cost him his job. The barrier also exists because Kareem does not understand how his cultural identity can be a threat to his job success.
The company culture also fuelled conflict in this situation. The culture does not tolerate conversations and allows supervisors and managers to make decisions without any efforts to understand employees and maybe make considerate decisions. The employees do not establish social relationships that can help them understand each other. There is no evaluation of new employees and therefore makes it challenging to understand their strengths and needs. The organizational culture does not seem accommodative of personal life since the focus is on performance and productivity. No one in the organization cares for another one, and anyone who does not meet the performance expectations is considered ineffective and unproductive.


The analysis above shows that heuristics la a significant role in shaping the interaction between people in a workplace setting. Although heuristics can influence effective decisions, they can turn out to be harmful when decisions are made under uncertain conditions (Houben et al., 2018). In the case study provided, employees made shortcut decisions because they did not want to invest their time in conversations and get time to understand the other party’s perspective. Michael chose to report Kareem to Janet, the supervisor, without engaging Kareem. Janet also chose to watch Kareem and report him to Thomas without creating time to understand what exactly is going on. On his part, Thomas, after watching and ascertaining that the allegations are true, decided to terminate Kareem without any consultations and conversations. Kareem, who felt offended and perceived the treatment as unfair, did not explain himself to the employer. Instead, he left the office and considered seeking the services of an attorney. All the consequences people experience in this case would have been avoided with communication and more informed judgments.

Ceschi, A., Costantini, A., Sartori, R., Weller, J., & Di Fabio, A. (2019). Dimensions of decision-making: an evidence-based classification of heuristics and biases. Personality and Individual Differences, 146, 188-200.
Houben, D., Fohn, A., Löhrer, M., Altepost, A., Rezaey, A., & Gloy, Y. S. (2018). Comprehensive Heuristic for Research on Assistance systems in Organizational Contexts. In Developing Support Technologies (pp. 177-189). Springer, Cham.
WCM 620 Final Project Case Study



Analysis of Heuristics

Dale Rice







June 09, 2021


Analysis of Heuristics
Dale Rice
Manage Difficult Conversations 21TW4

Date: June 09, 2021

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