Irrationality in management

There is a fundamental flaw with how we; as humans, behave: We think our rules don’t apply to ourselves. We think we are above the peculiarities that explain those around us, and somehow we are a unique snowflake and these don’t apply to us. I also noticed this idea in Dan Ariely’s ‘Predictably Irrational’ when he wrote (not quoting) that readers of his books must be aware of their own irrationalities, rather than just identifying irrationalities in others.

This issue is significantly compounded in management and marketing. A case in point: A fellow MBA classmate of mine was adamant that consumers of Louis Vuitton bought the brand for its quality and craftsmanship. She forgot to admit, that she was an LV loyalist herself. Would she then base her management decisions (if she were an LV brand manager, perhaps) on her own justifications?

Marketers and managers, those current and aspiring, I have found are guilty of this consistently. Though they cannot be singled out (as we all are guilty of this) this peculiarity greatly affects the decisions that managers and marketers take. I have seen marketers apply all sorts of irrationality in their own buying decisions, but when they talk about “their consumers”, they believe that they make rational choices.

I believe that there is a simple way to fixing this: Understand that you are a consumer too. When you remove yourself from “consumers”, you tend to view them through a different lens. But when you accept that you too are a consumer, and make your own irrational decisions and post-rationalised justifications, you can truly identify your own buying behaviour and not have your understanding of your consumers clouded by this perception.

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