Status Quo Bias

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Description of Status Quo Bias. Explanation.


Definition Status Quo Bias. Description.

The Status Quo Bias is the human tendency to like things to stay relatively the same. The current situation is taken as the reference point, and any change from that baseline is perceived as a loss. Assumptions of longevity (long lasting), goodness as well as inertia (resistance to change) are said to be contributing factors to status quo bias.


Note we are dealing with a bias: an irrational preference for the current state of affairs. It is not the same as a rational preference for the state of affairs, such as is the case when the current situation is objectively better than the available alternatives.


Also we should separate SQB from a situation in which insufficient or incorrect information is the source of problems.

This type of cognitive bias in judgment and decision making is similar to anchoring and confirmation bias. In reality, it will often occur combined with other distortions in human thinking, such as loss aversion bias


SQB is particularly relevant for change managers, organizational development specialists, management consultants, strategists and project and program managers.

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Compare also: Appreciative Inquiry

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