Corporate Cognitive Dissonance

cognitive dissonance

Organizations want to believe they are doing enough when it comes to IT asset disposal. Naturally, none want to believe they aren’t, especially when it comes to privacy protection.

Too often, however, cognitive dissonance prevents an objective assessment of actual achievement. Unfortunately, organizations unwilling to examine the facts are unwittingly increasing their liability and legal exposure.

People are very good at rationalizing. Physiologist Leon Festinger famously showed that, when confronted with challenging new information, most people seek to preserve their current understanding of the world. In order to avoid the discomfort, they reject new information, discount the impact of new information, or convince themselves that no conflict really exists.

Here are a few familiar examples of cognitive dissonance…

  • Overeating – Paul knows he shouldn’t eat another piece of pizza, but he rationalizes it by saying he’ll make up for indulging today by eating less tomorrow.
  • Smoking – Stanley knows that smoking is bad for his health, but he rationalizes it by saying everyone dies of something.
  • Faking sick days – Frank justifies the extra time off because he’s underpaid and overworked.

Here are a few examples of cognitive dissonance at play with ITAD…

  • Virtuous employees don’t want to think about other employees stealing retired computers.
  • Discerning employees don’t want to think about getting duped by their disposal vendor.
  • Experts don’t want to think about being uniformed about the Carmack Amendment.
  • Systematic employees don’t want to think about discovering certain assets are actually missing.

It is perfectly natural to discount discomforting ideas. Privacy safeguards and controls are necessary because cognitive dissonance exists.

We’ll, that and because they are required by law. And obviously you never break the law (it is not *really* speeding if you drive 64 in a 55).

If there is anything I can do to be of service to you, please just say the word.