Bias - Definition and Explanation

Bias – Definition and Explanation


In the realm of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), understanding and addressing Bias is crucial. Bias is a significant aspect of this discourse, but what exactly does it entail?


Listen to this article

Free DEI Research Briefings


Bias often stems from deeply ingrained societal stereotypes, cultural norms, personal experiences, and even institutional structures. These biases can seep into decision-making processes, leading to unfair treatment and perpetuating systemic inequalities.


Implicit Bias: Also known as unconscious bias, this type of bias operates outside of our conscious awareness. It influences our perceptions, attitudes, and actions towards others based on characteristics such as race, gender, or age.

Explicit Bias: Unlike implicit bias, explicit bias is consciously held and openly expressed. It involves deliberate discriminatory actions or beliefs against certain groups.


Bias can have profound consequences in various aspects of life, including education, employment, healthcare, and criminal justice. It can result in unequal opportunities, hinder career advancement, and contribute to feelings of exclusion and marginalisation among affected individuals or communities.


A pertinent example of bias in the UK can be observed in the recruitment process within organisations. Despite efforts to promote diversity and inclusion, studies have shown that CVs with traditionally British-sounding names are more likely to receive callbacks for job interviews compared to those with names perceived as foreign or ethnic. This demonstrates how unconscious biases can influence hiring decisions, perpetuating disparities in employment opportunities.

Addressing Bias in DEI Initiatives:

Recognising and mitigating bias is fundamental to fostering a more inclusive and equitable society. DEI initiatives aim to raise awareness about bias, provide training to identify and challenge it, and implement strategies to promote fair treatment and representation for all individuals.


Bias is a complex phenomenon deeply rooted in societal structures and individual perceptions. By acknowledging its existence and actively working to counteract it, we can create environments that value diversity, uphold equity, and foster inclusivity for everyone, regardless of their background or identity. Through concerted efforts in DEI initiatives, we can strive towards a more just and equitable society.


Delgado-Rodriguez, M., & Llorca, J. (2004). Bias. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 58(8), 635-641.

Smith, J., & Noble, H. (2014). Bias in research. Evidence-based nursing, 17(4), 100-101.

Pannucci, C. J., & Wilkins, E. G. (2010). Identifying and avoiding bias in research. Plastic and reconstructive surgery, 126(2), 619-625.



Be impressively well informed

Get the very latest research intelligence briefings, video research briefings, infographics and more sent direct to you as they are published

Be the most impressively well-informed and up-to-date person around...

Powered by ConvertKit
Like what you see? Help us spread the word