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Prior to the meeting with the Volvo sales people I talked the decision over with my boss who reacts with disbelief and alarm. He states that "A Volvo! You've got to be kidding. My brother-in-law had a Volvo and the first thing that had to be replaced was the fancy fuel injection computer thing that went out on him. Then the transmission and clutch went out and had to be replaced. He had to finally sale it for junk with in three years." I will explain two parts to you. The first part will be the identification and explanation of heuristics in the reaction of my boss that resulted in his biased reaction. The second part I will tell you about how I intend to influence him of the merits of purchasing a Volvo. Following that I will conclude with my own thoughts and views.
The reaction of my boss is a prime example of the availability heuristic. He only had facts from one Volvo owner. He never said anything about knowing anyone else that had owned one before. The facts about this one Volvo were very negative which creates a negative bias towards all Volvo's. What has happened is that he has been swayed by information that is vivid and has created a bias decision by that information that he can easily recall (Plous, 1993). My boss's reaction is also an example of the representative heuristic as well. As stated before he has
only known of one bad experience of owning a Volvo and he is categorizing all Volvos as bad vehicles due to the one bad one. He was only presented with negative information and made a decision based on that never considering any research. This created a situation to where he made a quick judgment by representation (Plous, 1993).
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Influencing My Boss
I did do some additional research to double check my original research. I discovered that my original research is confirmed. To influence my boss's decision I am going to use the availability heuristic. Just like he did I will turn the information I use to be only positive facts about the Volvo and not one bad experience. Concrete evidence if you will, also known as vividness. Vividness will affect him more than statistics because it is more available (Plous, 1993). It is also easier to recall than negative information which can influence any judgment (Plous, 1993).
The two things I want to stress to him are the two things that we originally were looking at when purchasing these vehicles. The economic and longevity of Volvo's which will be the specific information I will try to sway him with. On the economical side there are a few things I would like to share with my boss. You can breath easier inside these vehicles and it is cleaner to the air outside. On the inside, Volvo's use certain material that won't trigger allergies or even give off toxins (Volvo Cars of North America, LLC, c. 2007). They also have an Interior Air Quality System for cleaner cabins. When it comes to the outside the Volvo's eliminate 95% to 99% of its carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbon emissions with their
treatments of the exhaust gases from their gasoline engines (Volvo Cars of North America, LLC, c. 2007).
On the quality side there are also some things I want to point out to my boss. These cars are designed for 85% recyclability and 95% recoverability. In 2003, Volvo was the fourth company and the first engine manufacturer in the world to receive the highly Prestigious Class Award for Total Productive Maintenance (Volvo Cars of North America, LLC, c. 2007). Several owners of a Volvo have formed a high mileage club in which each members Volvo has to be over 100,000 miles to join. One such fellow has over 2,000,000 miles and counting. I could not believe it when I read it but it is true. The paint job is something fierce. Before a Volvo can leave the manufacturer it is covered with seven coats of paint to help the look to be smooth and tough and long lasting (Volvo Cars of North America, LLC, c. 2007).
It really does seem to me that my boss just has a bias against Volvo's which is something I have had with Fords. But you know I own one today and wouldn't trade it for the world. My original decision was based on past personal experience which should never interfere with my decisions today from what I have learned from this experience. I have a feeling that when I share all the information I have gathered for him he will change his mind about this decision. I also think that he will see how valuable these vehicles can be for the company. I am ready to take this challenge.
Plous, S. (1993). The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making. USA; McGraw-Hill. Inc.
Volvo Cars of North America, LLC. (c. 2007). Experience Volvo retrieved 03/02/07 from www.volvocars.us.