Gender Diversity Glossar

An alphabetical collection of the most common terms in connection with gender diversity.


This term describes the cognitive distortion of perception , like for example prejudices and stereotypes. Bias can occur consciously and/or unconsciously (= Unconscious Bias).

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation Bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs or hypotheses.

It is more likely to perceive information that confirms one’s own opinion than information that contradicts it. Wason (1960)

Conformity Bias

We agree preferable with the opinion of the majority.


A discrimination is a positive or negative behavior towards members of different social groups.

While we can consciously control certain cognitive distortions such as prejudices and stereotypes, this becomes much more challenging with Unconscious Biases (our unconscious assumptions). These often escape our control mechanism and therefore lead to unconscious discrimination. This type of discrimination can affect both individuals and organisations, which can lead to inherent logic, certain procedures and practices. This affects the behavior of employees towards certain groups with far-reaching consequences for personnel processes, for example in the selection of personnel or assessment of the employees. Wondrak (2014)


This term stands for a colorful working world with employees, who differ in a multitude of visible and invisible features. The diversity of a person is normally considered in the following dimension: Culture (ethnicity), age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion (ideology). The diversity management is a method of personnel management that aims to use the diversity of employees constructively and profitably.

Gardenswartz and Rowe (2002)


The way an information is presented, influences our perception.

Frequency Effect

Informations that occur frequently or often are easier to retrieve, which leads us to believe that they are „true“.


This effect causes us to notice other positive things/attributes of a persons of whom we already have a positive impression. Because of that we form correlations to attributes that are completely independent. Hucke (2016)


The word „heuristics“ has its origin in the greek term „heuriskein“, which can be translated as „find“ or „discover“. Heuristics are mental strategies, rules and abbreviations that help us to decide and judge with limited knowledge and time. Very often we are not aware that we use heuristics because our brain is on autopilot. Nevertheless, it is also possible to use heuristics consciously and purposefully. Heuristics can be distinguished from decisions that are based on the laws of logic, probability or the maximization of expected benefits. Michalkiewicz (2015)

Hierarchy effect

The hierarchy effect is expressed by the fact that the appraisers rate those employees better who are ranked higher than other employees who are ranked lower in the hierarchy. Becker (2002)


Inclusion stands for a feeling of belonging somewhere/to something. The aim is to create an environment that welcomes differences by valuing and giving equal opportunities to different people with different chances. Broadly defined this shows/indicates that the term „inclusion“ is equal to the term „equality of opportunity“.

Diversity is the composition, inclusion means to ensure that this works. Metaphorically speaking one could say that diversity is the invitation to the party and inclusion is the invitation to dance. It is therefore crucial no only to employ different people in the company, but also to create the framework conditions, in order to ensure that people experience appreciation, have equal opportunities and work together successfully. Hucke (2017)

In- and Outgroup

The social psychology defines the „Ingroup“ as a group to which we belong due to demographical qualities or personal relations. Contrary to that we have nearly nothing in common with the „outgroup“ nor do we feel connected to them.

In the D&I (diversity and inclusion) context the Ingroup is usually referred to as a group that has important positions of power and can therefore (also unconsciously) favor other members. Personal characteristics of members of an Outgroup, such as gender for example, deny those people the access to the „Circle of Power“. Hucke (2017)


A nudge is a method of influencing behavioral decision-making in a simple, cost-effective way without reducing choices. In the context of gender diversity, opportunities are sought to reduce Unconscious Bias through an appropriate design. Thaler and Sunstein (2009)

Overconfidence Bias

The correctness/accuracy of one’s own judgement tends to be overestimated.


Prejudices are in comparison to stereotypes associated with feelings and emotions. They are personal negative and positive judgements about certain groups. By believing that stereotypes must be true, they become prejudices. Wondrack (2014)

Pygmalion- or Rosenthal-Effect

This effect describes the fact that „pre-assumptions“ can influence the result of the outcome dramatically. Furthermore, the effect is also known as a self-fulfillment.

Rapid Cultural Fit

A person is hired in an interview only after having answered a few questions, because the person is a perfect fit for the company. This decision is based on few informations and the appearance of the person (mostly those are associated directly with the person). Wondrack (2014)

Similarity Bias

When a person posses the same attributes as yourself, this creates sympathy and trust towards the other person.


A stereotype is a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing. It is the basis for all prejudices. Huck (2016) sees the main reason, why stereotypes are extremely difficult to overcome, in the following mechanisms:  heurisitcs (listed above) and the tendency of our brain to chose the simplest and fastest way. This can lead us to focus our attention on information that confirms our assumptions and stereotypes and thereby strengthen them further, instead of replacing them or adding new information. However, if we encounter inconsistent information, we often make it appropriate by applying different standards. For example, an exact same behavior may be regarded as determined in one person, but aggressive in an other. Certain characteristics are associated with personality features, such as that women for example have no understanding in technique or men with a light handshake must be gay. Hucke (2017)


Becker, F. G. (2002). Lexikon des Personalmanagements. Über 1000 Begriffe zu Instrumenten, Methoden und rechtlichen Grundlagen betrieblicher Personalarbeit.2. Aufl. DTV-Beck.

Gardenswartz, A. und Rowe L, (2003). Diverse Teams at Work. 2. Aufl.

Hucke, V. (2017). Mit Vielfalt und Fairness zum Erfolg – Praxishandbuch für Diversity and Inclusion im Unternehmen.

Wondrak, M. (2014) Unconscious Bias Definition – Stereotypen und unbewusste Vorturteile auf

Wason, P. C. (1960).On the failure to eliminate hypotheses in a conceptual task. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 12, 129-140.

Thaler, R.H. und Sunstein C.R. (2009)Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness, Penguin

Michalkiewicz, M. (2015). Wie Heuristiken uns helfen Entscheidungen zu treffen