Supplement | HBS Case Collection | March 2011

BioPasteur: Instructions for the group discussion

by Giovanni Gavetti and Francesca Gino


The purpose of this exercise is to let students experience a few biases that can be deleterious to strategic decision-making. In particular, students are induced to fall into a confirmatory trap, and to experience other biases such as anchoring and sampling bias. Although the exercise can be performed individually, it is a better vehicle to explore how some team-level dynamics and structural choices can either increase or reduce the probability of falling into such biases. The exercise creates a situation that mirrors the one leading to the Challenger disaster.

Keywords: Decision Making; Groups and Teams; Prejudice and Bias; Strategy;


Gavetti, Giovanni, and Francesca Gino. "BioPasteur: Instructions for the group discussion." Harvard Business School Supplement 711-510, March 2011.