chapter  7
The Three Faces of Overconfidence in Organizations
ByDon Moore, Samuel A. Swift
Pages 38

Plous (1993) wrote that “no problem in judgment and decision making is more prevalent and more potentially catastrophic than overconfidence” (p. 217). His words ring true when we consider the role of overconfident beliefs in the events leading up to the economic crisis and stock market crash of 2008. Consumers fed a huge housing bubble by taking out larger mortgages than they could afford. Their willingness to take such risks was based on their optimism about the housing market continuing to go up. Mortgage brokers quickly came up with innovative mortgage products to serve the growing market. They made no income nor assets (NINA), and then no income, no job, and no assets (NINJA) loans, apparently confident that the big banks would keep buying these loans and packaging them into collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). Brokers realized that these loans were risky, but many believed that if the market began to unravel they would be able to get out more quickly than would others.