FEB 4, 2011 10:12am ET

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Why Isn’t Our Data Quality Worse?

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In psychology, the term negativity bias is used to explain how bad evokes a stronger reaction than good in the human mind. Don’t believe that theory? Compare receiving an insult with receiving a compliment – which one do you remember more often?

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Comments (1)
Only one term comes to mind; psychobabble. We're talking about BAD data. Reminds me of the joke "it's not a bug, it's a feature". For a practical matter, in most cases the data is worse than perceived but most people just don't know it is. Interventions are required to wean the organization off their drug of choice regardless of whether it is; ignorance, apathy, naivete, of other psycho-pharmaceutical.

The reason there is some degree of data quality in organizations is incidental. It is a result of software design, database design, workarounds, manual intervention and luck! It was obviously not "data quality by design". Congratulating ourselves because of results that were inadvertent is false praise and even according to the pop- psychologists, this is bad behavior. False praise is worse than both insults or praise.

If you want to placate the audience, tell them what a great job their doing. If you want the audience to improve, tell them how to improve.

Data quality is required because of dirty, filthy, disgusting data. And those working to improve data quality are in a dirty business. It's not the kind of job for the squeamish or Pollyanna's. Join marketing if you want to practice those traits!

Posted by Richard O | Wednesday, February 09 2011 at 2:47PM ET
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