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Perception and Attitude

Perception and Attitude

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Published by kiran7san

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Published by: kiran7san on May 23, 2010
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Concept and Principles of perception
Perception is the process of receiving, organizing and giving meaning to informationobtained through five sensory receptors –eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin. It is anindividual’s way of giving meaning to the impression they receive from theenvironment. An individual differs in the way he sees, interprets and understands aparticular event. Perception can be regarded as the outcome of sensation and ismuch broader in its nature. Perception involves observing data, selecting, andorganizing the data based on sensory reflects and interpreting them as per theirpersonality attributes. It is the individual’s own view of the world. This is the veryreason why the same information may be perceived by different individualsdifferently.Perception is defined as,
“a process by which individuals organize and interpret their sensory impressions in order to give meaning to their environment.”
Perception is a complex process. There exist several sub-processes which givesevidence of the complexity and interactive nature of perception. The figure belowshows how these sub-processes relate to one another.Fig: Sub process of perception
For clarification
Overt or Covert
Reinforcement/Punishment or someorganizational outcome
Application of Perception in Maintaining OrganizationalRelation
Employees’ perception in organizational relation has great importance. Employees’perception of his job, organizational structure and organization as a whole affectson his performance and his overall productivity. Similarly, the interpretation of anyparticular situation of an organization may be perceived differently by eachindividual employee. Application of perception in organizational relation can bebetter explained with attribution theory and shortcuts in perception.
Attribution Theory
Attribution theory is related to how people explain the cause of a behavior. Thistheory basically gives two causes for any behavior –internal and external causes. The former is related to individual while latter is related to the situation orenvironment. The three elements of attribution theory are distinctiveness,consensus and consistency. Following figure explains the attribution made for thepoor performance of an employee in context to these three elements. 
Example of Organizational BehaviorObservationAttribution made
 To maintain proper organizational relation one should carefully observe the factorsbehind the behavior before attributing for the cause. Psychologists have recognizedtwo potent attribution biases, fundamental attribution error which explains thatpeople tend to ignore situational forces while explaining other’s behavior and self-serving bias which explains that people attribute successful to personal factors andfailure to environmental factors. For example a boss may take credit for the successof a project while he may blame the situation or sub-ordinates for its failure. The employee doespoorly on other tasks aswell
Co-workers are alsoperforming poorly onthis task The employee didn’t dothis task well only thisone time The employee does wellin other task but notthis oneCo-workers areperforming well in thistask The employee neverdoes this task wellHigh ConsensusLow ConsistencyHighDistinctivenessLow ConsensusHighConsistencyLowDistinctivenessExternal(situationalorenvironmental factors)Internal(personalfactors)
Employee must try to be careful not to make such biases in order to maintain goodorganizational relation.
Shortcuts in Perception
People tend to apply many shortcut techniques while judging and analyzing others. These may make the task more manageable or save time but often leads toincorrect results. In an organization we should be very careful about these shortcutswhen we analyze or evaluate an employee. Common shortcuts used inorganizational context are:
Halo effect 
Halo effect is drawing general impression of an individual based on a singlecharacteristic such as intelligence, appearance, cooperativeness etc. Halo effect isvery common in an organization during selection and performance appraisal. Therater can make an error in judging a person’s total personality and/or performanceon the basis of single positive trait.
Stereotyping is judging someone based on the perception of the group orcommunity s/he belongs to. It can be based on gender, age, race, ethnicity etc. Inan organization managers, laborers, old people, minorities, women are commonlystereotyped group. For example, a newly appointed manager may be characterizedas authoritative, uncooperative, and exploitative by the sub-ordinates simplybecause he belongs to managerial class. Stereotyping should be minimized in anorganizational as it can result into biased environment, inferiority anxiety, lowerexpectations and poor organizational relations.
Contrast effect 
It is evaluation of a person’s characteristics in comparison with other peoplerecently encountered. We perceive a person in relative to other. For example in aninterview session, the contrast with previously interviewed candidate, an averagequalification may look better or worse than they really are.
Ethnocentrism is judging or comparing others based on one’s own culture, valuesand standard. It is the feeling of being one’s culture, values and standards superiorto others. For example an American manager may not communicate openly with hisAsian counterpart because he feels superior. Ethnocentric behavior is very muchderogatory for organizational relation.

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