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Perception is the process of receiving, organizing and giving meaning to information obtained through five sensory receptors –eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin. It is an individual’s way of giving meaning to the impression they receive from the environment. An individual differs in the way he sees, interprets and understands a particular event. Perception can be regarded as the outcome of sensation and is much broader in its nature. Perception involves observing data, selecting, and organizing the data based on sensory reflects and interpreting them as per their personality attributes. It is the individual’s own view of the world. This is the very reason why the same information may be perceived by different individuals differently. Perception is defined as, “a process by which individuals organize and interpret their sensory impressions in order to give meaning to their environment.” (Robbins) Perception is a complex process. There exist several sub-processes which gives evidence of the complexity and interactive nature of perception. The figure below shows how these sub-processes relate to one another.
Interpretati on Feedback
Reinforcement/ Punishment or some organizational outcome
Overt or Covert
Fig: Sub process of perception
Application of Relation
Employees’ perception in organizational relation has great importance. Employees’ perception of his job, organizational structure and organization as a whole affects on his performance and his overall productivity. Similarly, the interpretation of any particular situation of an organization may be perceived differently by each individual employee. Application of perception in organizational relation can be better explained with attribution theory and shortcuts in perception. Attribution Theory Attribution theory is related to how people explain the cause of a behavior. This theory basically gives two causes for any behavior –internal and external causes. The former is related to individual while latter is related to the situation or environment. The three elements of attribution theory are distinctiveness, consensus and consistency. Following figure explains the attribution made for the poor performance of an employee in context to these three elements. Example of Organizational Behavior Attribution made Co-workers are also performing poorly on High Consensus this task The employee didn’t do this task well only this one time The employee does well in other task but not this one Co-workers are performing well in this task The employee never does this task well The employee does poorly on other tasks as well Low Consistency High Distinctiveness Low Consensus High Consistency Low Distinctiveness Internal (personal factors) Observation
External (situational or environment al factors)
To maintain proper organizational relation one should carefully observe the factors behind the behavior before attributing for the cause. Psychologists have recognized two potent attribution biases, fundamental attribution error which explains that people tend to ignore situational forces while explaining other’s behavior and selfserving bias which explains that people attribute successful to personal factors and failure to environmental factors. For example a boss may take credit for the success of a project while he may blame the situation or sub-ordinates for its failure.
Employee must try to be careful not to make such biases in order to maintain good organizational 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 to incorrect results. In an organization we should be very careful about these shortcuts when we analyze or evaluate an employee. Common shortcuts used in organizational context are: Halo effect Halo effect is drawing general impression of an individual based on a single characteristic such as intelligence, appearance, cooperativeness etc. Halo effect is very common in an organization during selection and performance appraisal. The rater can make an error in judging a person’s total personality and/or performance on the basis of single positive trait. Stereotyping Stereotyping is judging someone based on the perception of the group or community s/he belongs to. It can be based on gender, age, race, ethnicity etc. In an organization managers, laborers, old people, minorities, women are commonly stereotyped group. For example, a newly appointed manager may be characterized as authoritative, uncooperative, and exploitative by the sub-ordinates simply because he belongs to managerial class. Stereotyping should be minimized in an organizational as it can result into biased environment, inferiority anxiety, lower expectations and poor organizational relations. Contrast effect It is evaluation of a person’s characteristics in comparison with other people recently encountered. We perceive a person in relative to other. For example in an interview session, the contrast with previously interviewed candidate, an average qualification may look better or worse than they really are. Ethnocentrism Ethnocentrism is judging or comparing others based on one’s own culture, values and standard. It is the feeling of being one’s culture, values and standards superior to others. For example an American manager may not communicate openly with his Asian counterpart because he feels superior. Ethnocentric behavior is very much derogatory for organizational relation.
Concepts and Principles of Attitude
Attitudes are evaluative judgment or judgments concerning object, people or events. Attitude reflects how people feel about something. It may lie anywhere between like and dislike continuum. Attitudes are learnt over a period of time. It can be learnt from parents, teachers, friends or reference group members. It is however, less stable and can be changed. For example, if someone says that I like my job. This statement expresses his attitude towards his job. Each and every person has different attitude at different conditions. Attitude can be defined as, “Attitude are predisposed set of values and beliefs formed strongly or weakly towards an object, person, doctrine or any other tangible or intangible or intangible item.”
Components of Attitudes There are three components of attitude. These components form the attitude of a person towards Behavior Component Affective Components Cognitive components Fig: Components of Attitude Cognitive component: It refers that's part of attitude which is related in general know how of a person, for example, he says smoking is injurious to health. Such type of idea of a person is called cognitive component of attitude. Affective component: This part of attitude is related to the statement which affects another person which may be positive, negative or neutral. For example I don’t like him because he is not hard working or I like him because he is hard working. Behavior towards object, person or
Behavioral Component: The behavioral component refers to that part of attitude which reflects the intension of a person in short run or long run. Behavioral component of attitude is related to impact of various situations or objects that lead to individual’s behavior based on cognitive and affective components. While cognitive and affective component cannot be seen, behavioral component can be observed.
Application of Attitude in Maintaining Organizational Relation
Proper understanding of employees’ attitude is very important for the maintenance of organizational relation. Attitude determines job satisfaction and performance level of the individual employee. It helps people to adjust themselves in the work environment. Attitude related with workplace can be regarding: Job satisfaction: Job satisfaction is related to general attitude towards the job. A person having a high level of satisfaction will generally hold a positive attitude while dissatisfied people will generally display negative attitude towards life. When we talk about attitude, we generally speak about job satisfaction because they are inter-related in organizational relation. Job involvement: Job involvement refers to the degree to which a person identifies himself with his job, actively participates and considers his perceived performance level important to self-worth. High level of involvement indicates that the individual cares for his job that has an impact on high productivity. Higher level of the job involvement indicates favorable attitude towards the job which will lower absenteeism and employee turnover Organizational commitment: Organizational commitment refers to degree to which an employee identifies himself with the organizational goals and wishes to maintain membership in the organization. He wants to belong to the organization and take an active part in its functioning. Absenting or resigning from the job versus job satisfaction is a predictor of organizational commitment. Organizational commitment depends upon job enrichment factor and degree to which the workers enjoy autonomy and freedom of action while performing. Attitude of an employee is very crucial in maintaining proper organizational relation. Attitude of an employee should be maintained at positive level to achieve higher productivity level. Attitude of an employee also determines the individual behavior. The attitude of the employee must be properly studied and if needed, measures to change the negative attitude towards work, workplace or co-workers can be undertaken. Changing an attitude, however, is a challenging task. There can be various barriers in attitude change. These must be overcome.
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