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Managing Individual Differences & Behavior. Supervising People as People. First law of human behavior: “People are different. What one person considers a golden opportunity another considers a threat.”. Perception. Process of interpreting and understanding one’s environment

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Managing individual differences behavior

Managing Individual Differences & Behavior

Supervising People as People

Managing individual differences behavior


  • Process of interpreting and understanding one’s environment

  • Individuals organize and interpret information from their environments using perceptual filters

    • personality, psychology, experience, preferences, beliefs-based differences

  • Objective vs. perceived realities


  • People perceive the world uniquely

  • Differences in perceptions can cause problems

    • Communication

    • Conflict

    • Motivation

    • Judgment

    • Decision Making

Social perception
Social Perception

How we gather information about the social world--about peoples’ behavior, moods, motives, and traits

Similar to object perception, but

  • People are more dynamic than objects

  • We’re trying to figure out intentions, motives, and causes of behavior

Causal attribution
Causal Attribution

Why did they do that?

  • internal causes

    • traits

    • skills

    • abilities

  • external causes

    • situational constraints

Errors biases in social perception
Errors/Biasesin Social Perception

  • Fundamental Attribution Error

    • The tendency to attribute others' bad performance to internal causes &

    • Attribute their good performance to external causes

  • Self-serving bias

    • attribute successes to ourselves - internal

    • attribute failures to the environment – external

Distortions in perception
Distortions in Perception

  • Review PA

    • Halo, contrast, Primacy/recency etc.

  • Selective perception

    • filter out information that is discomforting, that seems irrelevant, or that contradicts one’s beliefs or expectations

  • Closure

    • tendency to fill in the gaps when information is missing

    • Assume what we don’t know is consistent with what we do know

Distortions in perception1
Distortions in Perception

  • Stereotyping

    • tendency to attribute to an individual the characteristics one believes are typical of the group to which that individual belongs

    • Sex-role, age, race/ethnicity

Self fulfilling prophecy
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

  • Self-Fulfilling prophecy

    • the phenomenon in which people’s expectations of themselves or others lead them to behave in ways that make those expectations come true

    • Also called the Pygmalion effect

Perception implications
Perception Implications

  • Increase the accuracy of your own perceptions.

    • Conscious information processing

    • Ask yourself about the bias

    • Reality testing—Check your assumptions

      • Ask questions (and let them answer)

      • Look for information that disconfirms your beliefs

      • 360 feedback

      • Know your people

Perception implications1
Perception Implications

  • Leaders must be attuned to:

    • The perceived realities and attributions of their team

    • The fact that perceived and objective realities may not mesh

    • The idea that people respond to the perceived reality

  • Managers must eliminate differences between employees’ perceived and objective reality.

  • Have high (yet realistic) expectations


Relatively stable, unique set of traits and attributes that that give a person his/her identity and determine his/her preferences and behavior.

Why consider personality?

The big five canoe conscientiousness
THE “BIG FIVE” (CANOE):Conscientiousness

  • The degree to which a person is dependable, responsible, thorough, perseverant

  • Most consistent personality predictor of performance

  • Also predicts lack of problem behavior

The big five agreeableness
THE “BIG FIVE”: Agreeableness

  • The extent to which a person is polite, good natured, flexible, cooperative, trusting.

  • May predict job performance in jobs…

The big five neuroticism emotional stability
THE “BIG FIVE”:Neuroticism (Emotional Stability)

  • The degree to which a person is anxious, depressed, moody, emotionally unstable, temperamental.

  • May predict job performance in what type of jobs?

The big five openness
THE “BIG FIVE”: Openness

  • The degree to which a person is imaginative, curious, flexible, open to change.

  • May predict job performance where?

The big five extraversion
THE “BIG FIVE”: Extraversion

  • The degree to which a person is sociable, talkative, assertive, active, ambitious.

  • May predict job performance in what type of jobs?

Self esteem

  • How perceive themselves overall: abilities, competencies, and effectiveness

  • High self esteem is related to higher performance, commitment, loyalty, and longevity.

  • What can managers do to foster high self esteem?

Self efficacy

  • Belief in one’s ability to do a task

  • Learned helplessness

Locus of control

  • How much people believe they control their fate through their own efforts.

    • Internal

    • External

  • Why is locus of control important?

    • Response to supervision and structure?

    • Satisfaction?

    • Performance?

    • Incentive Systems?

  • How might a manager influence employees’ locus of control?

Emotional intelligence
Emotional Intelligence

  • Ability to detect, express, and manage emotion in oneself and others.


(Social Competence)


(Personal Competence)


of emotions


of emotions

Emotional intelligence1
Emotional Intelligence

  • Some suggest that EI is the best predictor of work success

  • It’s “learnable”

  • It’s related to communication, motivation (self and others), effective leadership

    (Hendrie Weisinger, “Emotional Intelligence at Work” (Jossey-Bass, 1998).