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Perceptual Process • We perceive through our senses – feeling, hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting • What affects the way we perceive: • Characteristics of the object like size, intensity, novelty, repetition etc. • Characteristics of the context or situation like time, work setting, social setting • Characteristics of the perceiver like attitudes, motives, interests, biases, expectations
Attributions • A perceptual process whereby observers decide what caused the behavior of another person. • Causes of people’s behavior are said to be either internal to the person (personality, emotions, motives, ability) or external of the person (other people, the situation, luck or chance).
Attribution Theory • As we observe other’s behavior we can make either an • Internal Attribution • External Attribution
Kelley’s Attribution Rules • Consistency – the extent to which the person behaves in the same manner on other occasions when faced with the same situations. Does the person respond the same way over time? If so, likely to make an internal attribution
Attribution Rules • Distinctiveness – the extent to which the person acts in the same manner in different situations. Is the behavior unusual or distinctive? If so, likely to make an external attribution
Attribution Rules • Consensus – the extent to which others, faced with the same situation, behave in manner similar to the person perceived. Is everyone who is faced with a similar situation responding in the same way? If so, likely to make an external attribution
Attribution Rules • Internal Attribution is made when: • High consistency – the observed person behaved this way in the past (consistent over time) • Low distinctiveness – the observed person behaves like this in different situations • Low consensus – other people don’t behave this way in this situation
Attribution Rules • External Attribution is made when: • Low consistency – the observed person’s behavior is not consistent over time • High distinctiveness – the observed person’s behavior is unusual or distinctive • High consensus – other people are behaving this way in the same situation
Attribution Example 1 You are the accounting manager at a manufacturing plant and observe, Bob, one of your accountants, fails to turn in this month’s budget report on time. Using the attribution rules, what questions might you ask yourself?
Attribution Example 1 Con’t Have other employees also turned in their reports late? Or, how often do other people act this way in this situation? Consensus Has Bob turned in other reports late or just this one? Or, how often does he act this way regarding other reports? Distinctiveness Has Bob turned in this budget report late in past months? Or, how often has he acted this way in the past? Consistency
Attribution Example 1 Con’t External Attribution: Many employees were late turning in their monthly reports (high consensus); Bob was late turning in this report but not other ones or he didn’t act this way in other situations (high distinctiveness); and he’s usually not late turning in this budget report or hasn’t been in the past (low consistency)
Attribution Example 2 You are the manager of HR in a large firm and an employee visits your office complaining about his supervisor’s management practices and the way he interacts with employees. You are trying to decide whether or not the employee’s complaints seem reasonable enough to investigate. Using the Attribution rules, what questions might you ask yourself?
Attribution Example 2 Con’t Have other employees also complained? Consensus Does the employee complain about everything and all supervisors or just this one? Distinctiveness Has this employee complained about this before or is this the first time? Consistency
Attribution Example 2 Con’t Internal Attribution: No one else has complained (low consensus); this employee complains about everything and everyone ( low distinctiveness); and has done so now and in the past (high consistency)
Attribution Errors • Fundamental Attribution Error • Underestimating the impact of environmental factors when observing undesirable behaviors. Attributing behavior of other people to internal factors (their motivation/ability) • Self-Serving Bias • Attributing our successes to internal factors and our failures to external factors
Other Perceptual Errors or Biases • Selective Perception – people selectively interpret what they see on the basis of their interests, background, experience, and attitudes • Halo Effect – drawing a general impression about an individual on the basis of a single characteristic • Projection – similar to me. Attributing one’s own characteristics to other people • Stereotyping – judging someone based on your perceptions of the group to which he or she belongs
Implications of Attributions on Decision Making • Generally speaking, management tends to disproportionately attribute employees’ behavior to internal causes • Managers tend to be more strict and often punish employees more severely when they attribute poor performance to a lack of effort or motivation
Implications Con’t • When poor performance is attributed to a lack of ability, managers tend to propose training or transfer rather than disciplinary actions • Employees often receive larger pay increases or bonuses when good performance is attributed to the employee’s ability rather than external factors
Applications to Organizations • Employment Interview • Performance Appraisal • Decision Making – interpretation and evaluation of information