Business Administration 2295F/G Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Stereotype

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MOS Chapter 3 Reading Notes:
Perception, Attribution and Diversity
Perception is the process of interpreting the messages of our sense to provide order and
meaning to the environment. It helps us sort out and organize the complex and varied
input received by our senses. **Perception can be different than reality!
1. The Perceiver- as a perceiver, one’s experience, needs and emotions can affect his
or her perceptions of a target. Past experiences leader the perceiver to develop
expectations, which affect current perceptions. *Perceptual defense is the tendency
for the perceptual system to defend the perceiver against unpleasant emotions
2. The Target- perception involves the addition of meaning to the target, and
ambiguous targets are especially susceptible to interpretation and addition. Note that
a reduction in ambiguity does not always result in greater accuracy of perception.
3. The Situation- every instance of perception occurs in some situational context,
and this context can affect what one perceives. (eg. the situation could provide
additional information about the target)
people form perceptions of themselves based on their personal characteristics and
memberships in social categories.
our sense of self is based on our personal identity (our unique personal
characteristics eg. our interests, abilities) and our social identity (the social groups
we belong to eg. gender, race, occupation)
once a category is chosen, we see members of that group as embodying the most
typical attributes of that category (prototypes)
we also form perceptions of others based on their memberships in social
1. Unfamiliar target encountered
2. Openness to target cues (observation; search for information)
3. Familiar cues encountered
4. Target categorized
5. Cue selectivity
6. Categorization strengthened
Note: Perception is selective, constant (tendency for target to be perceived in the same
way over time and across situations) and consistent (tendency to select, ignore, and
distort cues to create a homogenous picture of the target).
Primacy and Recency Effects: primacy effect refers to our tendency to rely on cues we
encounter early in a relationship and has a lasting impact. Recency effect occurs when
people give undue weight to the cues they encountered most recently
Reliance on Central Traits: central traits are personal characteristics of a target person that
are of particular interest to a perceiver and these traits carry more weight. (eg.
attractiveness is usually a central trait and attractive people are more likely to experience
success in a workplace)
Implicit Personality Theories: personal theories that people have about which personality
characteristics go together (eg. you expect hardworking people to be honest)
Projection: tendency to attribute one’s own thoughts and feelings to others
Stereotyping: tendency to generalize about people in a certain social category and ignore
variations among them. Includes three specific aspects:
We distinguish some category of people
We assume that the individuals in this category have certain traits
We perceive that everyone in this category possess these trait
*stereotyping is reinforced because if helps process information about others quickly and
it is also reinforced by selective perception
Attribution is the process by which we assign causes or motives to explain people’s
behavior. It is important to determine whether the behavior is caused by dispositional
attributions (some personality or intellectual characteristic unique to the person is
responsible for the behavior) or situational attributions (suggests that the external
situation was responsible for the behavior).
We attribute the behavior to dispositional or situational using:
1. Consistency Cues: reflect how consistently a person engages in a behavior over
2. Consensus Cues: reflect how a person’s behavior compares with that of others.
Unusual, low-consensus behavior leads to more dispositional attributions.
3. Distinctive Cues: reflects the extent to which a person engages in some behavior
across a variety of situations (when a behavior occurs across a variety of
situations, it lacks distinctiveness and is a dispositional attribute)
Biases in Attributions
1. Fundamental Attribution Error: we tend to overemphasize dispositional
explanations about the behavior of others
2. Actor-Observer Effect: the propensity for actors and observers to view the causes
of the actor’s behavior differently. The actor tends to believe it is situational
factors that are causing the behavior.
3. Self-Serving Bias: the tendency to take credit for successful outcomes and to deny
responsibility for failures. Note that the self-serving bias can overcome the
tendency for actors to attribute their behavior to situational factors
Workforce Diversity refers to differences among employees or potential recruits in
characteristics such as gender, race, age etc.
The Changing Workplace
changing immigration patterns, aging of baby bloomers, and the
increasing movement of women in the workforce all result in a lot more variety
globalization, mergers and strategic alliances all lead to the need for more
diverse employees
Valuing Diversity and the Competitive Advantage (see table on page 92)
Stereotypes and Workforce Diversity
Stereotype threat occurs when members of a social group feel they might be judged
according to a stereotype and that their behavior/performance will confirm the stereotype
(which can undermine the person’s performance)
racial, ethnic and religious stereotypes are pervasive, persistent, frequently
negative, and often self-contradictory
gender stereotypes tend to favor women only when they are being
considered for “womens” jobs (eg. secretary) and not for traditional male jobs
women do not suffer from gender stereotypes in performance evaluations
that their supervisors provide most likely because managers can rely on the
females job performance for the evaluation thus eliminating any ambiguity
age stereotypes lead to assumptions about a persons physical,
psychological, and intellectual capabilities
in particular older workers are seen as having less capacity for
performance and less potential for development. On the other hand they are also
seen as being more honest, dependable and trustworthy in comparison to younger
Managing Workplace Diversity
select enough minority members to get them beyond token status thus the
majority will begin to look at individual accomplishments rather than group
encourage teamwork that brings minority and majority members together
those making career decisions about employees should have accurate info
train people to be aware of stereotypes and to value diversity
basic awareness about diversity should be followed up with skills training