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Chapter 3

MHR 405 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Personal Identity, Absenteeism, Social Forces

Human Resources
Course Code
MHR 405
Frank Miller

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Chapter 3 – Perceiving Ourselves and Others in Organizations (pg. 63-84)
Short Case:
- Firefighting is a physically and psychologically demanding profession requires days, nights
and weekend availability
- Not many women firefighters, only about 3% of firefighters are women
- Camp FFIT female firefighters in training part of Ottawa Fire Service’s campaign to recruit
more female firefighters and change perceptions about women in the profession
- Firefighting services in Canada and internationally face 2 challenges in attracting and keeping
women in this occupation:
1. The self-concept women have about themselves vs. their image of firefighters
2. Perceptions that others have about firefighters and of women in these roles
- Examine how people perceive themselves, their self-concept, and how that self-perception affects
their decisions and behaviour
- Perception in organizational settings, beginning with how we select, organize, and interpret info
and then reviewing several specific perceptual processes such as stereotyping, attribution, and
self-fulfilling prophecy
- Identify potentially effective ways to improve perceptions, such as corporate volunteering.
- Main elements of global mindset – a largely perceptual process valued in this increasingly
globalized world
Self-Concept: How we perceive ourselves
-Only 900 women among 30,000 firefighters – reason being: women don’t see themselves as
firefighters and have doubts about doing that job.
oThe self-concept incompatibility is reinforced by genderized perceptions of firefighters
held by family, friends, and the media – it’s a man’s job, be an interior designer
-How people perceive themselves – their self-concept – an individual’s self-beliefs and self-
oIt’s the “Who am I? How do I feel about myself?” that people ask themselves, which
guides their decisions and actions
oWe compare our images of that job (firefighter/financial analyst) with our current
(perceived self) and desired (ideal self) images of ourselves
oWe evaluate our current and desired competencies to determine whether there is a good fit
with that job
oHow people perceive themselves helps to explain their attitudes, motivation, decisions, and
behaviour in the workplace
Self-Concept – 3 Characteristics: Complexity, Consistency, and Clarity
-Self-concepts vary in their complexity, consistency and clarity
oThey are impt. b/c they influence a person’s well-being, behaviour and performance
oPeople have psychological well-being when they have multiple selves (complexity) that are
well established (clarity) and are similar to each other and compatible with personal traits
oComplex self-concept is like a ship w. several compartments that can be sealed off from
each other – if one compart is damaged, it can be secured so most of the ship remains
oPeople with low complexity suffer severe loss when they experience failure b/c these

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events affect a large part of themselves
oSome self-concept diversity helps people to adapt, too much variation causes tension and
oWell-being increases with self-concept clarity – when we lack confidence in ourselves, we
are easily influenced by others, experience more stress when making decisions and feel
more threatened by social forces that undermine our self-confidence and self-esteem
-Have varying degrees of (1) complexity – the number of distinct and important roles or identities
that people perceive about themselves
oEveryone has different degrees b/c they see themselves in more than one role (student,
friend, daughter, sports enthusiast, etc)
oComplexity is determined not only by the number of selves, but by the separation of those
oLow complexity when the individual’s most impt. identities are highly interconnected
(ex. when they’re all work related – manager, engineer, family income-earner)
These people tend to have lower absenteeism and turnover
Possibly perform better b/c very skilled, longer hours and focus on work
Higher stress, depression when main self aspect is damaged or threatened, which
undermines performance
-Internal (2) consistency – people have high internal consistency when most of their self-
perceived roles require similar personality traits, values, and other attributes
oLow consistency occurs when some self-perceptions require personal characteristics that
conflict with characteristics required for other aspects of self
oEx. Low self-concept consistency would exist if you see yourself as a very exacting
engineer, and a cavalier and risk-oriented skier
-(3) Clarity – degree of which you have a clear, confidently defined, and stable self-concept
oOccurs when we are confident about “who we are,” can describe our impt. identities to
others, and provide the same description of ourselves across time
oSelf-concept clarity increases with age as well as with the consistency of the person’s
multiple selves.
Tends to improve performance, considered vital for leadership roles
People with high clarity – may have role inflexibility – can’t adapt to changing job
Self-Enhancement, Verification, Evaluation, Social-self (Self Identity)
-Self-enhancement – a person’s inherent motivation to have a positive self-concept (and to have
others perceive him/her favourably) – Ex. being competent, attractive, lucky, ethical and
oIndividuals tend to rate themselves above average, believe they have a better than average
probability of success, and attribute their successes to personal motivations or ability while
blaming the situation for their mistakes
oSelf-enhancement has both positive and negative consequences in org. settings
Positive – individuals tend to experience better mental & physical health and
adjustment when they view their self-concept in a positive light
Ex. self-enhancement causes mgrs. to overestimate the probability of
success in investment decisions OR self-enhancement is a factor in high
accident rates among novice drivers

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-Self-verification – a person’s inherent motivation to confirm and maintain his/her existing self-
oStabilizes an individual’s self-concept, which provides an impt. anchor that guides his or her
thoughts and actions
oEmployees communicate their self-concept so co-workers can provide feedback that reinforces
the self-concept
Ex. you let coworkers know that you are very organized, then they point out situations
where you have been organized
oIt occurs when we seek out feedback that supports our self-view, even when it’s not flattering
(ex. I’m a numbers person, not a people person)
oImplications for OB:
1) Affects perceptual process b/c employees are more likely to rmr info that is
consistent with their self-concept and screen out info that’s inconsistent
2) Clearer the individual’s self-concept, the less s/he will accept feedback that
contradicts that self-concept
3) Employees are motivated to interact with others who affirm their self-concept,
which affects how they will get along with their boss & team members
-Self-evaluation – almost everyone strives to have a +ve self-concept, but some people have a
more +ve evaluation of themselves than others do. Defined in 3 concepts:
oSelf-esteem – the extent to which people like, respect and are satisfied with themselves –
represents a global self-evaluation
A person’s rating of his/her success at social inclusion
Higher self-esteem – believe they are connected to and accepted by others. Less
influenced by others, persist in spite of failure, more rational
Specific thoughts of self (good student, driver, parent) predicts specific thoughts
and behaviours, while a person’s overall self-esteem predicts only large bundles of
thoughts and behaviours
oSelf-efficacy – a person’s belief that s/he can successfully complete a task
An individual’s perception regarding the MARS model in a specific situation
One’s competence to perform across a variety of situations
High self-efficacy – have a “can do” attitude – they believe they possess the
energy (motivation), resources (situational factors), understanding of the correct
course of action (role perceptions) and competencies (ability) to perform the task
Higher the self-efficacy – higher his or her overall self-evaluation
oLocus of control – a person’s general beliefs about the amount of control s/he has over
personal life concepts
Those with more of an internal locus of control believe that their personal
characteristics (motivation and competencies) mainly influence life’s outcomes.
People with a more internal locus of control have a more positive self-
evaluation – they tend to perform better in most employment situations and
more successful in their careers, earn more money and are better suited for
leadership positions
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