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Chapter 2

COMM 292 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Conscientiousness, Fundamental Attribution Error, Stereotype

Course Code
COMM 292
Angela Kelleher

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COMM 292: Organizational Behaviour
Chapter 2
Perception Defined
Perception: how individuals organize/interpret their impressions in different environments
o Perception can be much different from the objective reality
People's behaviour is based on perception of reality, not on reality itself
o The world that is perceived is the world that is behaviourally important
Factors Influencing Perception
The Perceiver:
Perceiver: an individual that looks at a target and attempts to interpret what he/she sees
o The interpretation is heavily influenced by the perceiver's personal characteristics
o Characteristics include attitude, personality, motives, interests, experiences etc.
All shape the way we perceive an event
The Target:
A target's characteristics also affect what is perceived by the target
o Motions, sounds, size and other characteristics of a target shape how they are seen
o The relationship of a target to its background also influences perception
The Situation:
The context (time, location, light etc.) we see objects or events is also important
o The situation may change and therefore the perception
Neither the perceiver nor the target have changed
Perceptual Errors
Techniques have been developed to better manage perceiving/interpreting other's actions
o Make accurate perceptions rapidly and provide valid data for making predictions
o There are errors that distort the perception process
Attribution Theory:
Attribution theory: judging people differently based on the meaning given to behaviour
o We observe what seems like atypical behaviour by an individual and make sense of it
o Cause is internal: whether the individual is responsible for the behaviour
Behaviour is believed to be resulting the person
o Cause is external: whether something outside the individual caused the behaviour
Behaviour is believed to result from outside causes
Distinctiveness: whether an individual acts similarly across a variety of situations
o External attribution: behaviour is unusual
o Internally caused: behaviour is not unusual
Consensus: how an individual's behaviour compares with others in the same situation

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COMM 292: Organizational Behaviour
o If an individual responds like everyone else, their behaviour shows consensus
If consensus is high, the wrong doing or odd would be attributed externally
Consistency: whether an individual has been acting in the same way over time
How Attributions Get Distorted:
There are usually errors or biases that distort attributions
Fundamental attribution error: when we judge the behaviour of others, we tend to
overestimate the influence of external factors and overestimate the influence of internal, or
personal factors
Self-serving bias: attribute one's own success to internal factors and failure to external
o Individuals tend to overestimate their own good behaviour and underestimate others
Selective Perception:
Characteristics that make a person/object stand will change how they are perceived
o More likely to notice objects that you own or that look familiar
Selective perception: selective interpretation of what is seen based on backgrounds etc.
o Allows us to speed-read others, but has risks of inaccurate conclusions
Halo Effect:
Halo effect: when we draw general impressions of people based on one characteristic
o Based on intelligence, likeability, appearance and others
A single trait influences the overall impression of the person being judged
Contrast Effect:
Contrast effect: reaction of one person is influenced by other people recently encountered
o Most often we do not evaluate a person in isolation (job interviews etc.)
Projection: attributing one's own characteristics to other people
o Judging others based on the fact that they are similar to us
When people observe others similar to themselves, their perception is naturally corrected
Judging someone on the basis of our perception of the group to which they belong
o Generalizations allow us to simplify decisions
o Heuristics: judgment shortcuts in decision making
Stereotypes may only provide a little bit of truth when applied to an individual
o Can lead to negative reactions, such as prejudice
Prejudice: an unfounded dislike of a person/group based on their belonging to a group
o Dislike based on religion, state, ethnicity etc.
o Can lead to negative consequences in the workplace, such as discrimination
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