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Chapter 3

Textbook Notes - Chapter 3

Management (MGH)
Course Code
Joanna Heathcote

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MGTB27 / 01 Week 2
- &DQDGD3RVWLVRQHRI&DQDGD¶VWRSHPSOR\HUVVLQFHLWKDVDdiverse workforce and
encourages the recruitment of 4 designated groups: women, members of visible minorities,
Aboriginal peoples, and persons with disabilities
What is Perception?
- Perception is the process of interpreting the messages of our sense to provide order and
meaning to the environment
- Perception interprets/helps sort out and organize the complex and varied input received by
our senses of sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing
- People often base actions on the interpretation of reality that their perceptual system
provides rather than on reality itself (e.g. what you think of the situation)
Components of Perception
- Perception has three components: perceiver, target being perceived, and situation
- Each of the component influences the perceivers impression or interpretation of the target
The Perceiver
- Experience is the most important since past experiences lead the perceiver to develop
expectations, and these expectations affect current perceptions
o Caucasian men are less likely to perceive race or gender barriers to promotion
- Our motivational state can unconsciously influence our perceptions by causing us to
perceive what we wish to perceive
- Emotional state such as anger, happiness, or fear can influence our perception
o Employee is so happy because she got a promotion but fails to notice how upset her
co-worker is because he was not the one promoted
- Perceptual defence is the tendency for the perceptual system to defend the perceiver
The Target
- Perception involves interpretation and the addition of meaning to the target and ambiguous
targets are especially inclined to interpretation and addition
- Providing more information about the target will not improve perceptual accuracy
o Assigning a minority worker to a prejudiced manager may not improve the
PDQDJHU¶VSerception of their true abilities
o Writing clearer memos may not always get the message across
The Situation
- Every instance of perception occurs in some situational context and this can affect what one
o A casual critical comment about your performance from your boss the week before
she is to decide whether or not to promote you will be perceived different if you
were not up for promotion (different situational contexts)
Social Identity Theory
- Social identity theory is a theory that states that people form perceptions of themselves
based on their characteristics and memberships in social categories. As a result, our sense of
self is composed of personal identity and social identity
- Personal identity: based on our unique personal characteristics (e.g. interests, abilities)
Chapter 3: Perception, Attribution, and Diversity (pg. 71 ± 101)

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MGTB27 / 02 Week 2
- Social identity: based on our perception that we belong to various social groups (e.g. gender,
nationality, religion, occupation etc...)
- Once we categorize ourselves in a social category, we develop a sense of who and what we
are as well as our beliefs, values, and ways of thinking, acting, and feeling
- We also form perceptions of others based on their memberships in social categories
- Social identities are relational and comparative (define members of a category relative to
members of other categories)
- As the categories change, so will certain aspects of the focal social identity
o The author of this text is a professor, students attribute professor attributes. If author
- Your perception of others is a function of how you categorize yourself (e.g. student) and
your target (e.g. professor). When the situation changes, so might the categorization and the
relation between the perceiver and the target
- Since people tend to perceive members of their own social categories in more positive and
favourable ways than those who are different, social identity theory is useful for
understanding stereotyping and discrimination topics
A Model of the Perceptual Process
- How does the perceiver go about putting together the information contained in the target and
the situation to form a picture of the target?
- Psychologist Jerome Bruner has developed a model of the perceptual process
o Perceiver encounters an unfamiliar target and situation surrounding it
o Perceiver is open to the informational cues contained in the target and situation
o Perceiver will seek familiar cues to base perceptions on the target
o Perceiver begins to search out cues that confirm the categorization of the target
o Categorization is strengthened when perceiver actively ignores or distorts cues that
violate initial perceptions
- An early categorization can be changed through many good contradictory cues before one
recategorizes the target
o Perception is selective. Our perception is efficient by not using all available cues and
the cues that we do use are given special emphasis. Efficiency can hinder/aid our
perceptual accuracy
o Perceptual constancy refers to the tendency for the target to be perceived in the same
way over time or across situations. We paint a constant picture and it is often hard to
change a bad first impression perception
o Perceptual consistency refers to the tendency to select, ignore, and distort cues in
such a manner that they fit together to form a homogeneous picture of the target. We
do not see a person that is both good and bad or dependable & untrustworthy. Often
distort cues in order to be consistent with our general image of a person
Basic Biases in Person Perception
- Impressions that we form of others are susceptible to a number of perceptual biases
Primacy and Recency Effects
- Primacy effect is the tendency for a perceiver to rely on early cues or first impressions
o Thus a worker who can favourably impress his/her boss within the first few days on
the job is in an advantageous position due to primacy

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MGTB27 / 03 Week 2
o Form of selectivity and its lasting effects illustrate the operation of constancy
- Recency effect is the tendency for a perceiver to rely on recent cues or last impressions
o E.g landing a big contract WRGD\PD\H[FXVHDZKROH\HDU¶VEDGVDOHVSHUIRUPDQFH
Reliance on Central Traits
- People tend to organize their perceptions around central traits which are personal
characteristics of the target that are of special interest to a perceiver
- Central traits often have a very powerful influence on our perceptions of others
- Examples are: physical appearance relating to a variety of job-related outcomes, attractive
people to be perceived as good (social competence, qualifications, success)
- Research found that taller and more attractive people are also more likely to be paid more
Implicit Personality Theories
- Implicit personality theories are personal theories that people have about which
personality characteristics go together
- When such implicit theories are inaccurate, this provides a basis for misunderstanding
- E.g. expecting hardworking people to also be honest
- Projection is the tendency for perceivers to attribute their own thoughts and feelings to
- In some cases, projection may be efficient since people with similar backgrounds or interests
often do think and feel similarly
- However, projection can also lead to perceptual difficulties
o Honest warehouse manager who perceives others as honest might find stock
disappearing. Projection here can serve as a form of perceptual defence where the
- Stereotyping is the perceptual tendency to generalize about people in a certain social
category and ignore variations among them
- Categories may include: race, age, gender, ethnic background, social class & occupation
- There are three specific aspects to stereotyping
o Distinguish some category of people (college professors)
o Assume individuals in this category have certain traits (absent-minded)
- Stereotypes help us develop impressions of ambiguous targets and we are usually pretty
familiar with the people in our own groups
his/her behaviour (e.g. accountants may be stereotyped as compulsive or precise)
- Stereotypes are often inaccurate and develop when we do not have good information about a
particular group
- Factors that work to reinforce inaccurate stereotypes:
o Incorrect stereotypes help us process information about others quickly and
efficiently. Easier for perceiver to rely on inaccurate information that to discover the
true nature of the target
o Inaccurate stereotypes are often reinforced by selective perception (e.g. look only
for behaviours that confirm the stereotypes)
Attribution: Perceiving Causes and Motives
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