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Chapter 3

Lecture 5 (SHORTENED) - Ch. 3. Perception, Attribution, Diversity.docx

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David Scallen

BU288 Lecture 5 Ch. 3: Perception, Attribution, Diversity Tues. Sept. 25. 2012. Perception • Perception: process of interpreting the messages of our senses to provide order and meaning to the environment  helps organize the complex/varied input received by 5 senses • Goal: make sense of the world as quickly as possible, so that we can move forward • Perception has three components, each of which influences the seer’s interpretation of the target 1) Perceiver: his experiences, needs, and emotions affect perception o Experiences: lead the perceiver to develop expectations which affect current perceptions. o Needs: unconsciously influence our perceptions by causing us to see what we want to see. o Emotions: we can misperceive an innocent comment when we are angry, for example. o Perceptual defence: tendency to defend the perceiver against unpleasant emotions 2) Target being perceived: ambiguous targets are susceptible to interpretation & addition of meaning o Perceivers have a need to resolve ambiguities of the target 3) Some situational context in which the perception is occurring (i.e. every instance of perception) o Most important effect of situation = add information about the target o the perception by the same perceiver of the same target can change with different situations Social Identity Theory • Social identity theory: we form perceptions of people based on their characteristics & memberships in social categories we categorize people to make sense of the social environment • Our personal identity is based on our unique personal characteristics (interest, abilities, traits) • Our social identity is based on our perception that we belong to various social groups (ex: gender) • Choice of category depends on situation  once category is chosen, we tend to see members as embodying the most typical attributes (prototypes) of that category • Relational/comparative: we define members of a category relative to members of other categories. o Your perception of others is a function of how you categorize yourself and your target. o People tend to perceive members of their own social categories in more favourable ways • If situation changes, so might the categorization and relation between the perceiver and the target Model of Perceptual Process, by psychologist Jerome Bruner • How the perceiver uses information contained in the target and situation to form a picture • When perceiver meets an unfamiliar target, he’s open to informational cues to resolve ambiguity • The perceiver encounters familiar cues that enable him to make a simple categorization of the target (social identity theory)  cue search becomes more selective. The perceiver searches cues that confirm categorization; perceiver actively ignores/distorts cues that violate initial perceptions • Early categorizations can be changed, but it takes many contradictory cues for a re- categorization 1 BU288 Lecture 5 Ch. 3: Perception, Attribution, Diversity Tues. Sept. 25. 2012. • 3 characteristics of the perceptual process 1) Selective: seers don’t use all available cues, so the used cues are emphasized. So our perception is efficient, which can aid/hinder our perceptual accuracy; at times, less ambiguity ≠ more accuracy 2) Perceptual constancy = tendency for target to be seen the same way over time across situations 3) Perceptual consistency = tendency to select/ignore/distort cues so they form a consistent image Basic Biases in Person Perception • our impressions of others are susceptible to perceptual biases A) Primacy and Recency Effects o Primacy effect: tendency for perceiver to rely on early cues (first impressions)  Primacy is a form of selectivity, and its lasting effects illustrate the operation of constancy. o Recency effect: tendency for perceived to rely on recent cues or last impressions B) Reliance on Central Traits o Central traits: personal characteristics of a target that are of particular interest to perceiver o we rely on early cues when forming perceptions, but the cues don’t receive equal weight o Powerful influence on perception; centrality of traits depends on perceiver interests & situation C) Implicit Personality Theories: personal theories we have about which personality characteristics go together (ex: hardworking people are also honest)  can be inaccurate D) Projection: tendency for perceivers to attribute their own thoughts and feelings to others o We often assume others are like ourselves & agree with us  can lead to perceptual difficulties o Projection can be efficient, as people with similar interests often think similarly E) Stereotyping: tendency to generalize about people in a certain social category,& ignore variations o People can evoke stereotypes with incredibly little information 1) We distinguish some category of people 2) We assume that people in the category have certain traits 3) We perceive that everyone in this category has these traits way to form consistent impression o We have positive stereotypes of the social categories that we are in. These stereotypes are less rigid because we are familiar with our own groups& we appreciate differences among members o most stereotypes are inaccurate since we use them early to resolve ambiguity efficiently o Stereotypes persist because even incorrect stereotypes help process info about others quickly 1) It’s easier to rely on false stereotypes than discover true nature of targets. 2) Inaccurate stereotypes are reinforced by selective perception & application of language  language is twisted to turn neutral info into unfavourable stereotypes; ex: “reserved” = “snobby” Overweight Bias • Discrimination against overweight people is found at every stage of employment process 2 BU288 Lecture 5 Ch. 3: Perception, Attribution, Diversity Tues. Sept. 25. 2012. • They’re perceived as lacking self-discipline and self-control, being lazy, not trying as hard as others… • Negative effect of weight biases on hiring outcomes is stronger than effect of performance outcomes. Bias is stronger when decision makers lack relevant info  resort to stereotype Attribution: Perceiving Causes and Motives • Attribution: process where causes or motives are assigned to explain people’s behaviour o Important since many rewards/punishments in organizations are based on judgments about cause • Dispositional attributions: explanations for behaviour based on an actor’s personality / intellect • Situational attributions: explanations for behaviour based on an actor’s external situation/ environment  temporary if person has little control over the behaviour (ex: weather, luck) • As we gain experience with the behaviour of a target, 3 implicit questions guide our decisions as to whether we attribute their behaviour to dispositional or situational causes 1) Consistency cues: Does he engage in the behaviour regularly and consistently? o Def.: Attribution cues that reflect how consistently a person engages in a behaviour over time o Consistency = dispositional attributions; inconsistency makes us consider situational attributions 2) Consensus cues: do most people engage in the behaviour or is it unique to this person? o Def.: attribution cues that reflect how a person’s behaviour compares with that of others o Acts that deviate (vs. conform) from social expectations & are private tells more about motives o Low-consensus behaviour = dispositional attribution, since it shows “true motives” 3) Distinctiveness cues: does he engage in the behaviour in many situations, or just one? o Def.: reflect extent to which a person engages in some behaviour across a variety of situations o Low distinctiveness (occurs across many situations), it means dispositional attribution Attribution in Action • How the observer uses info about consistency, consensus, and distinctiveness to form attributions • Highly consistent, low consensus, and not distinctive: Bob is absent a lot, his co- workers are never absent, and she was absent in previous jobs  this is his personality (disposition) • Highly consistent, high consensus, and distinctive: Sam is absent a lot, co-workers are also absent a lot, but she was never absent in previous jobs  it’s a trend in this workplace (situation) • Inconsistent, high consensus, and not distinctive: Mike is absent never, his co-workers are absent never, & he was never absent in previous jobs external factor (temporary situation) Biases in Attribution • Various cue combinations usually lead to correct attributions (but not always), but there’s bias • Fundamental Attribution Error: tendency to overemphasize dispositional explanations for behaviour at the expense of situational explanations (but social roles affect behaviour)! 3 BU288 Lecture 5 Ch. 3: Perception, Attribution, Diversity Tues. Sept. 25. 2012. o We can fail to realize that the observed behaviour of someone is distinctive to one situation o Bad when managers have dispositional explanations (laziness) for workers, while ignoring the true situational causes (poor training)  less likely when manager has actual experience in that specific job and is aware of the situational roadblocks to good performance • Actor-observer effect: tendency for actors & observers to view the causes of the actor’s behaviour differently (AKA they disagree on the true causes of the act) o As observers of similar behaviour in others, we’re likely to invoke dispositional causes o Actors are prone to attribute their own behaviour to situations because they’re more aware than observers of the constraints/advantages and aware of their own thoughts and intentions  ex: I really wanted to get to work on time and left home early, but there was an accident (situation); boss is unaware of all this and just thinks I’m unreliable (blames disposition) • Self-serving bias: tend to take credit for successful outcomes and deny responsibility for failures o People explain the same behaviour differently based on the consequences of behaviour o When I fail, I’ll blame situational causes. When I do well, I’ll say it was all me. *Zero Acquaintance Trait Inferences* • Zero acquaintance: the person makes inferences about a target without interacting with him • For example: by examining the stranger’s office or bedroom, or email address • people usually agree on the personality traits of a stranger & the ratings correspond with self-ratings • Most accurate when judging extraversion and conscientiousness Workforce Diversity • Workforce diversity: differences among recruits and workers in characteristics such as gender, race, age, religion, physical ability, or sexual orientation. Interest in diversity stems from the facts that: 1) Workforce is becoming more diverse 2) Growing recognition that many firms have not successfully managed workforce diversity • The workforce used to be mainly Caucasian & male, but now there are more women and immigrants • Many firms seek to recruit more representatively from the changing labour pool  better mirror their markets/customer base; especially in service sector, where contact with customers is direct. • Globalization means that employees must interact with people from different cultures Valuing Diversity • In the past, firms were “good” just by tolerating diversity with fair hiring. Firms were considered “really good” if they helped “fix” these people to “fit in” with mainstream corporate culture. • Now, we must value diversity as it can yield competitive advantages like: 1) Cost argument: the cost of a poor job in integrating workers will increase. Those who handle this well will have cost advantages over those who don’t. 2) Resource-acquisition argument: best diversity reputations get the best female & minority workers 4 BU288 Lecture 5 Ch. 3: Perception, Attribution, Diversity Tues. Sept. 25. 2012. 3) Marketing argument: insight & cultural sensitivity that diversity brings improves marketing efforts 4) Creativity argument: diversity of perspectives and less conformity of norms = creativity 5) Problem-solving argument: diversity in decision & problem solving groups potentially produces better decisions through wider range of perspectives & thorough analysis 6) System flexibility argument: less standardized system, greater flexibility to react to changes • Organizations with more gen
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