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Main Components of Attitudes

What are the main components of attitudes? What aspects of attitude theory might be of interest to those in business?

According to McGuire, attitudes are responses that locate objects of thought on dimensions of judgment (Fiske, Gilbert and Lindzey, 2010). Attitude is defined as a set of attitudes or emotions, behaviors or beliefs towards a particular person, event or object. Psychologists define attitude as a tendency of evaluating things in a perceived way. The perceptions may be positive or negative in nature. They can be implicit as well as explicit in nature. In social psychology, attitudes may be affected by social norms and social roles. The social roles relates to the expectation of behavior of people in a particular context. The social norms account for the rules that are considered appropriate in nature.  As defined by Staats, the three functions of attitude are conditioned stimulus, reinforcing stimulus and discriminative stimulus function.

An attitude change is the change in individual’s perception towards a certain event or person. There are certain theories related to change in attitude. The theories are as follows:

Learning Theory offers an account of the processes involved in storing residual values of direct and symbolic experience. These objects are portrayed as habits, emotions and cognitions. The cognitions are acquired from symbolic communication that is not involved in acquisition of emotions.

Elaboration Likelihood Theory is an accounting for the changes observed in attitude. Attitudes are formed and changed after careful integration and consideration of human attitude or issues (Acrwebsite.org, 2015)

Cognitive Dissonance Theory- Cognitive dissonance is a situation involving conflicting beliefs, attitude or behaviors. This may produce discomfort that leads to a change in one’s attitudes, beliefs or behaviors in order to restore balance. This theory was propounded by Leon Festinger seeking the idea of bring about a balance or consistency in one’s behavior or attitude (Stedman, 2002)

The attitude has three main components which are also called the ABC Model of Attitudes. The ABC model stands for- Affective, Behavioral and Cognitive components of attitude.

The affective component of attitude refers to the feelings or emotions that are linked to an object or person. Attitudes are influenced by affective responses in numerous ways. It follows a belief or evaluation of the attitude towards an object. The responses can be verbal in nature. The verbal response comprises of expressions like appreciation, disdain or disgust. There may also be nonverbal in nature. The nonverbal expressions involve body gestures or facial expressions as affective responses. The affective component is a concern towards target language, or anxiety about learning it. It is defined as a feeling based evaluative component. Affective component of attitude also expresses and validates the moral belief or value systems (Ajzen, 2010). The behavior is based upon one’s own behavior that may be weak or ambiguous in nature. In an organization, if the person who believes is working hard may get angry or frustrated if he is not appreciated or promoted. The affective component becomes stronger because the individual gets a direct experience with the situation or person. Affect is considered to be an emotional component of attitude. The affective component is reflected by statements like “I prefer that” or “I like this”. The psychological indicators such as changes in electrical resistance of skin and blood pressure indicate emotional arousal. Such indicators display changes in emotions by measuring psychological arousal. A change in arousal might be shown if an individual tried to hide his or her feelings (P. G. Aquinas., 2009). The affective component at a workplace defines what the employee feels about at organization.

Attitude Theories

The behavioral component of attitude refers to the behavior or a consisting attitude of a person towards an object, person or event. It is also called the conative component that has influences upon how one acts or behaves to situations. It is an evaluation of behavioral component towards an event or situation with regard to a person’s verbal statements concern behavior. This component of attitudes represents a tendency of an individual to behave in a perceived way. This is the only component of attitude that is visible in nature. The other two components can only be inferred. It is also influenced by the attitudes people have been following in their past towards a situation or person (Robinson, Shaver and Wrightsman, ). The self-perception theory uses knowledge or attitude to make a sense out of any action taken. The people’s attitude in a workplace or an organization largely stems from various factors like job involvement, job satisfaction and organizational commitment. In an organization, consistency and satisfaction are the primary things that people seek. Job satisfaction refers to the general attitude or level of satisfaction of employees towards their job. Psychological identification is done by job involvement of people. The degree to which an employee identifies goals of a particular job is job involvement. At a workplace, the behavioral component means what an employee thinks must be his behavior as per situations and to people.

The cognitive component is the belief, attribute or knowledge about a person or object. A person’s attitude might be based upon both positive and negative attributes the individual associates with an object. An attitude or belief towards an object may newly be formed under this component of attitude. The perceptions or concepts are usually expressed by verbal questions. The cognitive component maybe categorized into verbal and non verbal responses. The verbal responses refer to the expression of beliefs towards an object. The nonverbal responses are difficult to assess. The information provided about attitudes is mostly indirect in nature. The component mainly involves thoughts and beliefs (Maio and Haddock, 2015). “Discrimination is wrong”, being a belief, is a value statement. This forms the cognitive component of attitude.  The cognitive elements are evaluative beliefs that measured by asking about thoughts. They may also be measured in scales. The cognitive component forms the more critical part of attitude. At a workplace, the cognitive component defines what an employee believes to be true about the job, regarding the duties and responsibilities.

Importance of Attitudes for Business

People can experience different moods at work. The moods can be categorized into positive and negative mood. Such an attitude is caused by certain events or happenings at a workplace. The employees feel enthusiastic, active, elated, excited and peppy when they have a feeling of positivity. The negative moods are reflected by feeling nervous, jittery, scornful, fearful or hostile. Such moods also affect an organizational behavior that turn into attitudes towards the organization. A subordinate may feel stronger if motivated by the superior. Similarly, a manager may feel elated with a positive attitude of employees. The basic need of an organization is to keep a balance between emotions of what the employees, client or customers and managers feel about the organization. The summation of everything relates to profitability, smooth functioning and long running of an organization. The feelings are expressed in both verbal and non verbal expressions (Hellriegel and Slocum, 2007).

There are several kinds of attitudes withheld by people at a workplace. Every human being has his own attitudes and perceptions towards issues and people. They see things differently, and the level of satisfaction varies in every person.

Job involvement is the level of involvement of employee how they relate to the organization. It is an attitude of a psychological relation between a person and the organization. The involvement in a job by an employee determines the commitment he has towards the organization. It also acts as an evidence for people who are strongly attached to the job. Job involvement is an identification of worth of work and value in an employee’s life. Employees can engross themselves in a work highly. They also invest their time and energy to provide a fundamental basis in overall life. Higher organizational citizenship and creation of self image is formed with more job involvement. Higher the job involvement more is the psychological empowerment. The traumatic effects of job loss are explained by employees holding meaningful jobs. They construct self image and explain the loss of job effects on esteem needs. Every company has a different code of conduct or ethics, which can be explained by the employees by exhibiting high growth needs. Such employees also make an involvement in decision making. Job involvement at a workplace helps in reducing absenteeism and turnover rates. A high involvement by the manager in the company satisfies the employees working under him. Such involvement is important for an organization’s effectiveness and in maintaining a highly competitive environment.

Impact of Social Norms and Social Roles on Attitudes

Job Satisfaction is an attitude of satisfaction of content that individuals carry in an organization. As quoted by Brown, "Take away my people, but leave my factories, and soon grass will grow on the factory floors. Take away my factories, but leave my people, and soon we will have a new and better factory" (Griffiths and Costi, 2011). There are several factors or aspects in a job such as promotional opportunities, pay or wage and the role of co-workers that are played in the base of job satisfaction. The determinants of job satisfaction are certain policies and procedures, supervisor’s style and other work environments that affect the level of job satisfaction. It may also be defined as a set of emotions that may be favorable or unfavorable in nature that employees perceive from their work in the company. It is an affective attitude by nature. An employee can have likes or dislikes towards their job or position in the company. This may be viewed as an overall attitude that may be applied to various parts of work. It may be related to positivity that one perceives in the organization. There may be certain negative feelings carried by the employees in an organization that also relates to job satisfaction.

Organizational Commitment may be defined as strength of identification and involvement in an organization. It may be termed as a state when an employee identifies oneself with a particular organization. He may also relate himself with the goals of the organization and work in the required way to attain the objectives. Organizational commitment is the willingness of an employee to remain as a working element of the company. The commitment reflects the employees’ belief in attaining the goals of the company. Where there is a high level of job involvement, there is high organizational commitment. It may be identified as a relationship between job productivity and organizational commitment. The commitment is described by the willingness in the employee for the organization to fulfill the duties and responsibilities. There must be development of new ideas to make a company better. One must take initiatives to resolve problems or issues in the organization. It is an individual’s identification for a strong desire, strong belief in the organization.

There are certain aspects of attitude that might interest to a business and they look forward in their employees and managers. These set of attitudes are appreciated and required in individuals for effective working and functioning of the organization. Such aspects help in resolution of conflicts and create a positive environment at a workplace.

Mood States and Attitudes

Assertiveness is an attitude of being confident and self-assured without being passive or aggressive. A good leader must be assertive in nature. At a workplace, one must be assertive in nature. One must have patience to listen to others problems. One must also be patient for their queries or issues to get resolved. A passive behavior is nit appreciated in the organization. One must focus on leading. It is the responsibility of individuals to guide others if other goes wrong. A proactive nature is also considered important. One must frame a set of possible future implications and map a plan of action. The sharing of ideas must be communicated as headlines by the leader. One must have an attentive mind. One must demonstrate that he is listening and not just hearing message.

Respectfulness is an important attitude in an organization. Employees must treat each other with respect. There must be a respectful attitude in the organization among colleagues and peers, clients and customers. Respectfulness is having a consideration for oneself and other. In a workplace, mutual respect is very important. A common goal in all organizations is profitability. One must consider taking viewpoint of others as well as state one’s own state. The motivations can be better understood if there is a respectful communication among employees.  The knowledge must be valued that are presented by the people. There must be places to be agreed or connected for support. In a workplace, one must acknowledge the feeling and self esteem of others. It is not necessary that the individual self will be right at all times. A good listener is always welcomed in an organization. Even in case of a workplace conflict, there must be ways devised to resolute such conflicts with respect. One must abide by the ethics of organization, learn the art of small talk and take things in a lighter manner. There must be presentation of opinions and treat colleagues as one expects to be treated. There must be maintenance of confidentiality.

Pridefulness is an attitude both positive and negative in nature. Prideful does not mean that an employee would not accept or help in teams. Instead it means that the improvement in connection and getting recognition for the work performed by them. The leaders often look the importance of pride in an organization. Pride acts as a motivation to employees in retaining or developing their personnel. It is also useful to maintain standards in the organization. The company must make the employee feel proud by giving recognition to his work. Pride can be negative in nature that makes a person as mean and not welcomed in the organization. Pride is a desire to lift an employee beyond the place.

Commitment is an important aspect of attitude at a workplace. It is of great value in a workplace as the companies need such people who are committed to the organization, its goals, its mission and its values. The commitment is described by the willingness in the employee for the organization to fulfill the duties and responsibilities. There must be development of new ideas to make a company better. One must take initiatives to resolve problems or issues in the organization. It is an individual’s identification for a string desire, strong belief in the organization. The commitment reflects the employees’ belief in attaining the goals of the company. Where there is a high level of job involvement, there is high organizational commitment. It may be identified as a relationship between job productivity and organizational commitment.

Innovation is a significant change that the employees construct in the organization. The innovation may arise in a product, process, position or paradigm. There may be innovation in the mentioned parameters to bring about a change in the working of organization that helps in attaining goals. The concept of innovation is diverse. It is a trait that is intangible in nature. But it relates to the capacities of thinking and developing ideas that may benefit the organization. Organizations can provide training to the employees in order to enhance their mental growth. Creativity that may be applied in attaining organizational goals may be tangible in nature. It is a behavior of employees that pursues a measuring process in order to measure results.

Helpfulness is an indicator that assists clients and customers, or the behavior of helping each other at a workplace. The attitude must be willing to help others in times of need regarding some work that the person is difficult to understand. The managers must help the employees that drive motivation in them. A good leader is a person who helps the workers in times of difficulty. There must be a trust built among employees of the organization by enhancing the working relationships. The teamwork must be improved. Team work helps in inculcating the attitude of helpfulness in an individual. Helpfulness must extend focusing on problem solving for oneself as well as others. An attitude of conflict resolution is appreciated in the organization.

Punctuality is another attitude that involves timeliness. One must commit to arrive and leave on time. There must be a thinking to prepare the work on time within the given time frame. The meetings conducted must begin on time. Time is money. The employees should not waste their time as well as others. The managers must consider beginning the meetings so that no time is wasted for the people attending the meetings. This must be confirmed y the managers or superiors conducting meetings. Te employees must consider meeting the deadlines for work. There should not be a lag in work relating to time frame. Punctuality or very less absenteeism must be acknowledged in the organization. One must have a clear understanding of purpose of one’s job. There must be a critical assessment of different tasks. Priority of task completion must be allocated smartly by the workers.

Conclusion

Attitude helps in motivating and decision making at a workplace. The affective, behavioral and cognitive components of attitude play an important role in the organization. The aspects of attitude like assertiveness, punctuality, helpfulness, innovation, commitment, Pridefulness and helpfulness plays an important role in determining the success of an organization. Such qualities or working attitudes are appreciated in the organization as it helps in attaining organizational goals missions and objectives. The aspect of attitude is mainly determined by three ways that is job involvement, job satisfaction and organizational commitment. It is important to maintain decorum in the working of organization with a positive attitude. The managers and employees must work efficiently in a positive manner. A common goal in all organizations is profitability. One must have a clear understanding of purpose of one’s job. There must be a critical assessment of different tasks. . The determinants of job satisfaction are certain policies and procedures, supervisor’s style and other work environments that affect the level of job satisfaction. . There must be development of new ideas to make a company better. One must take initiatives to resolve problems or issues in the organization.

References

Acrwebsite.org, (2015). The Elaboration Likelihood Model: Limitations and Extensions in Marketing by Mary J. Bitner and Carl Obermiller. [online] Available at: https://www.acrwebsite.org/volumes/6427/volumes/v12/NA-12 [Accessed 27 Jul. 2015].

Ajzen, I. (2010). Predicting and Changing Behavior. Psychology Press.

Fiske, S., Gilbert, D. and Lindzey, G. (2010). The handbook of social psychology. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

Greenwald, A., Brock, T. and Ostrom, T. (1969). Psychological foundations of attitudes. New York and London: Academic Press.

Griffiths, C. and Costi, M. (2011). GRASP. Cardiff: Proactive Press.

Hellriegel, D. and Slocum, J. (2007). Organizational behavior. Mason, Ohio: Thomson/South-Western.

Maio, G. and Haddock, G. (2015). The psychology of attitudes & attitude change. London: Sage publications ltd.

P. G. Aquinas., (2009). Essentials of organisation behaviour. [S.l.]: Excel Books.

Robinson, J., Shaver, P. and Wrightsman, L. (2013). Measures of social psychological attitudes. Academic Press.

Stedman, R. (2002). Toward a Social Psychology of Place: Predicting Behavior from Place-Based Cognitions, Attitude, and Identity. Environment and Behavior, 34(5), pp.561-581.

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