Discuss about the Organizational Behaviors for Specific Business.
The role of information in an organization cannot be overemphasized. It is needless to state that any leader in the organization is required to gather, as well as interpret the available information in order to analyze and evaluate a specific business situation. However, how an individual will interpret a particular piece of information largely depends on his individual perception process. Perception is defined as a process of interpreting the messages of our senses necessary for providing order and meaning to our environment. In an organization, correct perception of the information available is as important as collection of the information. Hence, much care should be taken on part of the management authority to ensure that the organization does not have to encounter the distortion of perception skills of its workers. The leader or the workers of any organization responds to a particular situation, depending on how they perceive the situation. In case they are lacking the appropriate perception skills, they may end up expressing unfavorable views and thoughts that are absolutely detrimental to the organizational success. The commonly found perceptual errors that may occur in a workplace are Halo Effect, Central Tendency, Recency Effect, and others. These factors not only limit and distort the perception of a leader in an organization, but may also make them blindly prejudiced (Gaal and Cohen 2012).
Perception plays an extremely important role in the organization, as it determines how an individual behaves, motivates, or responds to the views and ideas of other fellow workers.
Figure 1: Perceptual Process
Source: (Overgaard 2014)
As it can be seen from the above diagram, the perception process involves the act of receiving stimuli, and interpreting the same which ultimately leads to the way an individual responds to a given situation. It is important to note that each individual has his own way of perception, and hence differences often occur in an organization because of the differences in the attitude of the perceiver, and the actual situation and the perceived individual.
While a huge number of differences can arise as a result of difference in perception process, and can lead to organizational conflict, it is important to know some of the most common factors that limit and distort the perception of the leaders and employees of an organization:
Fundamental Attribution Error is one of the most popular errors that may occur in an organization. It is a much known fact that any organization consists of a variety of people, each one possessing different skill, ability and knowledge, and each employee is needed to respect the differences that may exist. However, it often happens that a business leader tends to judge the professional capability of an individual, completely based on a single act performed by him. In this case, the leader may get prejudiced, and may fail to notice and appreciate the hidden potentiality of an employee. It may occur, for example, that an employee has been recently facing a family crisis, or suffering from a serious health issue as a result of which he could not perform well in his last project. The business leader instead of trying to understand the underlying problem may make a judgment about the professional impotence of the employee (Fiorre and Lussier 2015).
Selective Perception is the second most common perception error that occurs in an organization, whereby the business leader in most of the cases and even a few employees get prejudiced and opinionated about an individual, owing to his background, personal life or appearance. This is highly illusory, and can lead to wrong decision, as here the manager tends to evaluate and judge an individual on the basis of his background, or past deeds. It may happen that a subordinate belongs to a low socio-economic background, and yet he is sufficiently experienced and skilled to complete a task. However, the manager may discard his skill based on his prejudiced view on his class and social status.
Self-serving Bias is the tendency of attributing team success to one’s own skills, and yet blaming the failure of a team project on other fellow members. This kind of error is detrimental to the growth of an organization, as here the manager tends to demotivate the subordinates, and does not recognize or praise the subordinates for their piece of contribution, and yet blames them in case of failure.
Stereotyping is another very common factor that distorts the perception of the workers in the organization. It is defined as the tendency to define an individual’s skills and merit, based on the group he belongs to, such as his race, ethnic community, nationality or sex. Stereotypical views, in most of the cases, are pervasive, frequent and negative, and heavily undermine the potentiality of the member of the “other” group. For example, women are severely underestimated in administrative and corporate jobs, in a male dominating world. Hence, the manager’s tendency to underestimate the executive capabilities of the female employees, can prevent him from hiring, promoting and entrusting big responsibilities to the qualified and skilled women. Similarly, the manager may be prejudiced that old employees are lethargic or young employees are unreliable, and as a result he may miss the chance of working with some highly skilled and well-qualified employees (Newheiser and Dovidi 2012).
Halo Effect is another important factor that may also lead to the distortion of perception of the leader or an employee in the organization. As a result of the Halo Effect, an individual is inclined to consider a handful of situations, based on which he generalizes his notion about another individual (Cyk 2014). In corporate workplaces, it often happens that an individual employee performs brilliantly well in a given task, and hence during the time of appraisal and promotion, he is promoted to the position of Vice President. However, he may not yet possess the necessary skill and expertise required for executing the role of a Vice President. Again, departmental misconceptions may also arise out of Halo Effect. A department in an organization may consist of a few incompetent employees, but this may lead the other employees drag down the reputation of the entire department. For example, it may happen that the payroll group in the Accounts Department makes mistakes several times, but it will be wrong for the other employees of the organization, to be misled about the proficiency and professional expertise of all the employees of the Accounts department.
Recency Effect is a cognitive bias resulting from the disproportionate salience of recent stimuli or observations. This Recency Effect occurs in an organization, when a leader remembers and considers the recent performance of his subordinates, and judges his potentiality based on that. For example, it may happen that an employee could not deliver his last task satisfactorily, and the team leader or manager starts losing trust in his capability and does not assign important tasks any more. This may demotivate the employee, and hence the leader should evaluate the potentiality of any employee based on his average performance throughout the year.
It should be remembered that perception plays an integral role in an organization. In case the perception of an individual is distorted, he may fail to appreciate the talent of his subordinates, or he may entrust an important duty to an employee unsuitable for the work. Hence, perceiving things as they are, and remaining absolutely unbiased is important for bringing in the organizational success. Hence, it is important for the organization to take up effective steps so as to prevent this distortion of perception. It should be remembered that the individuals in the authoritative positions of an organization, are often good in nature, but owing to the organizational pressure their decision making process gets affected. As a result, they tend to get biased and prejudiced, because of their urge to please co-workers, or to act as a part of the team. However, in the process they are often inclined to perpetrate the errors of judgment. Keeping into consideration, the problem of distortion of perception, sufficient training should be provided to the workers, so that they can understand that what an individual perceives on the surface may not always be the reality. The employees as well as the managers of the organization should be trained to widen and expand their realm of focus, especially in regards to the treatment meted out to the co-workers.
Before judging and evaluating the nature, character or the professional competence of an individual employee, it is highly important to understand his situation. A little bit of empathy and careful attention can solve any kind of organizational dispute that may arise out of the distortion of perception, in an organization. Each employee should be taught the value of tolerance whereby he must not judge another employee based on a single instance. A manager must ask for an explanation, and if necessary put himself in the place of the employee, and try to analyze the situation, instead of making random judgment about him. If the employer or other employees always possess negative impression about an employee, it may discourage him, and leave him disheartened, that in turn may affect his productivity. It is important to be a little more enduring and considerate, while dealing with co-workers and subordinate staffs. If the entire context of an individual worker’s act can be properly understood and evaluated, then it can be understood that there is always a reason behind the unfavorable action of each employee (Hoffmann 2016).
It is important for an organization to reduce the chances of these perceptual errors happening in an organization. For the accomplishment of a workplace free from any sort of prejudice and personal bias, the authority must arrange various seminars, conferences and workshops that can promote a sense of belonging among each worker of the organization. These seminars must focus on the importance of building team spirit among the various employees. The interactive workshops are also quite useful here, as these workshops provide the employees an opportunity of interacting, mingling and exchanging ideas with the fellow mates. In the process of social interaction, one can easily overcome their personal prejudice, and can feel a sense of attachment towards the co-workers. It has been observed that in most of the cases, perceptual errors occur when an individual is confronted with a workplace that involves workers from diverse background or ethnic culture. Hence, the prejudiced behavior towards a specific culture or gender or race should be highly discouraged, by introducing a diverse workplace. The introduction of a diverse workplace implies the hiring of people of various nations, ages, cultures, gender and nationalities. In a diverse workplace, as the broad line of demarcation between people ceases to exist, the workers become less likely to uphold illusory views about each other (Thuraisingham 2013).
Perceptual errors are to be avoided at all cost in a workplace. This is not merely recommended out of moral consideration. It should be remembered that perceptual error any resultant negative attitude or wrong decision, on part of a worker, can lead to a huge loss of the organization. Perceptual errors and unfavorable attitude arising out of it, may potentially harm an organization, as absenteeism, turnover and job satisfaction are largely determined by an employee’s perception of job. The perception process influences and determines the decision-making within an organization. In an organization, the business leaders are required to deal with important decisions, and in case they are prejudiced or opinionated, they may fail to take effective decisions necessary for business success. It is important for any employee to understand that perception is not equivalent to reality. Hence, instead of taking anything in face value, it is important to use one’s own judgment and discretion to critically evaluate a situation. It is important to be aware of the factors that affect the process of individual perception, so that one does not get easily affected by personal bias in any situation.
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