Saturday, April 12, 2008

Individual Behaviour Handout # 3

What is attitude?
Attitude is a persistent tendency to feel and behave in a particular way towards some object. Broadly speaking, attitudes are general evaluations that people make about themselves, others, objects or issues that develop from past experience, guide our current behavuiour and direct our development in future. These are relatively lasting feelings, beliefs, and behavior tendencies directed toward specific people, groups, ideas, issues, or objects. Attitude can also be defined as a multiplicative function of beliefs and values.

Attitudes consist of three components
Affective = feelings
Cognitive = beliefs
Behavioural = predispositions to act

Attitudes are a complex cognitive process that has three basic features:
they persist unless changed in some way,
they range along a continuum,
they are directed towards an object about which a person has feelings/beliefs

Does attitude influence human behaviour?
Attitudes do not normally predict or cause behaviour in a simple and direct way.
Three principles relate attitudes to behavior:
–General attitudes best predict general behaviors
–Specific attitudes best predict specific behaviors
–The less time that elapses between attitude measurement and behavior, the more consistent will be the relationship between them
What are various functions of attitudes?
According to D Katz, there are four functions of attitude:
Adjustment Function Attitudes often helps individuals adjust to their work environment. When employees are well treated, they are likely to develop a positive attitude towards management and organization. When they are berated and given minimal salary increase, they develop negative attitude towards their management/organization. These attitudes help employees adjust to their environment and are basis for their future behaviour.

Ego-defensive Function Attitudes help people in defending their own image. For instance, an older manager whose decisions are continuously challenged by a younger subordinate may feel that the latter is brash, cocky, immature, and inexperienced. In reality, the younger subordinate may be right in challenging the decisions. The older manager may not be an effective leader and may constantly make poor decisions. However, the older manager may not admit this. Rather he will protect his ego by putting the blame squarely on the younger subordinate. He will develop a negative attitude towards the younger subordinate. On the other hand, even the younger subordinate will develop a negative attitude towards the older manager. He will think that the boss is not doing his job properly. Thus he will protect his own ego.

Value-Expressive Function Attitudes provide people with a basis for expressing their values. For instance, a manager who believes strongly in the work ethic will tend to voice attitudes towards specific individuals or work practices as a means of reflecting this value. A supervisor who wants a subordinate to work harder may put it this way: ‘You have got to work harder. That has been a tradition of the company since its inception.
It helped us get where we are today.’

Knowledge Function Attitudes also provide standards and frames of references that allow people to organize their worldview and express them emphatically. For instance, a trade union leader may have a negative attitude toward management. This attitude may not be based on fact but it does help the individual relate to the management.

How attitudes are formed?
Social Learning
: acquiring attitudes by way of social interactions and value system
Direct Experience
Modeling: acquiring attitudes by observing others.

What are job related attitudes?

Job Satisfaction Job satisfaction describes how content an individual is with his or her job. H M Weiss has been defined Job satisfaction as a pleasurable emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job an affective reaction to one’s job and an attitude towards one’s job. Job satisfaction can be influenced by a variety of factors, e.g. the quality of one's relationship with their supervisor, the quality of the physical environment in which they work, degree of fulfillment in their work, etc.

Mechanism of changing attitudes
Richard M Steers has suggested following methods of engineering attitude change
1. Providing new information
2. Fear arousal or reduction
3. Dissonance arousal (dissonance leads to inconsistencies in attitude and behaviour causing unpleasant feeling which results in change in attitude)
4. Position discrepancy
5. Participation in decision-making

Kelman has suggested the following processes to alter attitude:·
Compliance: applying subtle pressure on the individual to comply with a particular norm either by threat of punishment or by promise of reward·
Identification: Change agent influences the individual with his own attributes that is so powerful that people start identifying with him and following his way of looking at things.·
Internalization: new attitude is integrated with other attitude and becomes a part of individual’s personality.

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