Perception is the process of interpreting the messages of our senses to provide order and meaning to the environment. Among the most important perceptions that influence organizational behaviour are the perceptions that organizational members have of each other.
Components of Perception
Perception has three components –
A. The Perceiver
The perceiver’s experience, motives, and emotions can affect his or her perceptions.
Experience. One of the most important influences on perception is experience – our past experiences lead us to develop expectations and these affect current perceptions –
Motivational State. Differences in our needs at a given moment and our motivational state can also be a source of conflict within organizations.
Emotional State. Emotional state refers to the particular emotions that an individual feels at a given time. Emotions such as anger, happiness, or fear
B. The Target
Our perceptions are also influenced by the target’s social status and ambiguity. Ambiguity or lack of information about a target leads to a greater need for interpretation and addition.
C. The Situation
The context of the situation can greatly influence our perceptions by adding information about the target.
Common perceptual distortions include:
1. Selective Perception: People selectively interpret what they see on the basis of their interest, background, experience, and attitudes.
2. Halo Effect: Drawing a general impression about an individual on the basis of a single characteristic.
3. Contrast Effects: Evaluations of a person’s characteristics that are affected by comparisons with other people recently encountered who rank higher or lower on the same characteristics.
4. Projection: Attributing one’s own characteristics to other people
5. Stereotyping: Judging someone on the basis of one’s perception of the group to which that person belongs.
Impact of judgmental error on perception interpretation
Early impressions are very important. Error on Perceptual judgments may often lead to non-selection of the candidate in spite of having required qualification.
Due to error of perception people expect better performance from those who are not capable of doing it.
Self-fulfilling prophecy (Pygmalion Effect)
It is based on the notion that expectations can determine behavior – this is
a very powerful managerial technique!
There are cases of wrong ethnic profiling of employees within organization as a result of judgmental error on perception. Performance Evaluations
Many perceptions are used in the evaluation of employees, which may not be always right.
How is “effort of employee” perceived by the management? It is often a “reason” for terminations of employee. Thus employee can be fired due wrong perception.