What Is Attitude? The term attitude is being used quite frequently in describing people’s behavior. There are two senses in which it is used. One is in general terms, meaning the positive or negative orientation of a person. For e.g, when it is said that Mala has a positive attitude or hat Geeta has a negative attitude. However, this is not a correct usage of the term ‘ attitude’. Attitude always has a referent, i.e. an object towards which positive or negative orientation is implied.
Cont.. Attitude is always ‘towards’ something. For e.g., you may say that Mohan has a positive attitude towards his organization. Although attitudes are generally affective (or emotional) in nature, they also have terms of acting or behaving on basis of that feeling. For e.g, my exposure, my job gives me enough knowledge about it. Then I develop a feeling for it (I like it or I do not like it). Finally, I act on the feeling- stay on in my job or quit it so generally attitudes lead to behavior.
Cont.. Attitudes can also be defined as a multiplicative function of beliefs and values. A belief is an association between two cognitive elements. For e.g, if a person believes that not spacing out one’s children ( having children without enough gap between their births) is injurious to the mother’s health. If the person has a high value for the mother’s health,
Cont… An attitude is a imaginary construct that represents anindividuals degree of like or dislike for something. Attitudes aregenerally positive or negative views of a person, place, thing, orevent— this is often referred to as the attitude object. Attitude affects (influences, impacts) on behavior. Behavior affects (influences, impacts)on attitude.
Work Attitudes In relation to organization, the general meaning of attitude is applied to work. Work attitudes are reflected in job satisfaction and in organizational commitment. Job Satisfaction Job satisfaction includes various aspects- the nature of the job itself, the compensation a person gets by working on the job, growth opportunities for career advancement, the organizational climate, the behavior of the supervisor and coworkers and so on.
Cont.. Job satisfaction can be increased by increasing role efficacy, by understanding a person’s needs and making sure that these needs are met in the work assigned to the person. Job satisfaction leads to improved performance and retention of personnel in the organization. Recruitment policies, placements practices, development schemes, etc. contribute to job satisfaction.
Organizational Commitment It is another aspect of work attitudes. While job satisfaction is primarily concerned with the job or the work a person undertakes in an organization, commitment shows the relationship between the individual and the organization. The stronger such a relationship is, the higher the organizational commitment will be. It has been suggested that organizational commitment is a critical aspect of work attitude. There are 3 dimensions of organizational commitment1. Affective commitment2. Continuous commitment3. Normative commitment
Cont..1. Affective commitment: a person’s emotional attachment to and identification with the organization.2. Continuous commitment: based on the benefits the person see in continuing with the organization.3. Normative commitment: the willingness of the person to continue with the organization because it is commonly considered a good thing to stat on.
Attitude Change Attitudes have 3 components- Cognitive (knowledge and understanding), Affective(feeling), and Conative (action). Attitudes change covers all 3 aspects. Several theories have been proposed for attitude change.
Reinforcement Theory Hovland et al. propounded one of the first major theories of attitude change, developed in the framework of Hull’s learning theory, and oriented towards the effects of persuasive communication. According to this theory, changes in opinions can result in attitude change, depending on the presence or absence of rewards. The learning of new attitudes is not different in nature than any other verbal or motor skill, except that opinions relate to a single propositions, whereas other skills involve a series of propositions.
Cont.. The acceptance of new opinion ( and hence attitude formation) is dependent upon the incentives that are offered in the communication.
Balance Theory Heider developed a balance theory of attitude change that was influenced by Gestalt principles. In Heider’s theory, when beliefs are unbalanced, stress is created and there is pressure to change attitudes. The two main factors affecting balance are the sentiment(e.g., liking, approving, admiring) and unity(e.g., similarity, proximity, membership) qualities of beliefs. Balance exists if the sentiment or unity between beliefs about events or people are equally positive or negative, imbalance occurs when they are dissimilar in nature.
Cognitive Consistency Theory Abelson and others developed theories of cognitive consistency. It suggests that people will try and maintain consistency among their beliefs and make changes(i.e., accept or reject ideas) when this does not occur. For e.g, if a college student who wants to live in a co-ed dormitory and also wants to get good grades is presented with fact that student who live in co- ed dorms get poor grades, the student will either reject this propositions or change his attitudes about co-ed dorms or good grades.
Cognitive Dissonance Theory Cognitive Consistency Theory proposes that people are motivated to change and act consistently with their beliefs, values, and perceptions when there is psychological inconsistency or disagreement between two pieces of information. The conflict between the inconsistent factors produces dissonance. The person begins to doubt previously held rationales, beliefs, or values. These doubts produce uncomfortable feelings and may interfere with the ability to act. The pros and cons of each factor are examined.
Cont.. The resolution of the dissonance occurs when one factor is seen as more attractive than the other. Prior to the resolution of the dissonance, the dilemma between the conflicting factors prevents action. When dissonance is resolved, the person is better able to act in accordance with the more attractive factor because beliefs, values, and perceptions agree with the behavior.
BeliefsBeliefs are assumptions or convictions hold as true about something, concept, or person.Norms Of Beliefs a. Formal: Norms are official standards or laws that govern behavior. b. Informal: These norms are unwritten rules or standards that govern the behavior of group members
Values A value is a conception, explicit or implicit, distinctive of an individual or characteristic of a group, of the desirable which influences the selection from available modes, modes, means, and ends of action. In this definition, they emphasize the affective (desirable), cognitive (conception), and Conative (selection) elements as essential to the concept of value. Values represent basic conviction that a specific mode of conduct or end state of existence is personally or socially preferable to an opposite or converse mode of conduct or end state of existence.
Societal Values We shall take up four main Western conceptual frameworks of societal values and then see the values of the Indian society. Values do not operate singly. Several values interact with each other and value systems or value orientation are formed. Most conceptual frameworks propose such systems. Human- nature orientation. This mainly delve into ethical values, which fall in a conservatism- liberalism continuum. Values such as purification of mind, respect for individuals, containment of greed, self- restraint, integrity, detachment, compassion, etc come under this category.
Cont… Man- nature orientation: this is represented by the fatalism- scientism dimension- does nature control nature? Fatalism can be defined as a belief that human situation and acts are predetermined by some supernatural power and can never be, or is little, influenced by individual volition. On the other hand, scientism can be defined as a belief that human situations are the result of natural and/ or social forces, which can be understood and changed by human volition or human action.
Time orientation This is reflected in past orientation, present orientation, or future orientation. Activity orientation: conservatism-liberalism mainly represents the human nature dimensions and also the activity dimension in part. Conservatism can be defined as positive attitude towards traditional institutions and practices and a maintaining of the status quo, producing a tendency to resist change. Liberalism can be defined as a positive attitude towards the search for new ways and new ideas and modification or change in the status quo.