Perception and Communications in Business Organization by Ofelia , Jericho & Glenda (Group 7)
BY: OFELIA , JERICHO & GLENDA
PERCEPTION – (Pang-unawa) – is the (active) process of assessing
information in your surroundings." It involves becoming aware of one's
environment in a way that is unique to the individual and is strongly
influence by communication. However, what we perceive can be
substantially different from objective reality.
For example, all employees in a firm may view it as a great place to
work—favorable working conditions, interesting job assignments, good
pay, excellent benefits, understanding and responsible management—
but, as most of us know, it’s very unusual to find such agreement.
Why is perception important in the study of OB? Simply because people’s
behavior is based on their perception of what reality is, not on reality
itself. The world as it is perceived is the world that is behaviorally
Factors That Influence Perception
Factors in the perceiver
Factors in the situation
Factors in the target
PERSON PERCEPTION: MAKING JUDGMENTS ABOUT
Attribution Theory - tries to explain the ways in which we judge people
differently, depending on the meaning we attribute to a given behavior. 1 It
suggests that when we observe an individual’s behavior, we attempt to
determine whether it was internally or externally caused.
Internally caused behaviors are those we believe to be under the
personal control of the individual. EXAMPLE : If one of your employees is late
for work, you might attribute that to his partying into the wee hours and then
Externally caused behavior is what we imagine the situation forced the
individual to do. EXAMPLE : if you attribute lateness to an automobile accident
that tied up traffic, you are making an external attribution.
That determination, however, depends largely on three factors:
Distinctiveness - refers to whether an individual displays different behaviors in
different situations. Is the employee who arrives late today also one who regularly
“blows off” commitments? What we want to know is whether this behavior is
unusual. If it is, we are likely to give it an external attribution. If it’s not, we will
probably judge the behavior to be internal.
Consensus - If everyone who faces a similar situation responds in the same way. The
behavior of our tardy employee meets this criterion if all employees who took the
same route were also late. From an attribution perspective, if consensus is high, you
would probably give an external attribution to the employee’s tardiness, whereas if
other employees who took the same route made it to work on time, you would
attribute his lateness to an internal cause.
Consistency - an observer looks in a person’s actions. Does the person respond the
same way over time? Coming in 10 minutes late for work is not perceived in the
same way for an employee who hasn’t been late for several months as it is for an
employee who is late two or three times a week. The more consistent the behavior,
the more we are inclined to attribute it to internal causes.
summarizes the key elements in attribution theory It tells us, for
instance, that if an employee Kim, generally performs at about the same level on
related tasks as she does on her current task (low distinctiveness), other
employees frequently perform differently—better or worse— than Kim on that
task (low consensus), and Kim’s performance on this current task is consistent
over time (high consistency), anyone judging Kim’s work will likely hold her
primarily responsible for her task performance (internal attribution).
Observation Interpretation Attribution of Cause
Individual Behavior Consensus
Fundamental Attribution Error - The tendency to underestimate the influence of
external factors and overestimate the influence of internal factors when making
judgments about the behavior of others.
This can explain why a sales manager is prone to attribute the poor
performance of her sales agents to laziness rather than to the innovative product
line introduced by a competitor.
Self-serving Bias - The tendency for individuals to attribute their own successes to
internal factors and put the blame for failures on external factors.
Individuals and organizations also tend to attribute their own successes
to internal factors such as ability or effort, while blaming failure on external factors
such as bad luck or unproductive co-workers. People also tend to attribute
ambiguous information as relatively flattering and accept positive feedback while
rejecting negative feedback.
Common Shortcuts in Judging Others
Selective Perception - Any characteristic that makes a person, an object, or an event
stand out will increase the probability we will perceive it. Why? Because it is
impossible for us to assimilate everything we see; we can take in only certain stimuli.
This explains why you’re more likely to notice cars like your own, or why a boss may
reprimand some people and not others doing the same thing. Because we can’t
observe everything going on about us, we engage in selective perception. A classic
example shows how vested interests can significantly influence which problems we
Halo Effect – When we draw a general impression about an individual on the basis of
a single characteristic, such as intelligence, sociability, or appearance, a halo effect is
operating. 13 If you’re a critic of President Obama, try listing 10 things you admire
about him. If you’re an admirer, try listing 10 things you dislike about him. No matter
which group describes you, odds are you won’t find this an easy exercise! That’s the
halo effect: our general views contaminate our specific ones.
Contrast Effects – An old adage among entertainers is “Never follow an act that has
kids or animals in it.” Why? Audiences love children and animals so much that you’ll
look bad in comparison. This example demonstrates how a contrast effect can distort
perceptions. We don’t evaluate a person in isolation. Our reaction is influenced by
other persons we have recently encountered.
Stereotyping – When we judge someone on the basis of our perception of the group
to which he or she belongs.
One problem of stereotypes is that they are widespread and often useful
generalizations, though they may not contain a shred of truth when applied to a
particular person or situation. So we constantly have to check ourselves to make sure
we’re not unfairly or inaccurately applying a stereotype in our evaluations and
decisions. Stereotypes are an example of the warning “The more useful, the more
danger from misuse.”
Specific Applications of Shortcuts in Organizations
People in organizations are always judging each other. Managers must
appraise their employees’ performances. We evaluate how much effort our co-
workers are putting into their jobs. Team members immediately “size up” a new
person. In many cases, our judgments have important consequences for the
Employment Interview – Few people are hired without an interview.
But interviewers make perceptual judgments that are often inaccurate and draw
early impressions that quickly become entrenched.
Performance Expectations – People attempt to validate their
perceptions of reality even when these are faulty. 23 The terms self-fulfilling
prophecy and Pygmalion effect describe how an individual’s behavior is
determined by others’ expectations.
Performance Evaluation – An employee’s future is closely tied to the
appraisal—promotion, pay raises, and continuation of employment are among
the most obvious outcomes.
Individuals in organizations make decisions , choices from among two
or more alternatives. Top managers determine their organization’s goals, what
products or services to offer, how best to finance operations, or where to locate a
new manufacturing plant. Middle- and lower-level managers set production
schedules, select new employees, and decide how to allocate pay raises.
Nonmanagerial employees decide how much effort to put forth at work and
whether to comply with a boss’s request. Organizations have begun empowering
their nonmanagerial employees with decision-making authority historically
reserved for managers alone. Individual decision making is thus an important part
of organizational behavior. But the way individuals make decisions and the quality
of their choices are largely influenced by their perceptions.
Decision making occurs as a reaction to a problem.
Every decision requires us to interpret and evaluate information. We
typically receive data from multiple sources and need to screen, process, and
interpret them. Which data are relevant to the decision, and which are not? Our
perceptions will answer that question. We also need to develop alternatives and
evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.
Communication – The transfer and understanding of meaning.
- Serves four major functions within a group or organization: control,
motivation, emotional expression, and information.
- Acts to control member behavior in several ways. Organizations have
authority hierarchies and formal guidelines employees are required to follow.
- Fosters motivation by clarifying to employees what they must do, how
well they are doing it, and how they can improve if performance is subpar.
- Communication within the group is a fundamental mechanism by
which members show their satisfaction and frustrations. Communication,
therefore, provides for the emotional expression of feelings and fulfillment of
- The final function of communication is to facilitate decision making.
Communication provides the information individuals and groups need to make
decisions by transmitting the data needed to identify and evaluate choices.
Before communication can take place it needs a purpose, a message to be
conveyed between a sender and a receiver. The sender encodes the message
(converts it to a symbolic form) and passes it through a medium (channel) to the
receiver, who decodes it. The result is transfer of meaning from one person to
sender initiates a message by encoding a thought, the message is the
actual physical product of the sender’s encoding, channel is the medium through
which the message travels. The sender selects it, determining whether to use a
formal or informal channel. Formal channels are established by the organization and
transmit messages related to the professional activities of members. They
traditionally follow the authority chain within the organization. Other forms of
messages, such as personal or social, follow informal channels , which are
spontaneous and emerge as a response to individual choices. Receiver is the
person(s) to whom the message is directed, who must first translate the symbols into
understandable form. This step is the decoding of the message. Noise represents
communication barriers that distort the clarity of the message, such as perceptual
problems, information overload, semantic difficulties, or cultural differences. The
final link in the communication process is a feedback loop. Feedback is the check on
how successful we have been in transferring our messages as originally intended. It
determines whether understanding has been achieved.
Communication can flow vertically or laterally. We further subdivide the
vertical dimension into downward and upward directions.
Downward Communication - Communication that flows from one level of
a group or organization to a lower level. Group leaders and managers use it to
assign goals, provide job instructions, explain policies and procedures, point out
problems that need attention, and offer feedback about performance.
Upward Communication - flows to a higher level in the group or
organization. It’s used to provide feedback to higher-ups, inform them of progress
toward goals, and relay current problems. Upward communication keeps managers
aware of how employees feel about their jobs, co-workers, and the organization in
general. Managers also rely on upward communication for ideas on how conditions
can be improved.
Lateral Communication - takes place among members of the same work
group, members of work groups at the same level, managers at the same level, or
any other horizontally equivalent workers
Oral Communication - is the process of verbally transmitting information
and ideas from one individual or group to another.
informal oral communication include face-to-face
conversations, telephone conversations, or discussions that take place at business
formal types of oral communication include presentations at
business meetings, classroom lectures, or a commencement speech given at a
Written Communication - involves any type of message that makes use of
the written word. Written communication is the most important and the most
effective of any mode of business communication.
Types Of Written Communication
Some of the various forms of written communication that are used
internally for business operations include memos, reports, bulletins, job
descriptions, employee manuals, e-mail, and Instant Messages (IM).
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Written Communication
Some advantages of written communication are:
• No need for personal contact. You can tell an employee he or she has to work
overtime through an email instead of face to face.
• Saves money. You can send an email instead of calling long distance.
• Written proof. Provides written proof in case of a dispute.
Some disadvantages of written communication are:
• Delay in Communication. It may take a while to get to the intended recipient.
• Lack of Secrecy. Once it's on paper, anyone can read it.
• Costly. If the sender and receiver are sitting next to each other, you still have to
spend money on paper or Internet service.
Nonverbal Communication - is the process of communication through
sending and receiving wordless (mostly visual) cues between people. It is
sometimes mistakenly referred to as body language (kinesics), but nonverbal
communication encompasses much more, such as use of voice (paralanguage),
touch (haptics), distance (proxemics), and physical environments/appearance.
Organizational Communication is a sub field of the larger discipline
of communication studies. Organizational communication, as a field, is the
consideration, analysis, and criticism of the role of communication in
Formal Small-Group Networks - Formal organizational networks can
be very complicated, including hundreds of people and a half- dozen or more
The Grapevine - The informal communication network in a group or
Electronic Communications - An indispensable—and in about 71
percent of cases, the primary—medium of communication in today’s
organizations is electronic. Electronic communications include e-mail, text
messaging, networking software, blogs, and video conferencing.
E-mail – uses the Internet to transmit and receive computer-generated
text and documents. E-mail is not without drawbacks. The following are some of
its most significant limitations and what organizations should do to reduce or
Instant Messaging and Text Messaging – Like e-mail, instant
messaging (IM) and text messaging (TM) use electronic media. Unlike e-mail,
though, IM and TM either occur in real time (IM) or use portable communication
Social Networking – Nowhere has communication been more
transformed than in the rise of social networking. You are doubtless familiar with
and perhaps a user of social networking platforms such as Facebook and
Video Conferencing – Video conferencing permits employees in an
organization to have real-time meetings with people at different locations. Live
audio and video images let participants see, hear, and talk with each other
without being physically in the same location.
blog (Web log) – A Web site where entries are written, and generally
displayed in reverse chronological order, about news, events, and personal diary
Twitter – A free blogging and networking service where users send
and read messages known as tweets, many of which concern OB issues.
Information Overload – A condition in which information inflow
exceeds an individual’s processing capacity
Threats to Information Security
Most companies actively monitor employee Internet use and e-mail
records, and some even use video surveillance and record phone conversations.
Necessary though they may be, such practices can seem invasive to employees.
An organization can relieve employee concerns by engaging them in the creation
of information-security policies and giving them some control over how their
personal information is used.
Channels differ in their capacity to convey information. Some are rich
in that they can (1) handle multiple cues simultaneously, (2) facilitate rapid
feedback, and (3) be very personal. Others are lean in that they score low on
these factors. As Exhibit 11-6 illustrates, face-to-face conversation scores highest
in channel richness because it transmits the most information per
communication episode—multiple information cues (words, postures, facial
expressions, gestures, intonations), immediate feedback (both verbal and
nonverbal), and the personal touch of being present. Impersonal written media
such as formal reports and bulletins rate lowest in richness.
functions of communication and the features that might make messages
more or less persuasive to an audience.
Automatic and Controlled Processing – A relatively superficial
consideration of evidence and information making use of heuristics.
Controlled Processing – A detailed consideration of evidence and
information relying on facts, figures, and logic.
Rules of thumb for determining what types of processing an
audience will use.
Interest Level Prior Knowledge Personality
Message Characteristics Filtering Selective Perception
Information Overload Emotions Language
Silence Communication Apprehension
Global Implications - Effective communication is difficult under the best of
conditions. Cross-cultural factors clearly create the potential for increased
communication problems. A gesture that is well understood and acceptable in one
culture can be meaningless or lewd in another.
Cultural Barriers - Researchers have identified a number of problems
related to language difficulties in cross-cultural communications.
Cultural Context - Cultures tend to differ in the degree to which context
influences the meaning individuals take from communication.
high-context cultures Cultures that rely heavily on nonverbal
and subtle situational cues in communication.
low-context cultures Cultures that rely heavily on words to
convey meaning in communication.
link between communication and employee
• The less distortion, the more employees will receive goals, feedback, and other
management messages as intended. 65 This, in turn, should reduce ambiguities
and clarify the group’s task.
• Extensive use of vertical, lateral, and informal channels also increases
communication flow, reduces uncertainty, and improves group performance and
• Perfect communication is unattainable. Yet a positive relationship exists between
effective communication and worker productivity. 66 Choosing the correct channel,
being an effective listener, and using feedback can make for more effective
• Whatever the sender’s expectations, the message as decoded in the receiver’s
mind represents his or her reality. And this reality will determine performance,
along with the individual’s level of motivation and degree of satisfaction.
• Because we gather so much meaning from the way a message is communicated,
the potential for misunderstanding in electronic communication is great despite its
• We sometimes process messages relatively automatically, while at other times we
use a more effortful, controlled process. Make sure you use communication
strategies appropriate to your audience and the type of message you’re sending.
• Finally, by keeping in mind communication barriers such as gender and culture,
we can overcome them and increase our communication effectiveness.
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