Introduction:Attitudes constitute an important psychological attribute ofindividuals, which shape their behavior. When a person says that helikes or dislikes something, an attitude is being expressed.For managing the people effectively in the organization,management must understand their attitudes and values.In organizations, attitudes are important because they affect jobbehavior.Definitions on Attitude are:Attitudes are evaluative statement either favorable or unfavorableconcerning objects, people, or events. They reflect how one feelsabout something. Stephen P. Robbins
The Nature of Attitudes:It is fruitful to bring out the salient features, whichcontribute to the meaning of attitudes. The following arethe features of attitude.1. Attitudes refer to feelings and beliefs of individuals orgroups of individuals.2. The feeling and beliefs are directed towards otherpeople, objects, or ideas.3. Attitudes tend to result in behavior or action.4. Attitudes can fall anywhere along a continuum fromvery favorable to very unfavorable.5. All people, irrespective of their status or intelligence,hold attitudes.
Theories of Attitude Formation:I. Cognitive consistency theoriesII. Functional theoriesIII. Social judgment theoriesIV. Self- Perception theory
I. Cognitive Consistency Theories:Attitudes do not exist in isolation; indeed, a complex structureresults which appears to have at its heart a consistent tendency tomaintain balance and resist change from influences of various types.In general, these theories are concerned with inconsistencies thatarise between related beliefs, bits of knowledge, and/or evaluationsabout an object or an issue. Psychological tension created by thisunpleasant state leads to attempts at reducing the inconsistency.There are four important theories under this group and they are:1. Balance Theory2. Congruity Theory3. Affective Cognitive Consistency Theory4. Cognitive Dissonance Theory
1. Balance Theory: The basic model of balance theory has beenprovided by Heider. The theory is concerned with consistency in thejudgment of people and/or issues that are linked by some form ofrelationship.There are three elements in the attitude formation and they are:i. The personii. Other personiii. Impersonal entity.In a three element system, balance exists if all three relations arepositive or if two relations are negative and one is positive.Imbalance exists if all three relations are negative or if two relationsare positive and one is negative.
People tend to perceive others and objects linked to them so that thesystem is balanced. Thus, if a perceiver likes a source who favors acertain position on an issues, the balancing process includes theperceiver to favour that position too. When imbalance states occur, thepsychological tension created motivates the person to restore balancecognitively by changing the relation. Thus, a person’s attitudestowards an object depend on his attitudes towards a source who islinked with the object.2. Congruity Theory: Osgood and Tannenbaum have proposed thecongruity (suitable) theory of attitudes which is similar to the balancetheory. Congruity exists when a source and concept that are positivelyassociated have exactly the same evaluations and when a source andconcept that are negatively associated have exactly the oppositiveevaluations attached to them. Congruity is a stable state andincongruity is unstable one. Incongruity leads to attitude change, andthe theory states how much attitudes towards the source and towardsthe concept change in order to resolve the incongruity.
3. Affective Cognitive Consistency Theory: This theory,propounded by Rosenberg, is concerned with the consistencybetween a person’s overall attitude or effect towards an objector issue and his beliefs about its relationship to his moregeneral value. Rosenberg has related attitudes to one aspect ofcognitive structure-means-end relationship between the objector issues and the achievement of desired and undesired value ofgoals. This theory is also called structural because it isconcerned mainly with what happens within the individualwhen an attitude changes.When there is inconsistency beyond a certain level oftolerance, the individual is motivated to reduce theinconsistency and thereby to change one or both components tomake them more consistent.
4. Cognitive Dissonance Theory: Leon Festinger proposed thetheory of cognitive dissonance. This theory sought to explain thelinkage between attitudes and behaviour. Dissonance means aninconsistency. Cognitive dissonance refers to any incompatibility thatan individual might perceive between two or more of his or herattitudes, or between his or her behaviour and attitudes. Festingerargued that any form of inconsistency is uncomfortable and thatindividuals will attempt to reduce the dissonance and, hence, thediscomfort. Therefore, individuals will seek a stable state, in whichthere is a minimum of dissonance.For example, the dissonance producing behaviour is required as aresult of the boss’s directive, the pressure to reduce dissonance wouldbe less than if the behaviour was performed voluntarily. Althoughdissonance exists, it can be rationalized and justified.Rewards also influence the degree to which individuals are motivatedto reduce dissonance. The rewards act to reduce dissonance byincreasing the consistency side of the individual’s balance sheet.
II. Functional Theories: Functional theory considers howattitudes and efforts are related to the motivationalstructure of the individual. The theory focuses on themeaning of the influence situation in terms of both thekind of motive that is aroused and the individual’s methodof copying and achieving his goals.There are two important theories under this group and theyare:1. Functional theory by Katz2. Functional theory by Kelman
1. Functional theory by Katz:The most prominent person who visualized functional theory is Katzand he suggests four functions of attitudes and they are:a. Utilitarian or instrumental functionb. Ego defensivec. Value orientationd. Knowledge.a. Utilitarian or instrumental function: Attitudes serve as a meansto reach a desired goal or to avoid an undesired one. Instrumentalattitudes are aroused by the activation of a need or cues that areassociated with an attitude object and arouse favorable orunfavorable feelings.
b. Ego defensive: The ego-defensive function of attitudeacknowledges the important of psychological thought. Ego-defensive attitudes may be aroused by internal or external threat,frustrating events, appeals or to the build-up or repressed impulses,and suggestions by authoritarian sources. The attitudes influence hisbehaviour by affecting his perception of the situation accordingly.c. Value Orientation: The value orientation function take intoaccount attitudes that are held because they express a person’s valueor enhance his self-identity. These attitudes arise by conditions thatthreaten the self-concept, appeals to reassert the person’s self-image,or by cues that engage the person’s values and make them salient tohim.
d. Knowledge: The knowledge function of attitudes is basedon a person’s need to maintain a stable, organized andmeaningful structure of the world. Attitudes that provide astandard against which a person evaluates aspects of his worldserve the knowledge function too.Since attitudes intervene between work requirements and workresponses, information about how people feel about their jobscan be quite useful in prediction about work responses.
2. Functional theory by Kelman:His theory is directed towards the types of social relationships thatoccur in social influence situations. Kelman has distinguished threeprocesses of attitude formation and change and they are:a. Complianceb. Identificationc. Internalization.Compliance occurs when an attitude is formed or changed in orderto gain a favorable reaction from other person or group.Identification occurs when a person forms or changes his attitudebecause this adoption helps him establish or maintain a positive self-defining relationship with the influencing agent.Internalization involves adopting an attitude because it is congruentwith one’s overall value system.
III. Social Judgment Theory:The social judgment theory, formulated originally by Sheriff andHoveland, attempts to explain how existing attitudes producedistortions of attitudinally related objects and how these judgmentsmediate attitudes change. Accordingly, a person’s own stand on anissue, that is initial attitude, serves as an anchor for the judgment ofattitudinally related stimuli. The person’s initial attitude on an issueprovides a point of reference against which he evaluates otheropinions. These views can be considered in terms of attitudinalcontinuum (range) and can be considered as comprising latitudes.The latitude of acceptance, which is the range of opinions theindividual finds acceptable, encompasses the opinion that bestcharacterizes his own stand. The attitude of rejection, which is therange of opinions the individual finds objectionable, encompasses theopinion he finds most objectionable. The attitude of non-commitmentis the range of opinion that the person finds neither acceptable norunacceptable.
IV. Self- Perception Theory:Self Perception Theory: When asked about an attitude towardsome object, individuals often recall their behaviour relevant tothat object and then infer their attitude from their pastbehaviour. Self-perception theory, argues that attitudes areused, after the fact, to make sense out of an action that hasalready occurred rather than as devices that precede and guideaction.The traditional attitude-behaviour relationship is generallypositive, the behaviour-attitudes relationship is stronger. Whenone has had few experiences regarding an attitudes issue orgiven little previous thought to it, one will tend to infer his orher attitudes from his or her behaviour.
Effects of Employee Attitudes:Attitudes are reasonably good predictors of behaviour. They provideclues to an employee’s behavioral intentions or inclinations to act ina certain way. Positive job attitude help predict constructivebehaviours; negative job attitudes help predict negative behaviours.1. Employee Performance: Employee performance is higher if theemployees have higher level of job satisfaction, job involvement,and organizational commitment.2. Employee Turnover: Employee turnover is the rate of change inthe working personnel of an organization during a specified period.Employees having positive attitudes towards job satisfaction, jobinvolvement, and organizational commitment have much lowerturnover rate than those who have negative attitudes towards thesefactors.
3. Absence and Tardiness: Absenteeism is unauthorized absencefrom the workplace while tardiness is a type of short period absenceranging from a few minutes to several hours for each event.Generally negative attitudes of employees towards job satisfaction,job involvement, and organizational commitment bring higher levelof absence and tardiness.4.Organizational Citizenship: Employees demonstrateorganizational citizenship behaviours which are discretionary actionsthat promote organizational success if they have positive attitudes.While understanding employee behaviour based on attitudes maypay rich dividend, managing their attitudes requires the analysis ofcauses that underlie those attitudes. Based on such an analysis,managers can take measures to change negative attitudes.
Methods of Attitude Change:There are various methods through which a positive change inattitudes may be brought. In the social context, Cohen has suggestedfour methods for attitude change. These are:1. Communication of additional information2. Approval and disapproval of a particular attitudes3. Group influence4. Inducing engagement in discrepant behaviourFrom organization’s point of view, manager can take followingactions in bringing changes in attitudes of organizational members.1. Introducing reward system in such a way that the reward isclosely tied with individual or group performance.2. Clearly defined employees’ role so that every employee is sureabout what is expected of him.
3. Setting challenging targets for those employees whoare high achievers so that they derive satisfaction from thework itself.4. Providing immediate feedback to employees about theirjob performance.5. Providing opportunities for employees to participate indecision-making process wherever possible.6. Exhibiting a caring, considerate orientation by showingconcern for employee feelings.7.Refraining from attacking the employees’ attitudes;instead using the listening skills for understanding theirattitudes.
Attitudes and Consistency:People seek consistency among their attitudes and between theirattitudes and their behaviour. This means that individuals seek toreconcile divergent attitudes and align their attitudes and behaviour sothey appear rational and consistent. When there is an inconsistency,forces are initiated to return the individual to an equilibrium state inwhich attitudes or the behaviour is again consistent. This can be doneby altering either the attitudes or the behaviour, or by developing arationalization for the discrepancy.Attitude-Behaviour (A-B) Relationship:Attitudes alone do not influence behaviour but these act with otherfactors in the individual influencing behaviour, such as personality,perception, motivation, etc. Further, attitudes are also affected by theindividual dimensions as well as the objects, persons, and ideas.
Measuring the A-B (Attitude-Behaviour) Relationship:• Attitudes significantly predict future behaviour.• Attitudes that individuals consider important tend to show a strongrelationship to behaviour.• The more specific the attitude and the more specific the behaviour,the stronger the link between the two.• Attitudes that are easily remembered are more likely to predictbehavior than attitudes that are not accessible in memory.• So the more one talk about his or her attitude on a subject, the morehe or she is likely to remember it, and the more likely it is to shapehis or her behaviour.• The attitude-behaviour relationship is likely to be much stronger ifan attitude refers to something with which the individual has directpersonal experience.
Developing Positive Attitudes by Individuals:In an organizational setting, managers may help employees todevelop positive attitudes in them. Developing of positive attitudesis necessary for the betterment of the life because negative attitudesoften result into bitterness, resentment, high stress, ill health, andpurposeless life. Positive attitudes lead to better personalitydevelopment, meaningful life, feeling of being important, andcontribution to self and society.Following actions on the part of individuals may be more relevantfor developing positive attitudes:1. Identification of attitudes.2. Looking for positive.3. Building positive self-esteem.4. Setting challenging targets.5. Avoiding procrastination.6. Continuous learning.
1. Identification of Attitudes: Before developing positive attitudes, itis essential that the existing attitudes, both positive and negative,should be identified. Identification of one’s own attitudes helps inlocating the attitudes that are negative and need change.2. Looking for Positive: For developing positive attitudes, it isessential that one must look for positive and avoids negative persons,things, and happenings. Every person or object may have acombination of both positive and negative. Therefore, if one wants tolook for only negative, he may find fault with every thing. For lookingfor positive, it is necessary that one must analyse the situationcritically. This critical analysis gives better picture of the situation andhelps in understanding the positive aspect of the situation.3. Building Positive Self-esteem: Self-esteem denotes the extent towhich people consistently regard themselves as capable, successful,important, and worthy individuals. Therefore, developing positive self-esteem helps in inculcating positive attitudes.
4. Setting Challenging Targets: For developing positiveattitudes and being successful at work, it is essential that onemust set for himself challenging targets to be achieved.Challenging targets must always help in motivating an individualto do something better because he feels that he has to achievesomething.5. Avoiding Procrastination: Procrastination is the act or habitof putting off work till some future time, that is, the habit of“doing today’s work tomorrow.” Sometimes, it is possible thattime-wasting things may happen and the target for the day’s workis not achieved. In such a situation, it is desirable that one shouldwork for extra time to complete the day’s work.
6. Continuous Learning: For developing positive attitudes,it is essential that continuous learning must be made a part oftotal personality development. Learning is the process bywhich new behaviours are acquired.For developing positive attitudes, one must read relevantliterature. For example, those who aspire to become effectivebusiness executives must read the life history of successfulbusiness executives.
…learning never endsthe journey of excellencecontinues… Thank You