Conceptual: According to Even Allport, “Attitude is a mental and neural state of readiness organized through experience, exerting a directive or dynamic influence upon the individual’s response to all objects and situations with which it is related.”
According to Katz and Scotland, “Attitude is a tendency or predisposition to evaluate an object or symbol of that object in a certain way.” Operational: The concept of attitude is operationalised in a number of ways, but in most cases studies rely on some kind of questionnaire to measure attitude. According to Reitz, “Attitude is persistent tendency to feel and behave in a favourable or unfavourable way towards some object, person or idea.”
Components of Attitude
Cognitively-based Attitudes The attitude of disallowing my seatmates in school to copy my assignments so that I will remain one of the best students in school. Besides, I believe that I am more wise and intelligent than other students.
Affectively-based Attitude: One’s feelings regarding the way Barack Obama handled the government despite the economic crisis wherein he is not afraid of the on-going problems as effects of poverty nowadays. Barack Obama is indeed resolute in playing as the elected President of the country. Behaviourally-based Attitude My disgust of poor people for I believe that they are too lazy to work for their own good. Those people who are loitering in the streets do not deserve help from the government and non-governmental organizations if it was proven that they do not work hard to earn a living. I cannot just tolerate these kinds of people especially that I worked hard for my success in life.
Attitudes are subjective attributes of people.
Conceptualizations of human qualities formed on the basis of either rational considerations or statistical evidence.
Attitude measurement is concerned with efforts to tap these attitudes as they are characteristics of individual. Summers has made the following classifications of methods of attitude measurement:
Self-report (mainly questionnaires dealing with beliefs, feelings and behaviours)
Indirect tests (like projective techniques and disguised approaches)
Direct observation techniques
Psychological reaction techniques
Thurstone type of scale
Developed by Thurstone and Chave.
Collect large number of statements related to the area in which attitudes are to be measured.
Statements are both favourable and unfavourable.
These are placed in 11 piles.
Most favourable statement placed in pile 1 and the most unfavourable statement placed in pile 11.
The scale is then presented to the respondents.
Each respondent checks the statement with which he agrees.
His attitude score on the basis of average or median scale of the statements he has checked.
Likert’s Attitude Scale
Uses 5 points.
Statement related to measurement of attitude is given to the respondent and he is asked to check one of the 5 points given for every statement.
Points show degree of agreement or disagreement of the person to the statement.
The Likert Scale is considered better as compared to Thurstone.
Developed by Osgood, Suci and Tannenbaum.
Semantic differential means the successive allocation of a concept to a point in the multidimensional space by selection from among a set of given scaled semantic alternatives.
The respondent marks the position along each scale that reflects his attitude to the object.
Scale values often range from 1 to 7.
Attitude Change The change technique can be more effective if 3 basic factors are considered adequately:
The Characteristics of attitude
The Personality of attitude holder
The group affiliation of attitude holder
Characteristics of attitude:
Extremeness of attitude Multiplexity Consistency Incorrectedness Centrality of related values There may be 2 types of attitude change:
Congruent change involves increase in the strength of an existing attitude, either to make positive attitude even more favourable or negative attitude more negative. Incongruent change is one in which direction of change is opposite to the originally held attitude. Another factor involved in the changeability of attitude is its simplicity. Attitudes which are strongly supported by other attitudes are more resistant to change.
Personality of Attitude holder:
Some people are more pursuable than others because of their difference in their personalities, which in turn change the nature of attitudes. Who is more pursuable? Level of self-esteem of a person explains the answer. The more inadequate a person feels and the more social inhibition he has, the more likely is he to be perusable. People with great deal of confidence in their own intellectual ability are more resistant to change.
Individuals often express their attitudes in terms of groups, specially in case of extreme attitudes. This is so because members in a group think alike and the membership in the group prevents existing attitudes from being disturbed by filtering the information.
From organizations point of view, managers can take following actions in bringing change in the attitude of organizational members. Manipulating reward system Clearly defining employees’ role Setting challenging targets Immediate feedback to employees about their job performance. Employee participation in decision-making. Show concern for employee feelings. Listen to employees and understand their attitude. Methods of Attitude Change
Proposed by Festinger Any incompatibility between two or more attitudes or between behaviour and attitude is called Cognitive Dissonance Theory. It deals with the relationship of ideas of a person. It states that there are 3 types of relationship between all cognitions: Dissonance Consonance Irrelevance Cognitive Dissonance Theory
Cognitions are dissonant whenever they are incompatible, or if they are opposed to one’s experience about the relationship events. Cognitions are consonant when one follows from the other on the basis of logic or experience. Cognitions are totally irrelevant when two events are not interrelated. Presence of dissonance gives rise to pressures to reduce or eliminate the dissonance and avoid further increase of dissonance. So, higher the degree of dissonance, higher would be the attempt to reduce it.
The Attitude-Behavior Relationship
First Generation of Research:
Whether we tend to associate with people we like and avoid people we dislike, we mainly eat foods that are to our tastes, we speak out in opposition to policies we consider undesirable, and we generally seem to behave in ways that are consistent with our attitudes.” To what extent, if at all, are attitudes predictive of behavior? The LaPiere Study and its implications for the field. Wicker (1969) challenge to the predictive power of the attitude construct. But were investigators expecting too much?
The Attitude Behavior Relationship
• Second Generation of Research:
When the moderator variable approach: Under what conditions do what kinds of attitudes of what kinds of individuals predict what kinds of behavior? Identifying moderating factors contributes to our understanding of the processes involved in going from attitudes to behavior.
Conditions: Situational moderators (normative concerns, Campbell's situational threshold model; theory of planned behavior).
Attitudes: Predictor moderators (examples of attitudinal qualities, e.g., method of attitude formation, issue involvement and self-interest).
Individuals: Personal moderators (relevant individual differences, e.g., self-monitoring, Need for Cognition).
Behavior: Criterion moderators (properties of the behavior to be measured; principle of correspondence).
Third Generation of Research: How and by what psychological mechanisms do attitudes guide behavior? To improve the accuracy of our prediction of specific action tendencies, it is necessary to examine the processes whereby attitudes guide behavior. Deliberative (reasoned action, planned behavior models) vs. automatic processing modes. Process models (e.g., Fazio's MODE model and other automatic activation models; implicit vs. explicit attitudes revisited). Are only strongly held attitudes automatically activated?