Factors Influencing Perception

Different people looking at the same thing might perceive it in different ways. Certain factors influence an individual’s perception. These factors are shown in the figure 

Factors Influencing Perception

Figure: Factors Influencing Perception


1) Internal Factors (Characteristics of the Perceiver)

Internal factors influencing perception are as follows:

  •  i) Needs and Motives: A person’s need is influenced by his perception. Need is the feeling of uneasiness when a person desires something or he knows that something is missing in his life. People experience stimuli differently as per their needs. People having diverse needs choose diverse objects for responding to or remembering things.

  • ii) Self Concept: A person’s point of view about his surroundings is influenced by his views about himself. His self-concept shapes the way he perceives things.

  • iii) Beliefs: A person’s ideologies and beliefs have a strong impact on his perception of things. Thus, the views an object or event, not as how it is but as how he believes it to be.
Related Article:- Process of Perception
  • iv) Past Experience: Past experiences, whether good or bad influence the way a person observes a present situation. If a person is hurt or betrayed by a close friend in the past he tends to take time in trusting any new relationship.

  • v) Current Psychological State: A person’s present mental state has a profound impact on how he sees the world. During stress, a person would perceive the same situation in a different manner than when he was happy.

  • vi) Expectations: Expectations play an important role in a person’s perception. For example, a technical manager does not expect technical information from his non-technical staff.



2) External Factors (Characteristics of the Target or Perceived)

External factors influencing perception are as follows: 

  • i) Size: The size of the perceived stimulus plays a very vital role in attracting the perceiver towards it. The bigger the size of the stimulus, the higher the chances that it would attract the attention of the perceiver itself. Bigger objects dominate the view and hence, are more capable of attaining perceptual selection.

  • ii) Intensity: The degree of intensity is also crucial in perceptual selection i.e., the higher the intensity the higher the chances of perceptual selection. For example, a message will be more noticed if it is highlighted, underlined, and boldly displayed

  • iii) Frequency: Repetition enhances the sensory alertness of a person. It means that if an external stimulus is repeated several times it gets more attention than if displayed only once. Hence, a stimulus having a higher frequency of repetition has a greater chance of getting selected for attention.

  • iv) Status: The status of the perceiver also influences the perception. Employees get more influenced by high-status people as compared to low-status people.

  • v) Contrast: Stimuli that mix with the environment are not as attractive as those that contrast with their surrounding environment. Factor different from the rest of the surroundings causes a contrasting effect. This principle states that an external stimulus that stands apart from the crowd gets more attention.


3) Characteristics of Situation: The situation also influences perception to a great extent. For example, the time of viewing an object, the location, light, sound, heat or cold, or any kind of situational factor affects a person’s perception.



Managerial Implications of Perception

Perception is an important tool for managers. Proper knowledge of perception and its effective application empowers managers to make excellent decisions. The concept of perception can be used in the following managerial activities:


managerial implications of perception

Managerial Implications of Perception are as follows:

  • Motivation
  • Hiring
  • Performance Expectations
  • Performance Appraisal
  • Employee Effort
  • Employee Loyalty
  • Building Relationships
  • Self-Assessment and Development

1) Motivation: Workplace perception is very important for motivation. For example, if employees perceive that organizations are concerned about their development and growth, they become motivated for better performance. Therefore, organizations must promote this perception by providing different opportunities to employees to learn new skills, perform challenging roles, etc.


2) Hiring: Perception affects hiring in several ways. A job application that displays a fresh perspective and is unique from others increases the chance of that applicant is selected. The human resource person might select applicants based on gender or race or maybe the halo effect might restrict him while perceiving an applicant.

The interviewer’s temperament at the time of the interview or his outlook towards the appearance of an applicant might also influence his perception. For example, a manager who prefers to see candidates formally dressed would certainly dislike a candidate who appears for the interview wearing goggles and a flowery shirt.


3) Performance Expectations: Perception helps managers in making a judgment regarding what to expect from an employee. If a manager intends to achieve high productivity from his employees, he should inform them about his expectations so that they can make efforts accordingly. Similarly, having a low-level perception would result in a lower level of productivity.


4) Performance Appraisal: In organizations, the managers evaluate the performance of their subordinates termed performance appraisal. This evaluation is both subjective as well as objective. Perception mainly plays its role when performance is evaluated on subjective criteria. 

The precision of the manager’s perception of the employee’s efforts plays an important role in his appraisal. This further affects employees’ promotion and development. Hence, while evaluating, the manager should make sure that his perception is free from all biasness.


5) Employee Effort: Many factors other than performance play a crucial role in deciding an individual’s future in the company. Like, the manager’s correct perception of the employee’s effort may help him move ahead. The analysis of effort is a subjective judgment and is prone to perceptual distortions and biases.


6) Employee Loyalty: Loyalty is expected from all employees working in an organization. Though employee loyalty is decreasing these days, still organisations appreciate it if employees, especially those working at managerial levels criticize the organization without any hesitation. 

Generally, it is seen that if it is known by the organization that an employee is looking for an opportunity somewhere else, then that particular employee is excluded from any promotional or developmental activities. The organization’s drive towards attaining loyalty is a big issue and the assessment of an employee’s loyalty towards his organization is totally a judgmental or perceptual process.


7) Building Relationships: If the manager’s perception is positive or productive, it helps to build effective communication and trust among the employees and improve professional relationships between the manager, employees, and junior employees. 


8) Self-Assessment and Development: Perception also helps in self-development. If what an individual perceives about himself is similar to others’ perceptions about him, then he is gaining proficiency and competence and vice versa.



Characteristics of Perception

1. Perception is a process through which an individual selects data from the environment, after selecting the data he organises it and then obtains meaning from it.

2. Perceptions correlate, integrate, and comprehend diverse sensations and information from many organs of the body using which a person identifies things and objects.

3. Perception is the basic cognitive or psychological process, a manner in which a person perceives the environment that affects his behaviour. Thus people’s actions, emotions, thoughts or feelings are triggered by the perception of their surroundings.

4. Perception is the phase of the operation that takes place after the information is received but one that is well-nigh indistinguishable from it.

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