Perception Meaning, Definition, nature, Issues, importance


Table of Content:-

  1. Perception Meaning
  2. Perception Definition 
  3. Nature of Perception
  4. Importance of Perception
  5. Characteristics of Perception
  6. Issues Involved in Perception

Perception Meaning

“Perception is the process by which information obtained from the outside environment is selected, received, organized, analyzed, and evaluated to make it meaningful for people. This meaningful information results in better decisions and activities.”

The “Pygmalion effect”, also known as the “Rosegel effect”, this theory teaches that people will act or behave in the way that others expect them to. This is similar to the concept of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Influence has both positive and negative results—a person is expected by his or her superiors to succeed, but the opposite is also usually true. Most of the time, these expectations are not discussed openly. They are communicated passively through words or gestures. Its impact is most discussed in the context of education and the workplace, but it can also take hold in individuals.

Perception Definition in Organisational Behaviour

Perception Definition 

According to S.P. Robbins, “Perception may be defined as a means by which people organize and understand their sensory impressions to give meaning to their surroundings”.

According to Joseph Reitz, “Perception includes all those processes by which an individual receives information about his environment-seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, and smelling”,

According to Kolasa, “Perception is the selection and organization of material which originates from the external environment at one time or the other to provide the meaningful reality we experience”.

Nature and Importance of Perception in Organisational Behaviour

Nature of Perception

The nature of perception in organisational behaviour is as follows:

Nature of Perception

1) Intellectual Process: Perception involves the selection, organising, and analysis of data from the surroundings to gain some viewpoints. Hence, it is an intellectual process.

2) Psychological Process: Perception is based on the psychology of individuals. Hence, it can be said that how a person acts, thinks, or feels is influenced by the perception of his environment. 

3) Subjective Process: Two or more persons might observe the same event differently. This depends on their ability to choose what to understand, and how to classify the information collection and analysis of the event. Thus, perception is a subjective process.

4) Lens Providing Worldview: Perception acts as a lens because it equips a person with a viewpoint about his surroundings and reality.

5) Socially Connected: Every individual needs to understand the nature of another person every now and then because the mindset of an individual keeps on changing with time. Hence, it is said that perception is socially connected.

6) Culturally Influenced: Views of people can be influenced by their cultural values about the world. 

For example, people belonging to different cultures speak different languages.

7) Self-Fulfilling: When we talk about person perception, both the perceiver and the perceived are the persons, which ultimately makes the scenario more complex. 

For example, during hard times, people believe that the present situation is bad and it will become worse in the days to come. Hence, they start behaving selfishly. They just focus on protecting themselves and their families.

Related Article:- Functions of Attitude

Importance of Perception

Importance of perception in organisational behaviour.

Perception is important due to the following reasons. The importance of perception in ob is listed below:

1) Helps in Understanding Human Behaviour: Every individual observes the world differently and deals with problems differently. An object might not be perceived in the same manner as it really is. If a person purchases fruits from a particular vendor it is not because the vendor is selling the best fruits in the whole market but because the person perceives him to be doing so. 

It is due to the perception that a job that one person finds suitable and satisfying might not appear as good to the other. So, perception plays a significant role in understanding human behaviour. 

2) Helps in Forecasting Behaviour: Different individuals behave differently when facing the same situation as they view the same situation differently. A person’s behaviour can be predicted by understanding his current situation and his current perception of the environment.

3) Facilitates Needs Determination: A person’s perception is influenced by his needs. Hence, by understanding the perception of a person about a certain situation, his needs can also be understood. For example, mirrors in an amusement park show different images of the same object.

4) Assists in Handling Subordinates Effectively: If a manager wants to be effective and intends to avoid mistakes in the work environment, he needs to understand the perception of his employees. This would help him in predicting the behaviour of employees as he would be aware of their viewpoints.

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.

Issues Involved in Perception

Various issues involved in perception are as follows:

  • Selective Perception
  • Halo Effect
  • Contrast Effect
  • Projection
  • Stereotyping 
  • Attributional Bias
  • Impression 
  • Inference
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
  • Pygmalion effect
Issues Involved in Perception

1. Selective Perception

People are prone to describe a situation based on their interests, background, experiences, and attitude. On the road, they will notice those vehicles more which resemble their own, or in-office why some employees get an appreciation for doing a certain act which when done by others is overlooked. This is because people cannot observe every time and everything happening around them, so they perceive things selectively. 

For example, if there is a rumour that due to a reduction in sales, the company is planning for a reduction, and meanwhile a senior executive plans a routine visit. It would be presumed that he is visiting the premises to eliminate employees; however, that would be the last thing on his mind.

2. Halo Effect 

At times we judge a person exclusively based on a single trait. This is known as the halo effect. Under the influence of a halo, a perceiver cannot judge an individual properly because he does not consider all his traits. 

For example, if an employee is always the first one to reach the office and the last one to leave the office, he is considered to be very industrious and creative.

On the other hand, an employee with a casual attitude and relaxed body language would not be taken seriously and would not be relied upon. These two judgments taken by a manager are based on the halo effect and might not be accurate as the manager has taken into account only a single obvious characteristic of the employees. Such judgments should be carefully examined as a single trait cannot define the character and performance of an employee.

Related Article:- Process of Communication

3. Contrast Effect 

The contrast effect states that something dramatically different will overstate the contrast between it and everything else. 

For example, in an interview when there are huge numbers of job applications, distortion in the evaluation of any candidate may occur based on the place of his application. If his application is placed after a relatively weak candidate, it may immediately grasp the attention of the interviewer whereas it may lose its charm if it is placed after a very strong candidate.

Another example of the contrast effect is that after rating an excellent performer, the supervisor begins to rate other performers. But due to contrasting effects, the supervisor will find significant differences in their performances, productivity, and aptitudes and hence will rate him as an average performer. Therefore, the contrast effect plays a negative part in the supervisor’s decision making.

4. Projection 

Connecting one’s own characteristics to other people. If a person is respectable and trustworthy, he so takes it for granted that other people are also honest and trustworthy. 

People who engage in projection tend to perceive others according to what they are like, rather than what the person being observed in reality is like. When observing other people who actually are like them, these observers are quite accurate – not because they are conscious but because they always judge people as being similar to themselves. So when they do find someone who is like them, they are naturally correct.

5. Stereotyping  

Stereotyping refers to making a general image regarding the characteristics (which are usually wrong) of all members of a group. This hampers a manager’s ability to take correct decisions. 

For example, Mahesh is an introvert but an excellent salesman, but his manager underrates his performance as compared to the other salespersons because he does not fit with them. The manager here ignored his performance due to stereotyping and made an inaccurate judgment.

At certain levels, stereotyping can help to evaluate the environment. On the other hand, its negative consequences can lead to everlasting inaccuracies. It creates social biasness and erroneous decisions that hamper innovation and infect the utilization of human resources, futility, and incompetence. 

For example, in the case of impaired employees, the employer’s stereotype is the major problem that workers face. Workers are regarded as lacking job-related skills, having lower performance levels, and taking more leaves. However, the findings state that these stereotypes are not true. When highly talented, well-educated people are considered unqualified due to stereotyping, then it becomes a problem. 

For example, a study based on female and male executives stated that females with less power had to face more obstacles and had to do more assignments for promotion as compared to men.

6. Attributional Bias

Attribution is the method that helps an individual in determining the causes behind his behaviour. In an organization, people are not only concerned about an individual’s behaviour but also about the reason behind that behaviour. 

For example, if the productivity of a plant increases after the installation of new machines, then the credit would be given to the newly installed machines rather than to the manager and his employee-handling ability.

7. Impression 

The first impression has a great impact on others. The way a person talks behaves or even is silent has an influencing effect. This first impression decides what kind of relationship the two will share in the future. Errors because of impression occur when due for some reason the person formulates a negative image of the other person and then refuses to change it.

Related Article:- Process of Perception

For example, If a manager notices that an employee is not performing properly. The reason behind this is that his parents had recently died in a mishap. After some time, he became normal and started giving high-level performance but the manager’s opinion did not get changed as he was negatively influenced by the first impression of that particular employee.

8. Inference 

Certain people have the impulse to judge others based on insufficient knowledge. 

For example, an employee might sit at his workstation throughout. the entire day, and do nothing. Still, he might be considered committed to his work. 

Hence, before giving performance appraisals entire information about the employee must be collected. The behaviour of the employee with his colleagues and customers, his productivity, etc. must also be taken into account.

9. Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Prejudiced perceptions may find their way based on expectations. Many times people try to justify their perceptions of reality although they are totally inaccurate. Things that are acceptable in one culture might be considered inappropriate in another culture. 

Hence, in business, managers must gather information about cultural norms to avoid any awkward situations or hurt feelings of others. 

Related Article:- Factors Influencing Perception

For example, an American manager employed in Japan should be aware of the fact that while frequent smiling in America is considered polite, it would be considered foolish in Japan.

10. Pygmalion Effect

The “Pygmalion effect,” also sometimes known as the “Rosenthal effect” for the psychologist credited with discovering it, is a theory teaching that people will act or behave in the way that others expect them to. It is very similar to the concept of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The effect has both positive and negative outcomes for a person who is expected by his or her superiors to succeed will, but the opposite is also usually true. Most of the time, these expectations are not openly discussed. They are communicated passively through things like word choice or body language. To increase the likelihood of being positive Pygmalion, managers need to remember three things:

a) Individuals behave toward others consistent with their expectations of them. Managers who have high expectations of their employees are supportive and generally give employees more training and challenging jobs. By contrast, managers that have low expectations of their employees are not supportive and generally would not give employees training and challenging jobs. 

b) A person’s behaviour affects others, not only will those treated positively benefit from special opportunities but these opportunities will also bolster their self-esteem. 

c) People behave in ways following how they are treated. People who have benefited from special treatment and who have confidence in their abilities are likely to be high performers.

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