Personality Traits and Characteristics

Personality traits mean the basic human instincts or properties, which give every human a unique identity. These attempts to isolate and describe the basic properties of the individual that direct behavior.

Human being posses different types of characteristics. Characteristics are different due to their perception and personality. The popular characteristics are shy, aggressive, submissive, lazy ambitious, loyal and timid etc.

There are fundamentally two major theories-classical and modern which deal with personality traits and which are described below.

1. Classical Theory of Personality Trait: This theory is about 2,000 years old and it deals with emotional equilibrium of a people. Emotional equilibrium was then though to be dependent on the appropriate balance among four fluids within the body. Those four fluids are following:
    • Sanguine (bold)
    • Choleric (yellow bile)
    • Melancholic (black bile)
    • Phlegmatic (phlegm)
Personality was dependent on whichever fluid was dominant. For example, individuals with an excess of blood had a sanguine personality.

2. Modern Theory: Eysenck modernized the classic biochemical theories. The individual temperaments was described as:
  • Exroverion: >> Introversion 
  • Neuroticism: >> Stability
According to Eysenck, Personality is rooted in biology. It is not inherited directed i.e. rather an individual inhabits a particular type of nervous system, which predisposes him to develop in a particular direction. The final shape of an individual's personality is determined by the interaction between his biological disposition and the environmental influences that he encounters in life.

Factors Determining the Personality

Is the personality predetermined at birth itself? Or is it the result of individual's interaction with one's environment? Strictly speaking, there is no clear-cut answer to this question. Different thinkers of personality have listed different determinants of personality. For example, McClelland has categorized them into four fundamental theories (i) Traits, (ii) Scheme, (iii) Motives and (iv) Self scheme.
There are others Scott and Mitchell, who have classified personality determinants into heredity groups and cultural factors. However, several factors influence the shaping of our personality. The important factors are:
  1. Heredity factors: Personality is the aggregates form of traits, qualities and features of human beings. Individuals have unique genes and chromosomes. Most of the characteristics of our parents are transmitted to us through genes and chromosomes. Thus, heredity approach says that personality is the muscular structure of genes.
  2. Environment factors: Not only heredity influence personality. But all our personality is influenced by environmental factors also. As for example, if someone were grown in open society that people have not feeling of shyness in talking with anew unfamiliar people. The children in urban area do not feel any hesitation in talking, discussing with a new unfamiliar people. This is due to the environmental factor. The urban's children are brought up in free society that's why they did not feel hesitation in talking with any one, where as rural children feel hesitate as they are brought up in narrow society.
  3. Situational factor: Another third factor affecting the personality is situation. Situation affects on heredity and environment traits of people changes as per situation. The features of some people changes as per time and situations.
  4. Experience in life: Whether one trusts or mistrusts others, is miserly or generous, has high or low self esteem, and the like is at least partially related to the past experience the individual has had. Imagine if someone come to you to lend him Rs. 1000 which has promised to return in a week's time and you gave it to him even though it was the last note you had in your pocket to cover the expenses for the rest of month. Suppose that the individual never again showed his face to you and you have not been able to get hold of him for the past three months. Suppose also that three such incidents happened to you with three different individuals in the past few months. What is the probability that you would trust another person who comes and asks you for a loan tomorrow? Rather low, one would think. Thus, certain personality characteristics are moulded by frequently occurring positive or negative experience in life.

Personality and Behavior

Personality may be understood as the characteristic patterns of behavior and modes of thinking that determine a person's adjustment to the environment. Personality is the dynamic organization within the individual of those psycho-physical system that determine his unique adjustment to his environment. On the other hand, behavior is the outcome of external stimulus and internal cognitive or mental process. As we know that organizational behavior is the aggregate form of the behavior and employees in the organization. The relation between behavior and personality is a part of overall individual behavior, where as organizational behavior consists of these combine. Both the terms has close relation as both those deals with human nature. 

However, the difference between personality and behavior can be
  • Personality cannot be easily predicted and measured by behavior can be predicted and can also be measured in some extent. 
  • Personality is the source but behavior is the result of every new information received and interpreted by an individual.
  • Personality results behavior but sometime certain behavior shapes personality.
Behavior is resulted from motivation but personality mainly is the result of individual characteristics and the result of situation.

Matching personality and jobs explain that the job given to an individual should fit to his personality. If the given jobs and personality matches, then high performance can be expected from the employee. So, a rational manager should always think of personality of the employee while assigning him any task. Organizations operate in a dynamic and complex environment. They want employees who can readily change tasks and move between teams. They aim for a personality-organization fit. Organization should select those employees who fit better with organization's culture. This leads to high satisfaction and low turnover.

John Holland developed personality job fit theory. He has presented six different personality types and purpose that satisfied and propensity to leave the job depend on the degree of matching personality and the job.

The six theories are as follows:
  1. Realistic: It refers physical activities that require skill, strength and coordination. The personality characteristics of realistic are shy genuine, stable conforming etc. Their matching jobs are former, drill press, operator etc. 
  2. Investigative: It prefers activities that involve thinking organizing and understanding. The personality characteristics are realistic are analytical, original curious, independent etc. Their matching job are new reporter, mathematician etc.
  3. Social: It prefers activities that involve helping and developing others. The personality characteristics are sociable friendly, cooperative, understanding etc. Their matching jobs are teaching, counselor, social worker etc.
  4. Conventional: It prefers rule regulated, ordering and unambiguous activities. The personality characteristics are conforming, efficient, practical, unimaginative, inflexible etc. Their matching jobs are accountant, bank teller, manager etc.
  5. Enterprising: It prefers verbal activities where there are opportunities to influence other and attain power. The personality characteristics are self confident, ambitious, energetic domineering etc. Their matching jobs are lawyer, P/R officer, and small business manager.
  6. Artistic: It prefers ambiguous and unsystematic activities that allow creative expression. The personality traits are imaginative, idealistic etc. Their matching jobs are painter, musician, writer etc.
Thus, if jobs are matched to personality attributes, employee will be more motivated towards the job given to him. Therefore, a rational manager should be very much conscious regarding the type of the job and personality of the employee.

Personality

Personality is the major factor that influences individual behavior in an organization. To understand the behavior of an individual or a person, first, it must be familiar about personality. By understanding the personality, behavior can be directed and controlled. Personality does not mean handsome and ugliness of human being. But it is the aggregate form of traits, qualities and features of an individual. It is concerned with reaction and interaction of individual and situation. Thus, personality represents personal characteristics that lead to consistent patterns of behaviors.

Major Personality Attributes Influencing OB
The major personality attributes or traits that influence OB are:
  1. Locus of control: This concept denotes whether people believe that they are in control of events or events control them. Those who have an internal locus of control (internals) believe that they control and shape the course of events in their livers, while those who have an external locus of control (externals) believe that events occur purely by chance or because of factors beyond their own control. Internal, as compared to externals, seek more job related information, try to influence, other at work more activity seek opportunities for advancement and rely more on their own abilities and judgment at work. 
  2. Machiavellians: Manipulation of others as primary way of achieving one's goals is what Machiavellians is all about. Individuals high on the Mach scale, a scale developed to measure the extent to which an individual tends to be Machiavellian tend to be cool, logical in assessing the system around them, willing to twist and turn facts to influence other and try to gain control of people, events and situations by of manipulation the system to their advantage. Machiavellian may fool a few people all the time and all the people for a very short time, but in the long run, they tend to be distrusted and disliked by many in the system and hence may become ineffective.
  3. Self-esteem and self-concept: Self-esteem denoted the extent to which individuals consistently regard themselves as capable, successful, important and worthy individuals. This is an important personality factor that determines how managers perceive themselves and their role in the organization. Self-esteem is important to self-concept, that is, the way individuals define themselves as to who they are and derive their sense of identify. High self-esteem provides a high sense of self-concept; high self-concept in turn, reinforces high self-esteem. Thus, the two are mutually reinforcing. Individuals high in self-esteem will try to take on more challenging assignments and be successful, thus enhancing their self-concept, that is they would tend to define themselves as highly valuable and valued individuals in organization system. The higher the self-concept and self-esteem, the greater will be their contributions to the goals of the organization; especially when the system rewards them for their contributions. 
  4. Tolerance for ambiguity: This personality characteristics indicate the level of uncertainty that people can tolerate without experiencing undue stress and can still function effectively. Managers have to work well under conditions of extreme uncertainty and insufficient information, especially when things are rapidly changing in the organization's external environment. Managers who have a high tolerance for ambiguity can cope well under these conditions.
  5. Risk taking: People differ in their willingness to take risks. Individuals can be high risk taking and low-risk taking. High-risk taking managers tend to make quick decision with less information. However, demands of the job determine the degree of risk taking.
  6. Personality type: Individuals can have type A personality or type B personality. Type A persons feel a chronic sense of time urgency are high achievement oriented, exhibit a competitive drive and are impatient when their work is slowed down for any reason. Type B persons are easy going individuals who do not experience the competitive drive. Type A individuals are significantly more prone to heart attack than type B persons. While type A persons help the organization to move ahead in a relatively short period of time they may also suffer health problems, which might be detrimental to both themselves and the organization in the long run.

Behavior Management / Behavior Modification

Behavior Modification

Behavior modification is the application of reinforcement theory to people in organizational settings. It is simply based on the principle of operant conditioning. According to the reinforcement theory, the frequency of desirable behavior can be increased by an individual as it results to positive consequences whereas the undesirable behavior should be reduced as it is lined to negative consequences. The purpose of this theory is to improve performance. The behavior approach is based on two underlying assumptions i.e.
  • Human behavior is seen as determined by the environment.
  • The behavior is a response to a combination of specific stimuli and other environmental factors such as time and previous experiences.

The various steps involved in behavior modifications are:

Sensation differ from Perception

Concept of Attribution Theory
The perception of people differs from our perceptions because we make inferences about the actions of people that we don't make about inanimate objects.

Attributions theory has been proposed to develop explanations of the ways in which we judge people differently, depending on what meaning we attribute to a given behavior. Basically, the theory suggests that we observe an individual's behavior, we attempt to determine whether it was internally or externally caused.

Sensation differ from Perception
People usually mean sensation and perception the same. But, there is a clear cut distinction between the two. In simple words, sensation may be described as the response of a physical sensory organ to some stimuli. Our physical senses i.e. vision, hearing, touch, smell and taste are continuously bombarded by numerous stimuli that are both inside and outside of our body. Our physical sensory organs often react to these stimuli. The reaction of our eye to color, ear to sound, nose to odour and so on are the examples of our every day sensations. What these examples indicate is that sensation activates the perception. In this way, sensation serves as a raw input to be processed so as to make sense out of them to perceive the environment or stimuli around us.

Perception is much more than sensation. Perception depends upon the sensory raw data, yet it involves a cognitive process that includes filtering, modifying or even changing these sensation raw data to make sense out of them. In other words, the perceptual process adds to or/ and subtracts from the sensory world. A simple instruction may be looking at an object. We see by means of our eyes. Remember, it is not our eyes but what we see and tend to see in its totality, with a figure and form against a background. Thus, we find that eyes activates to see an object i.e. sensation and what is being seen i.e. perception. In this seeing process, though both sensation and perception are involved, yet perception process overcomes sensation process to make what is being seen. Following example will help to understand the difference between sensation and perception more clearly.
  1. You buy a  two wheeler that you think is the best, but not one the engineer says is the best.
  2. A subordinate's answer to a question is based on what he heard his boss says, but not on what the boss actually said.
  3. The same professor may be viewed by on student as a very goods professor and by another student of the same semester as a poor professor.
  4. The same item may be viewed by the manufacturing engineer to be of high quality and by a customer to be of low quality.

Principles of Learning

Learning principles are the proving guidelines in the learning process. The application of these principles assists managers, training instructors and individuals working in the organization to gain knowledge of how to learn and get its benefits to influence behavior. The major principles of learning are as follows:

Effects of Perception on Individual Decision Making

Individual can perceive differently for the same subject in different manner, which lead to the best solution. Every decision requires interpretation and evaluation of information. Data are typically received from multiple sources and they need to be screened, processed and interpreted, which data, for instance, are relevant to the decision and which are not? The perceptions of the decision maker will be the solution for that question.

Since, individual decision making is a crucial part of organization behavior. For instance, top managers determine their organization's goals and about the launching of product or services, the middle level managers on the other hand determine production schedules, select new employees and decide how pay raises are to be allocated and so on. Similarly, even non-managerial employees have to make a lot of decisions which decide the future of the organization. It affects the organization's long-term plans, its quality performance and day-to-day operation. These all show that perception plays a vital role in individual's decision process.

Alternative Decision Making Models
The main approaches to decision making may be studies in the following three dimensions:
1. Classical approach: This is also known as prescriptive, rational or normative model. It specifies how decision should be made to achieve the desired outcome. Under this approach, decisions are made rationally and are directed toward a single and stable goal. It is applied in certainty condition in which the decision maker has full information relating to the problem and also knows all the alternative solutions. It is an ideal way in making a decision. It is rational in the sense that it is scientific, systematic and a step-by-step process. This model assumes the manager as a rational economic man who makes decisions to meet the economic interest of the organization. This model is based on the following assumptions:
    • The decision maker has a clear, well-defined goal to be achieved.
    • All the problems are precisely defined.
    • All alternative courses of action and their potential consequences are known.
    • The decision maker can rank the entire alternatives on the basis of their preferred consequences.
    • The decision maker can select the alternative that maximizes outcome.
The classical model is supposed to be idealistic and rational but it is rarely found in practice. Therefore, this approach has many criticisms. It is known by normative theory rather than descriptive theory. Generally, managers operate under the condition of risk and uncertainty rather than the certainty condition. In many situations complete goal stability can never be realized due to continuous environmental changes. IT is applied only in the close system and not practicable in real life situations where environment is changing rapidly.

2. Behavioral approach: This approach is also known as descriptive approach and administrative model. The theory is proposed by Herbert A. Simon, a well-known economist, in which he attempts to explain how decisions are made in real life situations. Managers have limited and simplified view of problems because they do not have full information about the problems, do not possess knowledge of all possible alternative solutions, do not have the ability to process environmental and technological information and do not have sufficient time and resources to conduct an exhaustive search for alternative solutions to the problems. Therefore, this model is based on two concepts:
  • Bounded Rationality: Simon believed that managers are bound by limited mental capacity and emotion as well as by environmental factors over which they have no control. Real life challenges, time and resource limitations, political pressure and other internal and external factors force the manager to work under the condition of bounded rationality. Therefore, the manager cannot take a perfectly rational decision. 
  • Satisfying: It is the selection of a course of action whose consequences are good enough. Bounded rationality forces managers to accept decisions that are only 'good enough', rather than ideal. Such managerial decisions become rational but within the limits of managers' ability and availability of information. Managers make decisions based on alternatives that are satisfactory. The examples of satisfying decisions are fair price, reasonable profit, adequate market share, proper quality products etc.
3. Implicit Favorite model/Retrospective approach: This approach is applicable in non-programmed decisions. In this approach, the manager first chooses an alternative solution to the problem and highlights its strength, and compare with other alternatives and then identifies its drawbacks. This is done with a view of proving that the alternative selected by him is the best solution to the given problem. However, another alternative which seems to be similar to the implicit favorite is short listed and is taken as second confirmation candidate. This approach can be observed in the purchase of various favorite items in which a customer gives arguments in favor of his choice on the basis of norms such as price, quality, appearance, easily availability, after-sales service etc. to reject other items of same utility.

Internal Factors Affecting Perceptual Selectivity


The internal factors affecting perceptual selectivity are mentioned below:
  1. Needs and Desires: An individual's perception about stimuli is influenced by, inter alia, his needs and desires at that time. Perception varies depending upon variations in his/her needs and desires from time to time. 
  2. Personality: Closely related to the needs and desires is the personality of the perceiver, which affects what is attended or perceived in the given situation. As mentioned earlier, research studies suggest that secure individuals tend to understand or perceive others as warm and self accepting individuals perceive themselves as liked, wanted and accepted by others.
  3. Experience: Experience and knowledge serve as basis for perception. While one's successful experience enhances his/her perceptive ability, failure erodes his/her self-confidence. Successful experience also helps perceiver understand stimuli with more accuracy.
If you want the detail about the External Factors Affecting Perceptual Selectivity, >> Click Here>>

Perceptual set in organizational settings

Perception is a process by which individuals organize and interpret their sensory impression in order to give meaning to their environment. Perceptual set is an expectation of perception based on past experience with the same or similar stimuli. It refers to specific factors within the individual which have a bearing on their attention. It presents a broad view about the environment and people which helps to guide an individual's perception and behavior at work. The sources of perceptual sets are past experiences and contents; past experience are the factors within a perceiver whereas contents are factors outside the perceiver, which shape the perception and perpetual relation of a person.

Meaning of Learning

Learning is any relatively permanent change in behavior that occurs as a result of experience. We can say that the changes in the behavior indicate that the learning has taken place and that learning is a change in behavior. The definition of learning highlights few characteristics of learning:
  1. Learning involves change. This may be good or bad from an organizational point of view. People can learn unfavorable behaviors as well as favorable behaviors.
  2. The change must be relatively permanent. Temporary changes may be only reflexive and fail to represent any learning.
  3. Learning takes place when there is change in actions. A change in an individual's thought processes or attitudes, if accompanies by no change in behaviors and would not be learning.
  4. Some form of experience is necessary for learning. This may be required directly through observation or practice or if may result from indirect experiences such as that acquired through reading. 
Factors influencing Learning
There are lots of factors that influence learning. To be more specific, the following are some;
  1. Psychological factors: The psychological factors that influence learning includes an individual's interest, values, perception, beliefs, needs and motives etc. Therefore, the organization must be familiar about individual psychological factors in order to make learning more effective. 
  2. Physiological factors: Another influencing factor of learning are human physiological difference. This includes intelligence, age, sex, and health and memory power. It is well known fact that healthy and intelligent people can learn more than dull and physically unfit people.
  3. Learning method: What are the learning principles and method followed by organization play vital role in learning. So to say, learning depends in organization fund, qualified hired resource person, two way openly communication between trainee and trainer etc. influence learning.
  4. Environmental factors: Environmental factors consist of sound and healthy organizational environment. That is, clean, bright and peaceful environment play a dominant role in learning. The major barrier for learner is noise and air pollution, massive hot weather or cold that influence for learning.
  5. Appropriate feedback system: These should be set of feedback rules to enhance learning. Some examples are, be specific, non judgmental, express your own feeling etc. With the application of these sets of effective feedback, one can learn in the organization.

Person's Perception

Perception refers to a very complex cognitive process. It is simply a process by which individual organizes and interprets their sensory impression in order to give meaning to environment. Person perception refers to the process by which an individual attribute characteristics or traits to other people. It is concerned with making judgment about other. It relates how an individual perceives other individual. The perception and judgment of a person's actions are significantly influenced by the assumption made about that person's internal state that can be beliefs, motivates, emotions, attitudes etc.

Person's perception is concerned with making judgment about other. It is about how one individual perceives other individuals. The best tool used for explanations of person's perception is Kelly's Attribution Theory. It refers to the act of attributing characteristics or traits to other people. Following are the some principles of perceptions:
  • Observations
  • Organizing
  • Interpretation
  • Response
  • Selection
Person's perception can be further explained by attribution theory and frequently used shortcuts.

1. Attribution Theory

The attribution process is a perceptual process where by we interpret the causes of behavior in terms of the persons (internal attributions) or the situation (external attribution). It can be based on:
  • Distinctiveness: It refers whether an individual displays different behavior in different situations.
  • Consensus: It refers to whether everyone faced with similar situation responds in the same way.
  • Consistency: Responding the same way over time.

2. Short Cuts for perception (Perpetual Errors)

The shortcuts for the perception arises due to various reasons in an individual stated as follows:
  • Selective perception: It refers to an individual tendency to see what they want to see. Every individual interpret the object or event in the way they see on the basis of their interest, attitudes, experiences and expectations.
  • Halo effect: It refers to the process of drawing a general impression about an individual based on single characteristics such as intelligence, appearance etc.
  • Contrast effect: It is judging a person on the basis of comparison with other (either superior or junior) recently encountered.
  • Projection: It is judging the people with an assumption that they are similar to us.
  • Stereotyping: It is judging people on the basis of one's perception of the group (i.e. gender, age, race, ethnicity) to which that person belongs to.

Factors Distorting Person's Perception
A number of factor influence perception. They are:

A. The perceiver: When an individual look at a target situation, at that time his/her behavior is carefully watched. Suppose if football game is directly broadcasted from TV, he will perceive it and show his behavior suppose if cricket is being broadcasted from TV, he will not perceive that. Similarly, people's motivation, expectation and experience also affects in his perception. 
  1. Attitude: Attitude influence perception as it has influence upon what attention are desired and how the information are interpreted.
  2. Motives and emotions: The unsatisfied need and intense feeling directed to an event or object influences perception.
  3. Interest: The difference in individual interest results in different perception.
  4. Experiences: Past experiences narrows the forces of attention and influence perception.
  5. Expectation: The expectation to see what an individual desires for may distort perception.

B. The target: The features of target determine by situation whether it is to be perceived or not. As for e.g. in a group loud people are noticeable. The major factors of target are sound, size, motion and background etc.
  1. Novelty: The novel targets are noticed more compared to target observed in the past.
  2. Motion, sound, size: They shape the way we see the target and influence perception.
  3. Background: The background of a target influences perception as any target is not viewed in isolation.
C. The situations: Sometimes situation makes people perceive anything. As for example suppose, I saw a young good-looking girl age of 25 years in a cinema hall. I may notice her. But if I saw same girl at my class, I also perceive her. Here main theme is perceiver and target both are same but the situation is different.
  1. Time: The time at which the events and objects are looked at affects and influence perception. For example, an arrival of a singer after the concert is over is ignored by perceiver.
  2. Work setting: The changing condition of work setting influences perception. For example, challenging and stress works distorts perception.
  3. Social setting: The changing social setting influences perception. For example, a drunk person may not be noticeable in restaurants but will be highly noticeable in the market.
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Significant of Learning in Organization

Learning is any relatively permanent change in behavior that occurs as a result of experience. We can say that the changes in the behavior indicate that learning has taken place and that learning is a change in behavior. The definition of learning highlights few characteristics of learning:
  1. Learning involves change: This may be good or bad from an organizational point of view. People can learn unfavorable behaviors as well as favorable behaviors. 
  2. The change must be relatively permanent: Temporary changes may be only reflexive and fail to represent any learning.
  3. Leaning takes place when there is change in actions: A change in an individual's thought processes or attitudes, if accompanies by no change in behaviors and would not be learning.
  4. Some form of experience is necessary for learning: This may be required directly through observation or practice or if may result from indirect experience such as that acquired through reading.
  5. Predict behavior of people at work: OB is concerned with understanding, managing and predicting behavior of people at work. The understanding of learning concept offers significant insight to managers for managing employee behavior. the managerial skills such as technical, human and conceptual are learnt, which helps to predict behavior at work.
  6. Human resource development: Learning serves as a key factor for HRD as it enhances skills, competencies and potentials of employee of an organization. Employee learns to face challenges, work on pressure, manage productivity and enhance efficiency through their training and development programmes. Learning fosters desirable behavior and eliminates undesirable behaviors.
  7. Technical adaptation: Technology refers to mechanical and intellectual process used to transfer input to desired outputs. The technology is rapidly changing the use of technology requires skills which employee can adopt through learning. The rapid change in technology has generated new forms of employment relationship such as flexible work hours, virtual offices, contingent work force etc. which can only be coped through the process of learning.
  8. Total quality management (TQM): Learning is significant to enhance TQM philosophy. To implement the TQM, the leader involves employees and enhances their sense of ownership and commitment at work. It directs for the management of people so that quality is involved as the central part of the job. The process requires learning in the organization.
  9. Facilitate organization change and development: The dynamic forces of external environment involves change in organization, it can be terms of globalization, technology, increasing work force diversity etc. A manager and other employee should learn to reconfigure organizations to adapt to such situations. The learning helps to minimize the resistance to change. On the contrary, OB seeks to make system wide intervention with the help of change agents to cope with the changing environment. The success of OB largely depends upon parallel learning structure.
All organization behavior is affected by learning. It plays a vital role on training is organizational setting. It is directly related to their death and survival. The significance of learning is, obviously, for people and organizations. For people, it changes the behavior orientations such as knowledge, skills, values, personality and competency and so on that are essential for achieving organizational goals. In organizational setting, learning is significant for the following reasons:
  1. For effective Human Resource Development: Learning is the key to developing skills and potential of employees. Training in organizations aims at learning. Managers can foster desirable behavior and check undesirable behaviors through training. Learning also helps managers developed effective training programmes.
  2. To Understand and predict behavior of the people at work: One of the objectives in the field of organizational behavior is to understand and predict behaviors of people at work, different rules and skills of managers are acquired through learning. If managers need to be effective, they should play roles and have skills. Without learning experience, it is difficult to manage and people in organization.
  3. To facilitate organizational change and development: Leaning facilitates organizational change and development. There are different forces in the external environment for change in the organizations. Some of these forces are globalization, technology and demographics. Such changes force managers and workers to learn to reconfigure organizations to adapt to such situations.
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Role of Learning in Organization

Learning in Organization
Learning is a continuous process. It occurs all the time. Learning is any relatively permanent change in behavior that occurs as a result of experience. Learning is not only important to employee but also it is important for managers. It plays a vital role on training in organizational settings. It assists in optimally developing the talents and for effective performance. They guide the employees to engage the management to accomplish the goals. By means of learning, employees get confidence at work. Similarly, employee's behavior can be changed to improve their job performance, knowledge about work, attitudes, values and ethics of profession etc. On the other hand learning is not only important for organization and employee. But also it helps in social enlistment. Learned and cited workers extend the social reputations of organization. It can extend the brand loyalty of customers towards organizational product.

In simple words, learning is any relatively permanent change in behavior that results from reinforced practices or experience. It is very essential component in both human and organizational lives. It is a cognitive, effective and physical process as all complex process and behaviors are learnt.

The important characteristics of learning includes:

  • Learning involves change: The process of learning initiates change in an individual which can be desirable or undesirable from organization point of view. Favorable and unfavorable behaviors may be learnt during learning process.
  • The change should be relatively permanent: The temporary change in an individual resulting to reflexive behavior for certain period doesn't involve learning. It requires permanent change through reinforcement.
  • Learning results change in action: Learning involves change in action. If the change in individual's thought processes or attitudes doesn't change the behavior, it can't be termed as learning.
  • Experiences initiates learning: Experiences acquired directly through observation and practice or indirectly through books and conscious attention initiate the learning process.
Organizations need people with learning capacity to adopt and cope to the changing dynamic environment. Learning is directly related to the development, maintenance and change of employee work behavior. an organization should deploy individual who are intelligent, knowledgeable, creative and are directed to achieve goals through intense learning process. Apart from learning to work through training and development, an individuals should learn norms and values of organizational culture. Thus, learning brings permanent change in behavior and mind set of an individual which is directly or indirectly related to OB in terms of increasing competency, self efficiency, HRD (Human Resource Development), behavioral change, leadership ability, technological adaptation, change management etc.
Cognitive Theory
This theory was given by Edward Tolman. He held that learning involved a relationship between cognitive environment cues and expectations. Cognition implies a conscious or deliberate process of acquiring knowledge through perceiving, imaging, thinking and reasoning. The theory implies learning as a purely an outcome of the thinking process and the act of knowing an item of information that cues to respond the expected goal. The theory was developed after experimentation on rats in laboratory. He showed that rats learned to run through complicated maze towards a goal (food), it was observed that rats developed expectations at every choice point in the maze. Thus, they learned to expect that certain cognitive cues related to the choice point could ultimately lead to food. In this situation, where rats got the food, the relationship between the cues and expectancy was strengthened and learning took place. The theory differs from classical conditioning (S --> R) and operant conditioning (R --> S) theories as the theory emphasizes learning is the result of relation between cues and expectancy (S --> S). The impact of theory on organization setting includes great impact on the human relation movement and motivation of employee at which with the establishment of relation between cognition and organizational behavior. 

Tolman approach is also called as stimulus-stimulus approach. These experiments embarrassed the behaviorist learning theories. Reinforcement failed to predict rats behavior and it was no longer a prerequisite to learning. One stimulus lead to another stimulus rather than classical S-R or operant R-S interpretation. Indeed the rat behavior was purposive. In other words, they learned a cognitive map to determine how to reach food.

Tolman made significant contributions to learning theory by forcing the behavioristic theory to evolve highly complex explanation of behavior and indicating the need to include cognition in a mediating role between the environmental stimulus and the behavior. These theories exerted a strong effect on early human relation movement.

Social Learning Theory
The theory states the combination of cognitive, behavioral and impact of environmental forces in learning. Individuals can also learn by observing what happens to other people and just by being told about something as well as by direct experiences. The learning occurs by observing other and modelling the behavior that leads to favorable consequences. It accounts for behavioral modeling approach to learning as people can learn from watching their seniors, parents, models, teachers, peers, superiors and so forth.

This theory combines and integrates operant conditioning and cognitive theories. the operant conditioning assumes behavior as the function of consequences and the cognitive theory focuses in the factor of how people perceive and define consequences for learning process rather than the consequences themselves. 

While social learning theory is an extension of operant conditioning i.e. it assumes that behavior is a function of consequences. It also acknowledges the existence of observational learning and the importance of perception in learning. People respond to how they perceive and define consequences, not to the objective consequences themselves.

The influence of model is central to the social learning view point. Four processes have been found to determine the influence that a model will have on an individual. These are:
  1. Attention process: People only learn form a model when they recognize and pay attention to its critical features. We tend to be most influenced by models that are attractive, repeatedly available and we think are important or we see as similar to us. In other words, the degree and intensity of attention paid influence the process of learning.
  2. Retention process: A model's influence will depend on how well the individual remembers the model's action, even after the model is no longer readily available.
  3. Motor reproduction process: After a person has seen a new behavior by observing the model, the watching must be converted to doing. This process then demonstrates that the individual can perform the modeled activities. Thus, the watching of modeled activities must be practically performed and demonstrated to initiate learning.
  4. Reinforcement processes: Every individuals will be motivated to exhibit the modeled behavior, if positive incentives or records are provided. Behaviors that are reinforced will be given more attention, learned better and performed more often.
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Operant Conditioning

Operant conditioning theory was developed by B. F. Skinner. This theory is also known as behavioral modification and reinforcement theory. The theory states that the conditioning of behavior leads to reward or prevent punishment. People learn to behave in various ways as a result of its consequences. The theory is based on Response --> Stimulus connection (R --> S). It involves reinforcement of reward for desired behavior as a central process in learning. The theory can be explained on the basis of ABC of behavior modification. According to this theory (B) Behavior is influenced by two environmental forces. i.e. antecedents (A) and Consequences (C). Antecedents are events that precede the behavior where as consequences follow the behavior. The theory implies "the likelihood that an operant behavior will be repeated depends upon its consequences". That results an individual to learn the behavior followed by pleasant experiences only.

Operant is defined as behavior that produces effects. Operant conditioning given by Skinner suggests that individuals emit responses that are rewarded and will not emit responses that are either not rewarded or are punished. Operant conditioning is a voluntary behavior and it is determined, maintained and controlled by its consequences. In contract, respondent behavior is an involuntary response to an environmental stimulus.

Operant conditioning acts on environment to produce consequences. It is basically assumed that man's behavior is determined by environment and individuals learn by producing alternation in their environment. Operant conditioning pre-supposes that human beings explore their environment and act upon. In classical conditioning the sequence of event is independent of subject's behavior. In operant, conditioning reinforcement is given only when the correct response is made. According to Skinner, the consequences determine the likelihood that the given operant will be performed in the future. To change behavior, the consequences of that behavior must be changed.

Operant conditioning is a powerful tool for managing people in organization. Most behavior in organizations are learned, controlled and altered by the consequences, i.e. operant behaviors. Management can use the operant conditioning process successfully to control and influence the behavior of the employees by manipulating its reward system. If one expects to influence behavior, he/she must also be able to manipulate the consequences.

For example:

Response (R) --> Stimulus (R)

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Classical Conditioning

Classical conditioning is a type of conditioning where an individual responds to some stimulus that would not invariably produce such a response. Classical conditioning grew out of experience to teach dogs to salivate in response to ringing of the bell, conducted by Russian psychologist, Ivan Pavlov. The theory is used in organization to understand how an individual learn to respond only to conditioned stimulus when it is tied with a non-conditioned stimulus. The theory can be explained on the basis of experiment conducted by Pavlov on a dog stated as below:

  • The dog was offered piece of meat due to which the dog salivated.
  • After few days he started to ring a bell without providing meat to the dog. At that point the dog stopped salivation.
  • Turning to the same experiment, he started to link giving meat (unconditional stimulus) after offering the conditional stimulus (ringing the bell). When the bell was rung the dog salivated in expectation of meat provided to him.

A simple surgical procedure allowed Pavlov to measure accurately the amount of saliva secreted by a dog. When Pavlov presented the dog with a piece of meat, the dog exhibited a noticeable increase in salivation. When Pavlov withheld the presentation of meat and nearly rang a bell, the dog has no salivation. The Pavlov proceeded to link the meat and the ringing of the bell. After repeatedly hearing the bell before getting the food, the dog began to salivate nearly at the sound of the bell even if no food was offered. In effect, the dog learned to respond that is to salivate the bell.

The meat was unconditioned stimuli. It invariably caused dog to react in a specific way. The reactions that took place, whenever; the bell was the artificial stimulus or conditioned stimulus. While it was originally neutral, when the bell was paired with the meat (an unconditioned stimulus), if eventually produced a response when presented alone. It is the conditioned response. This describes the behavior of the dog salivating in reaction to the bell alone.

Thus, the theory inferred that the conditional response is provided even in absence of unconditional stimulus.

Using these concepts, we can summarize the classical conditioning. Learning a conditioned response involve building up an association between a conditioned stimulus and an unconditioned stimulus.

Using the paired stimulus, one compelling and other one neutral, the neutral one becomes a conditioned stimulus and hence takes on the properties of the unconditioned stimulus.
Classical conditioning is passive. Something happens and we behave in a specific way. It is elicited in response to a specific, identifiable event. As such, it can explain simple reflexive behaviors. But most behavior particularly the complex behavior of individuals in organization is emitted rather than elicited. It is voluntary rather than reflexive. For example, employees choose to arrive at work on time, ask their superiors for help with problems. The learning of these behaviors is better understood by looking at operant conditioning.

For example: 
Stimulus --> Response

For Example:
Surprised by an electric shock --> Jumps/ Screams

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Sensation, Higher Mental Process, Beliefs and Value

Sensation
Sensation can be defined as individual capacity to sense the world. Each and every motivated individual senses the world, interprets it, responds to it and reacts to the results of his own responses. Every individual has capacity to sense cold and hot pressure. But how he/she senses these things or in which way he sense these things affect his behavior. As for example, if an individual sense too cold, his behavior is wants of warmth cloths. Similarly inside the organization, now the employee sense the environment mould the behavior of the employee. Sensation has three factors to work. They are:
  • Stimulus 
  • Receptor
  • Nervous system
Stimulus are the inputs that are sensed and received by the receptor organ and transmitted to the nervous system for further processing to draw out the meaningful result.

Higher Mental Process
Higher mental process refers to cognitive process is another important factor causing individual behavior different. Higher mental process includes:
  • Thinking: The thinking process involves the existence of a problem, definition of the problem incorporating the arousal of relevant concept, and a consideration of relevance and verification. 
  • Problem solving: Problem solving is another activity done by human mind. After completing the thinking process, it tries to prepare the plan and strategy to solve the problem. For the effective solution of the problem needs the knowledge and experience.
  • Other aspects: Higher mental process also includes autistic thinking, day-dreaming, and pathological thinking along with the logical problem-solving process.
Belief
Belief is another important factor causing individual behavior different. Belief can be based on knowledge, opinion and faith. They are acquired from parents, teachers, peer and reference group member etc. It provides continuity to the personality of an individual. They assign meaning to his/her day-to-day perceptions and activities and serve in his/her attempted solution of varied goals. An individual's beliefs also exert a vital impact on his motivation in two ways.
  • He/she must believe that he is capable of performing the acts, which the organization expects of him/her. 
  • He/she must believe that performance of acts desired by the organization will have positive outcomes for him/her personally.
Values
Values represent basic convictions of an individual as to what is right, good or desirable. They imply enduring conviction and carry moral flavor. There may be set of values which form a value system. This system represents an order of priority of individual values in relation to their relative significance. It can be ascertained by assessing the relative significance assigned by an individual to varied objects such as freedom, pleasure, self-respect, honesty, obedience and equality culture is a source of values. It contains as well as reinforces them. People learn to includes values from their parents, teachers, friends, media and all those whom they respect and thus to imitate them.

Attitudes, Values and Beliefs


Attitudes

Attitude refers to the individual judgments concerning objects, people or events. They refer to favorable or unfavorable statements which reflects how an individual feels about a particular object, people or events. It can be stated as the collection of beliefs, feelings and behavioral intentions towards an object. Attitudes can be related to emotion but they differ as attitudes are judgmental whereas emotions are experienced. Thus, attitude can be described as a person’s learnt predisposition to respond towards objects, people or events which are specific and consistent.

Attitudes are evaluative statements. They respond one's feeling either favorably or unfavorably to persons, objects or/and events. In other words, attitudes reflect how one feels about something. For example, Professor Philip Kotler says, "I like teaching." He is expressing his attitude about his work. Attitudes are not same as values, but the two are interrelated.

The characteristics of attitude consists of:
  • Attitudes have consistency as they tend to persist unless various efforts are carried to change them.
  • Attitude can be favorable or unfavorable judgments.
  • Attitudes are directed towards object people or event.
  • Attitudes are specific.
Thus, an attitude refers to a persistent tendency to feel and behave in a particular way towards people objects or events. They make up personality of an individual. The formation of attitude consists of: 

i) Situational Determinations
The attitude of an individual may differ at different situations as the prevailing situation provides information to individual to form their feelings or emotions. 

ii) Personality Traits:
Traits describe the nature of an individual personality. The personality trait of an individual influences the work attitude as individual with positive affectivity tends to have an overall sense of well-being and experiences positive attitude. The person with negative affectivity tends to feel nervous, tense and worried experiencing negative attitude. 

iii) Components of Attitudes:
The interrelation can be understand by the three components of the attitudes e.g. cognition, affect and behavior.
  1. Cognitive component: It refers to the beliefs and information about object, people or event which affect the attitude to be formed. It is the opinion or belief segment of an attitude.
  2. Affective component: It is the emotional or feeling segment of an attitude; feeling can be positive, negative or neutral. 
  3. Behavioral component: It refers to the intentional purpose to behave in certain way which can be directly observed. It is an intention to behave in a certain way towards someone or something.
Hence, in sum
  • Attitudes are related to the feelings and beliefs of people. 
  • Positive attitudes respond to persons, objects or events.
  • Attitudes affect behavior either positively or negatively.
  • Attitudes undergo changes.

Functions of Attitudes
Attitudes are evaluative statement. It may be either favorable or unfavorable. Attitudes are important for understanding individual motivation and behavior. They perform various functions.
  • Attitudes serve as a basis for expressing values. They also help to defend self-image. They reconcile contradictions in the opinions of people.
  • Attitudes help reduce absenteeism, turnover, grievances and accidents. 
  • Attitudes determine job satisfaction and performance of the employee. 
  • Attitudes help people to adjust to their working environment.
Besides mentioned above, attitude perform;
  • Instrumental function
  • Noetic function 
  • Expressive function

Formation of Attitudes
Attitudes are not inherited. These are acquired or learnt by the people from the environment in which they interact. The formation of attitudes is broadly classified into two forces.

1. Direct Experience: One's direct experience with a object or person serves as a powerful source for his/her attitude formation. In other words, attitudes are formed on the basis of one's past experience in concerned object or person. Take your own case, for instance. How do you know that you like organizational behavior or dislike financial management? The answer is that you have formed these attitudes from your experience in studying the two objects. Research has shown that attitudes derived from the direct experience are more powerful, stronger, and durable and are difficult to change than are attitudes that are formed through indirect experience. This is because of their availability in our cognitive processes.

2. Social Learning: The process of deriving attitudes from family, peer groups, religious organizations and culture is called social learning. In social learning, an individual acquires attitudes from his/her environments in an indirect manner. Social learning starts from early age when children derive certain attitudes from their parents. This is often evident from when young children express their political preferences similar to those held by their parents.

The effect of attitudes on behavior is usually a complex phenomenon. It is widely accepted how that a simple, direct link between attitudes and behavior does not exist. Ajen and Fishbein have developed a model of the attitude-behavior relationship. They suggest that behavior is more predictable and understandable, if we focus on a person's specific intentions to behave in a certain way rather than solely on their attitudes towards that intentions depend on both attitudes and norms regarding the behavior.

'Norms' are rules of behavior or proper ways of acting, which have been accepted as appropriate by members of a group or society. They represent 'social pressure' to perform or not to perform the behavior in question.

Values

Values indicate enduring convictions. They represent the basic conviction of an individual as to what is right, good or desirable and carry moral background. The value contains an element of judgement and tends to be long lasting. The values are acquired from parents, teachers, friends, reference group etc. They influence the behavior of individuals in an organization. The values can be terminal values and instrumental values. The terminal value represents desirable instead of existence. It represent the goals that are individual would like to achieve during their life time whereas the instrumental value refer to preferable mode of behavior which are the means to achieve terminal values. The values can be classified from seven level approach which includes reactive, tribalistic, ego-centrism, conformity, manipulative, socio-centric and existential. The importance of values are:
  • It influences perception of individuals.
  • They are the foundation for understanding attitude.
  • It influences motivation of an individual to achieve specific outcomes such as promotion, prestige etc.
  • The value influences the activities that an individual finds appealing.
  • It serves as guidelines for individual action in organization setting.

Beliefs

Beliefs refers to descriptive thoughts that an individual holds about something which influences the individual behavior. It is normally based on knowledge opinion and faith and are acquired from parents, teacher, friends etc. Beliefs tends to be stable as they served as foundation upon which individual order and structure are built. It provides continuity and meaning to perception. The values can be developed from cultural environment and functional factors. The divergence of belief from real situation can limit their effectiveness. The divergence occurs from superstitions, delusions, prejudices etc. The importance of beliefs in OB are:
  • It provides continuity to the personality of an individual.
  • It assigns meaning to perception of an individual.
  • Beliefs are incorporated with attitudes.
  • It helps to motivate an individual.

Behavior as Input-Output System

People are considered as the "spinal cord" of every organization. Managers of every organization must be familiar about behavior of people. Understanding an individual behavior is a very difficult task. Therefore behavior can be observed as input-output system.

The Inputs: Stimuli form the inputs for the system and the information getting process or function is the sensation. The event data from the environment are received and transformed to sensations by sense organs of vision, audition, smell, taste, those on the inner ear and muscles.

The processing: Something happens to the inputs as soon as they are sent to central processing unit i.e. nervous system by the receptors. Perception of the situation, thinking, reasoning or problem-solving occurs. A choice between alternatives is made and decision is taken.

The Outputs: Outputs are the behavioral response of individual. It is caused by inputs and processing components of the individual behavior. The situations in which outputs occur largely influence the working of the system as a whole. These situations may include environmental factors which affect, the psycho-motor process.

Biological Foundation of Behavior
The general biological characteristics of human system, especially as laid down in heredity and revealed during the subsequent period of development of the individual, influence the ways in which he or she tends to sense external event data, interpret them, respond to them and learn from his/her own past experiences.

The individual inherits a similarity to other individuals as well as uniqueness in the form of genes and chromosomes. In addition, he or she inherits and physical traits and the ability to learn and behave intellectually, which a wide impact on his/her behavioral patterns.

The childhood sensory and perceptual experience contributes a lot towards the maturity of the sensory and perceptual abilities. The growth of the individual is markedly influenced by the functioning of the ductless glands including the pituitary, the thyroid, the adrenals and the gonads.

The structure of the nervous system plays a significant role in bringing together the human behavior and personality. Integration of human behavior takes place because of the constraint functioning of receptors, effectors and connectors. The human behavior ranges from the simple reflex action to the complex problem-solving activity involving various levels of integration.

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