Specific Application of Perception in Organizations

People often see the same phenomenon differently both within the organizational context and outside the organization. For example, in relation to a strike, a manager may perceive the immediate cause of the strike as trivial, while the workers may see it as very serious. Similarly, when there is any accident in the factory, the supervisor may treat it as the carelessness of workers while the workers may treat it as the high-handedness of management and lack of adequate provisions of security measures. A manager is mainly concerned with the achievement of organizational objectives through specified behavior of its members. And the behavior of the people is invariably affected by perception. The behavior of people gets affected by the facts which they consider important even though factually that may be incorrect or non-existent. The organizational world has begun to realize the importance of perception so that managers are trained to understand human perception as much as possible. The understanding of perception is the key to understand and control behavior. The major areas where the special attention is required in regard to perceptual accuracy and management and behavioral application of perception of utmost importance, are followings:

a) Employment Interview
A major input to find who is hired and who is rejected in any organization is the employment interview. It’s fair to say that few people are hired without an interview. But the evidence indicates that interviewers make perceptual judgments that are often inaccurate. In addition, agreement among interviewers is often poor, that is different interviewers see different things in the same candidate and thus arrive at different conclusions about the applicant. Interviewers generally draw early impressions that become very quickly entranced. If negative information is exposed early in the interview, it tends to be more heavily weighted than if that same information comes out later. Studies indicate that most interviewers’ decisions change very little after the first four or five minutes of their interview. As a result, information elicited early in the interview carries greater weight than does information later eluted “Good applicant” is probably characterized more by the absence of unfavorable characteristics than by the presence of favorable characteristics.

b) Selection of Employees
It is one of the areas, where managers need to be very careful. Normally, employees are selected on the basis of selection tests, interviews and reviews of the applicant’s background. There are various cases, where information is vague and managers are subject to many of the perceptual problems where they make the selection decisions. Managers sometimes get swayed away by Halo effect and stereo-typing. There can be times when manager’s emotional state is not fit for justifying his role as a selective authority. He might make a mountain out of molehill when not in a good mood.

c) Performance Appraisal
Every organization has some system of performance appraisal. It is generally done by superiors and sometimes by people at different levels as in 360 degree performance appraisal. Many a time, it has been found that superiors or others get carried by Halo effect or their personal biases. They have liking or favor for some people and dislike for others. These factors act as hindrance to objective performances appraisal. And sometimes these factors weight so much in favor of or against some employees that the real purpose of performance appraisal gets defeated.

d) Delegation of Authority
In organizational set up delegating authority to do various task is the way of life. But, a manager decision whether to delegate or whom to delegate is many time affected by his perception of employees. Various perceptual errors make him delegate someone who is not the best available choice in the organizations for that job. And this phenomenon has a very discouraging effect on the person who has been overlooked and his perception regarding delegating authority changes towards unreality.

e) Interpersonal Working Relationship
Organizations are intended to bring about integrated behavior. Therefore, managers in the organization need to know whether or not members share similar or at least compatible perceptions. If they do not, the problems of the organization becomes greater and requires efforts to make perceptions more compatible. Mis-perceptions usually lead to strained relations and may even result in open conflict among people.

f) Employee Effort
In many organizations, the level of an employee’s effort is given high importance just as teacher frequently consider how hard you try in a course as well as you perform in examinations. So often do managers. An assessment of an individual’s effort is a subjective judgment susceptible to perceptual distortions and bias.

g) Employee Loyalty
Another important judgment that managers make about employees is whether or not they are loyal to the organization. Despite the general decline in employees, especially those in the managerial ranks, openly disparage the firm. Furthermore, in some organization, if the word gets around that an employee is looking at other employment opportunities outside the firm, that employee may be labeled as disloyal and he may be cut off from all future advancement opportunities. The issue is not whether organizations are right in demanding loyalty. The issue is that many do, and that assessment of an employee’s loyalty by one decision maker may be seen as excessive conformity by another. An employee who questions a top management decision may be seen as disloyal by some, yet caring and concerned by others.

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