Case Study

Read the case study ”聽Hootsuite聽Uses Social Media to Manage Aspects of the Human Resource Function” and respond to this question.

What does this case teach you about the use of social media in today’s organization? 聽Explain and support your point of view.

Personality and Individual Behavior

MAJOR QUESTIONIn the hiring process, do employers care about one鈥檚 personality and individual traits?


Personality consists of stable psychological and behavioral attributes that give you your identity. We describe five personality dimensions and five personality traits that managers need to be aware of to understand workplace behavior.

In this and the next four chapters we discuss the third management function (after planning and organizing)鈥攏amely, leading.聽Leading,聽as we said in聽Chapter 1, is defined as聽motivating, directing, and otherwise influencing people to work hard to achieve the organization鈥檚 goals.

How would you describe yourself? Are you outgoing? aggressive? sociable? tense? passive? lazy? quiet? Whatever the combination of traits, which result from the interaction of your genes and your environment, they constitute your personality. More formally,聽personalityconsists of the stable psychological traits and behavioral attributes that give a person his or her identity.10聽As a manager, you need to understand personality attributes because they affect how people perceive and act within the organization.11

The Big Five Personality Dimensions

In recent years, the many personality dimensions have been distilled into a list of factors known as the Big Five.12TheBig Five personality dimensions聽are (1) extroversion, (2) agreeableness, (3) conscientiousness, (4) emotional stability, and (5) opennessto experience.

路聽Extroversion.聽How outgoing, talkative, sociable, and assertive a person is.

路聽Agreeableness.聽How trusting, good-natured, cooperative, and soft-hearted one is.

路聽Conscientiousness.聽How dependable, responsible, achievement-oriented, and persistent one is.

路聽Emotional stability.聽How relaxed, secure, and unworried one is.

路聽Openness to experience.聽How intellectual, imaginative, curious, and broad-minded one is.

Current estimates are that approximately 76% of organizations with more than 100 employees now use some sort of pre- or post-hiring assessment, including personality tests,13聽spending more than $500 million annually on such services.14聽Companies use these tests, believing that hiring decisions will be more accurate and predictive of high performers. But are they? We鈥檒l discuss this shortly. Dimensions in the Big Five have been associated with performance, leadership behavior, turnover, creativity, and workplace safety.15聽Do you wonder if your personality has affected your behavior at work? and assertive.聽Does it take a certain kind of personality to be a good salesperson? Have you ever known people who were quiet, unassuming, even shy but who were nevertheless very persistent and persuasive鈥攖hat is, good salespeople?漏 Blend Images/Alamy RFPage 359

Where do you think you stand in terms of the Big Five?聽You can find out by completing聽Self-Assessment 11.1.


Where Do You Stand on the Big Five Dimensions of Personality?

This survey is designed to assess your personality, using the Big Five index. Please be prepared to answer these questions if your instructor has assigned Self-Assessment 11.1 in Connect.

1. What is your personality profile, according to the Big Five?

2. Which of the Big Five is most likely going to help you achieve good grades in your classes and gain employment after graduation?

The Proactive Personality聽

A person who scores well on the Big Five dimension of conscientiousness is probably a good worker. He or she may also be a聽proactive personality, someone who is more apt to take initiative and persevere to influence the environment.聽Research reveals that proactive people tend to be more satisfied with their job and committed to their employer, as well as produce more work, than nonproactive individuals.16

Do Personality Tests Work for the Workplace?

Personality tests are more commonly used to hire managers than entry-level employees (80% and 59% of the time, respectively).17聽Nevertheless, many experts conclude personality tests are not a valid predictor of job performance.18聽One explanation for this finding is that test takers don鈥檛 describe themselves accurately, instead guessing answers that might make them look better. Another is that companies use 鈥渙ff-the-shelf鈥 tests possessing limited validity. You should avoid administering such tests. To overcome these limitations, companies like Pymetrics and Knack use games to assess cognitive ability and decision making. Other companies are looking toward genetic testing.19

The table below will help managers avoid abuses and discrimination lawsuits when using personality and psychological testing for employment decisions.20(SeeTable 11.1.)

TABLE聽11.1聽聽聽Cautions about Using Personality Tests in the Workplace

Use professionals.聽Rely on reputable, licensed psychologists for selecting and overseeing the administration, scoring, and interpretation of personality and psychological tests. This is particularly important, since not every psychologist is expert at these kinds of tests.
Don鈥檛 hire on the basis of personality test results alone.聽Supplement any personality test data with information from reference checks, personal interviews, ability tests, and job performance records. Also avoid hiring people on the basis of specified personality profiles. As a case in point, there is no distinct 鈥渕anagerial personality.鈥
Be alert for gender, racial, and ethnic bias.聽Regularly assess any possible adverse impact of personality tests on the hiring of women and minorities. This is truly a matter of great importance, since you don鈥檛 want to find your company (or yourself) embroiled in a lawsuit at some point downstream.
Graphology tests don鈥檛 work, but integrity tests do.聽Personality traits and aptitudes cannot be inferred from samples of people鈥檚 penmanship, as proponents of graphology tests claim. However, dishonest job applicants can often be screened by integrity tests, since dishonest people are reportedly unable to fake conscientiousness, even on a paper-and-pencil test.

Core Self-Evaluations

Acore self-evaluation聽represents a broad personality trait comprising four positive individual traits: (1)self-efficacy,聽(2)self-esteem, (3)locus of control, and (4)emotional stability.聽Managers need to be aware of these personality traits so as to understand workplace behavior.

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1. Self-Efficacy: 鈥淚 Can/Can鈥檛 Do This Task鈥

Self-efficacy聽is the聽belief in one鈥檚 personal ability to do a task.聽This is about your personal belief that you have what it takes to successfully complete a specified task.

Have you noticed that those who are confident about their ability tend to succeed, whereas those preoccupied with failure tend not to? Indeed, high expectations of self-efficacy have been linked with all kinds of positives: not only success in varied physical and mental tasks but also reduced anxiety and increased tolerance for pain.21聽One study found that the sales performance of life-insurance agents was much better among those with high self-efficacy.22聽A meta-analysis involving 21,616 people also found significant positive correlation between self-efficacy and job performance.23聽Low self-efficacy is associated with聽learned helplessness, the debilitating lack of faith in one鈥檚 ability to control one鈥檚 environment.24

Photo of Charlie Linville and Tim MedvetzSelf-efficacy.聽Former Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Charlie Linville, 30, shown here (left) with his climbing partner, Tim Medvetz. Linville reached the 29,029-foot summit of Mt. Everest in May 2016, becoming the first combat-wounded veteran to do so. He had already conquered some of the highest peaks in the world on one leg. He was injured while defusing bombs in Afghanistan in 2011, when an explosive device detonated, leading to the amputation of his right leg below the knee. Do you have a personal belief that you can succeed at great things?聽漏 Niranjan Shrestha/AP Photo

Among the implications for managers are the following:

路聽Assign jobs accordingly.聽Complex, challenging, and autonomous jobs tend to enhance people鈥檚 perceptions of their self-efficacy. Boring, tedious jobs generally do the opposite.

路聽Develop self-efficacy.聽Self-efficacy is a quality that can be nurtured. Employees with low self-efficacy need lots of constructive pointers and positive feedback.25聽Goal difficulty needs to match individuals鈥 perceived self-efficacy, but goals can be made more challenging as performance improves.26聽Small successes need to be rewarded. Employees鈥 expectations can be improved through guided experiences, mentoring, and role modeling.27

2. Self-Esteem: 鈥淚 Like/Dislike Myself鈥

How worthwhile, capable, and acceptable do you think you are? The answer to this question is an indicator of your聽self-esteem, the extent to which people like or dislike themselves, their overall self-evaluation.28Page 361聽Research offers some interesting insights about how high or low self-esteem can affect people and organizations.

路聽People with high self-esteem.聽Compared with people with low self-esteem, people with high self-esteem are more apt to handle failure better, to emphasize the positive, to take more risks, and to choose more unconventional jobs.29聽However, when faced with pressure situations, high-self-esteem people have been found to become egotistical and boastful.30聽Some have even been associated with aggressive and violent behavior.

路聽People with low self-esteem.聽Conversely, low-self-esteem people confronted with failure have been found to have focused on their weaknesses and to have had primarily negative thoughts.31聽Moreover, they are more dependent on others and are more apt to be influenced by them and to be less likely to take independent positions.

Self-esteem varies around the world. A survey of 13,000 students from 31 countries showed that self-esteem and life satisfaction were moderately related. The relationship was stronger in individualistic countries (United States, Canada, New Zealand) than collectivist cultures (Korea and Japan).32

Can self-esteem be improved? According to one study, 鈥渓ow self-esteem can be raised more by having the person think of聽desirable聽characteristics聽possessed聽rather than of undesirable characteristics from which he or she is free.鈥33聽Some ways in which managers can build employee self-esteem are shown below.聽(SeeTable 11.2.)

TABLE聽11.2聽聽聽Some Ways That Managers Can Boost Employee Self-Esteem

路 Reinforce employees鈥 positive attributes and skills.
路 Provide positive feedback whenever possible.
路 Break larger projects into smaller tasks and projects.
路 Express confidence in employees鈥 abilities to complete their tasks.
路 Provide coaching whenever employees are seen to be struggling to complete tasks.

3. Locus of Control: 鈥淚 Am/Am Not the Captain of My Fate鈥

As we discussed briefly in聽Chapter 1,聽locus of control聽indicates how much people believe they control their fate through their own efforts.聽If you have an聽internal locus of control,聽you believe you control your own destiny.聽If you have an聽external locus of control,聽you believe external forces control you.

Research shows internals and externals have important workplace differences. Internals exhibit less anxiety, greater work motivation, and stronger expectations that effort leads to performance. They also obtain higher salaries.34聽Most importantly, one鈥檚 internal locus of control can be improved by providing more job autonomy.35

These findings have two important implications for managers:

路聽Expect different degrees of structure and compliance for each type.聽Employees with internal locus of control will probably resist close managerial supervision. Hence, they should probably be placed in jobs requiring high initiative and lower compliance. By contrast, employees with external locus of control might do better in highly structured jobs requiring greater compliance.

路聽Employ different reward systems for each type.聽Since internals seem to have a greater belief that their actions have a direct effect on the consequences of that action, internals likely would prefer and respond more productively to incentives such as merit pay or sales commissions. (We discuss incentive compensation systems in聽Chapter 12.)

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4. Emotional Stability: 鈥淚鈥檓 Fairly Secure/Insecure When Working under Pressure鈥

Emotional stabilityis the extent to which people feel secure and unworried and how likely they are to experience negative emotionsunder pressure.聽People with low levels of emotional stability are prone to anxiety and tend to view the world negatively, whereas people with high levels tend to show better job performance.

Emotional Intelligence: Understanding Your Emotions and the Emotions of Others

Emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) has been defined as 鈥渢he ability to carry out accurate reasoning about emotions and the ability to use emotions and emotional knowledge to enhance thought.鈥36聽Said another way,聽emotional intelligence聽is the ability to monitor your and others鈥 feelings and to use this information to guide your thinking and actions.聽The trait of emotional intelligence was first introduced in 1909. Since that time some claim it to be the secret elixir to happiness and higher performance. Are you curious if research supports such lofty conclusions?

What Do We Know about EI?

Recent research underscores the importance of developing higher EI, but it does not confirm its lofty expectations.聽EI was moderately associated with (1) better social relations, well-being, and satisfaction across all ages and contexts, (2) higher creativity, (3) better emotional control, (4) conscientiousness and self-efficacy, and (5) self-rated performance. Interestingly, EI was not found to be a driver of supervisory ratings of performance.37Daniel Goleman, a psychologist who popularized the trait of EI, concluded that EI is composed of four key components: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.38(SeeTable 11.3.)

TABLE聽11.3聽聽聽The Traits of Emotional Intelligence

1. Self-awareness.聽The most essential trait. This is the ability to read your own emotions and gauge your moods accurately, so you know how you鈥檙e affecting others.
2. Self-management.聽This is the ability to control your emotions and act with honesty and integrity in reliable and adaptable ways. You can leave occasional bad moods outside the office.
3. Social awareness.聽This includes empathy, allowing you to show others that you care, and organizational intuition, so you keenly understand how your emotions and actions affect others.
4. Relationship management.聽This is the ability to communicate clearly and convincingly, disarm conflicts, and build strong personal bonds.

Sources: For a current review, see D. Joseph, J. Jin, D. Newman, and E. O鈥橞oyle, 鈥淲hy Does Self-Reported Emotional Intelligence Predict Job Performance? A Meta-Analytic Investigation of Mixed EI,鈥澛燡ournal of Applied Psychology,聽March 2015, pp. 298鈥342. See the box titled 鈥淕et Happy Carefully鈥 in D. Goleman, R. Boyatzis, and A. McKee, 鈥淧rimal Leadership: The Hidden Driver of Great Performance,鈥澛燞arvard Business Review, Special Issue: Breakthrough Leadership, December 2001, p. 49.

Can You Raise Your EI?

Is there any way to raise your own emotional intelligence, to sharpen your social skills? Although parts of EI represent stable traits that are not readily changed, other aspects, such as using empathy, can be developed.39聽Two suggestions for improvement are as follows:

路聽Develop awareness of your EI level.聽Becoming aware of your level of emotional intelligence is the first step. The self-assessment on following page can be used for this purpose. (Some companies use the Personal Profile Analysis during the hiring process to provide insights into a person鈥檚 EI.)40

路 Page 363

Learn about areas needing improvement.聽The next step is to learn more about those EI aspects in which improvement is needed. For example, to improve your skills at using empathy, find articles on the topic and try to implement their recommendations. One such article suggests that empathy in communications is enhanced by trying to (1) understand how others feel about what they are communicating and (2) gaining appreciation of what people want from an exchange.41


Emotional Intelligence: Does Empathy Work Better Than Self-interest?

When JetBlue identifies candidates for flight attendants, it not only uses psychological assessments, structured interviews, and the like, it also looks for the nicest people鈥攁nd then something else: Using customer data analysis, it found that 鈥渂eing helpful trumps being nice,鈥 as two JetBlue executives observed. Indeed, 鈥渂eing helpful even balances out the effect of somebody who is聽not聽so nice.鈥42聽As a result of policies developed out of these insights鈥攂oth reflections of emotional intelligence鈥攃ustomer feedback became more positive.

Is Compassion Good for the Bottom Line?聽A man named Drake, described as a 鈥渉appy, generous, and other-focused person, 鈥 always interested in helping others whenever he can,鈥 joined banker Bear Stearns, whose managers treated junior staff abusively, furthering an atmosphere of cut-throat competition. Drake was determined to follow his own values and as a senior staffer treated junior bankers with compassion and respect, as well as giving them more opportunities. As a result of one deal in which he gave a junior analyst much responsibility, she pitched a deal that turned out to be the most profitable of the year鈥攃atching the eye of senior management.43


Providing support for one another, including offering kindness and compassion when others are struggling. Inspiring one another at work. Avoiding blame and forgiving mistakes. Have you observed these expressions of EQ in a business situation? Do you think they pay off in a happier and even productive workplace?44

Both research and our experience suggest that your emotional intelligence can help or hurt your career. Would you like to know where you stand and what you might do to improve your level of emotional intelligence?

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Values, Attitudes, and Behavior

MAJOR QUESTIONHow do the hidden aspects of individuals鈥攖heir values and attitudes鈥攁ffect employee behavior?


Organizational behavior (OB) considers how to better understand and manage people at work. In this section, we discuss individual values and attitudes and how they affect people鈥檚 actions and judgments.

If you look at a company鈥檚 annual report or at a brochure from its corporate communications department, you are apt to be given a picture of its聽formal aspects:聽Goals. Policies. Hierarchy. Structure.

Could you exert effective leadership if the formal aspects were all you knew about the company? What about the聽informal aspects? Values. Attitudes. Personalities. Perceptions. Conflicts. Culture. Clearly, you need to know about these hidden, 鈥渕essy鈥 characteristics as well.聽(SeeFigure 11.1,left.)

FIGURE聽11.1聽Formal and informal aspects of an organizationSummary graphic of formal and informal aspects of organizations

Organizational Behavior: Trying to Explain and Predict Workplace Behavior

The informal aspects are the focus of the interdisciplinary field known as聽organizational behavior (OB), which is dedicated to better understanding and managing people at work.聽In particular, OB tries to help managers not only聽explain聽workplace behavior but also聽predict聽it, so that they can better lead and motivate their employees to perform productively. OB looks at two areas:

路聽Individual behavior.聽This is the subject of this chapter. We discuss such individual attributes as values, attitudes, personality, perception, and learning.

路聽Group behavior.聽This is the subject of later chapters, particularly聽Chapter 13, where we discuss norms, roles, and teams.

Let鈥檚 begin by considering individual values, attitudes, and behavior.

Values: What Are Your Consistent Beliefs and Feelings about聽All聽Things?

Values聽are abstract ideals that guide one鈥檚 thinking and behavior across all situations.45聽Lifelong behavior patterns are dictated by values that are fairly well set by the time people are in their early teens. After that, however, one鈥檚 values can be reshaped by significant life-altering events, such as having a child, undergoing a business failure, or surviving the death of a loved one, a war, or a serious health threat.

From a manager鈥檚 point of view, it鈥檚 helpful to know that values represent the ideals that underlie how we behave at work. Ideals such as concern for others, self-enhancement, independence, and security are common values in the workplace.46聽Managers who understand an employee鈥檚 values are better suited to assign them to meaningful projects and to help avoid conflicts between work activities and personal values.47

Attitudes: What Are Your Consistent Beliefs and Feelings about聽Specific聽Things?

Values聽are abstract ideals鈥攇lobal beliefs and feelings鈥攖hat are directed toward all objects, people, or events. Values tend to be consistent both over time and over related situations.

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By contrast, attitudes are beliefs and feelings that are directed toward聽specific聽objects, people, or events. More formally, an聽attitude聽is defined as a learned predisposition toward a given object.48聽It is important for you to understand the components of attitudes because attitudes directly influence our behavior.49

Example: Job satisfaction is moderately associated with performance and strongly related to turnover.50聽Unhappy workers are less likely to demonstrate high performance, while happy workers are less likely to quit. This is why it is important for managers to track employees鈥 attitudes and to understand their causes. For example, Earls, a Canadian chain of 65 restaurants with as many as 8,000 employees, has truly adopted this recommendation. The companysends short surveys measuring workplace attitudes to employees鈥 mobile devices every three months. According to聽The聽Wall Street Journal, Earls does this because management has concluded that 鈥渢he components of engagement鈥攅mployee happiness and commitment to the business鈥攁re exactly what drives sales, and therefore the bottom line.鈥51

The Three Components of Attitudes: Affective, Cognitive, and Behavioral

Attitudes have three components鈥affective, cognitive,聽and聽behavioral.52

路聽The affective component鈥斺淚 feel.鈥Theaffective component of an attitude聽consists of the feelings or emotions one has about a situation.聽How do you聽feel聽about people who talk loudly on cell-phones in restaurants? If you feel annoyed or angry, you鈥檙e expressing negative emotions, or affect. (If you鈥檙e indifferent, your attitude is neutral.)

路聽The cognitive component鈥斺淚 believe.鈥Thecognitive component of an attitude聽consists of the beliefs and knowledge one has about a situation.聽What do you聽think聽about people in restaurants talking on cell-phones? Is what they鈥檙e doing inconsiderate, acceptable, even admirable (because it shows they鈥檙e productive)? Your answer reflects your beliefs or ideas about the situation.

路聽The behavioral component鈥斺淚 intend.鈥Thebehavioral component of an attitude, also known as the intentional component, is how one intends or expects to behave toward a situation.聽What would you聽intend to do聽if a person talked loudly on a cell-phone at the table next to you? Your action may reflect your negative or positive feelings (affective), your negative or positive beliefs (cognitive), and your intention or lack of intention to do anything (behavioral).

All three components are often manifested at any given time. For example, if you call a corporation and get one of those telephone-tree menus (鈥淔or customer service, press 1 鈥︹) that never seem to connect you to a human being, you might be so irritated that you would say

路 鈥淚 hate being given the runaround.鈥 [affective component鈥攜our feelings]

路 鈥淭hat company doesn鈥檛 know how to take care of customers.鈥 [cognitive component鈥攜our perceptions]

路 鈥淚鈥檒l never call them again.鈥 [behavioral component鈥攜our intentions]

When Attitudes and Reality Collide: Consistency and Cognitive Dissonance

One of the last things you want, probably, is to be accused of hypocrisy鈥攖o be criticized for saying one thing and doing another. Like most people, you no doubt want to maintain consistency between your attitudes and your behavior.

But what if a strongly held attitude bumps up against a harsh reality that contradicts it? Suppose you鈥檙e extremely concerned about getting AIDS, which you believe you might get from contact with body fluids, including blood. Then you鈥檙e in a life-threatening auto accident in a third-world country and require surgery and blood transfusions鈥攊ncluding transfusions of blood from (possibly AIDS-infected) strangers in a blood bank. Do you reject the blood to remain consistent with your beliefs about getting AIDS?

Photo of Leon FestingerLeon Festinger.聽In 1957, the psychologist and his associates penetrated a cult whose members predicted that most people on earth would perish in a cataclysmic event, except for a handful who would be rescued by aliens in a flying saucer. Festinger found himself standing with cult members on a hilltop, awaiting the event, which, of course, did not happen. Later he proposed the term聽cognitive dissonance聽to explain how they rationalized the failure of their prophecy. Have you observed people employing this mechanism when the surefire thing they predicted did not occur?漏 Estate of Francis Bello/ Science Source

In 1957, social psychologist聽Leon Festinger聽proposed the term聽cognitive dissonance聽to describe the psychological discomfort a person experiences between his or her MHHE:Page 366聽cognitive attitude and incompatible behavior.53聽Because people are uncomfortable with inconsistency, Festinger theorized, they will seek to reduce the 鈥渄issonance,鈥 or tension, of the inconsistency. How they deal with the discomfort, he suggested, depends on three factors:

路聽Importance.聽How important are the elements creating the dissonance? Most people can put up with some ambiguities in life. For example, many drivers don鈥檛 think obeying speed limits is very important, even though they profess to be law-abiding citizens. People eat greasy foods, even though they know that ultimately those foods may contribute to heart disease.

路聽Control.聽How much control does one have over the matters that create dissonance? A juror may not like the idea of voting the death penalty but believe that he or she has no choice but to follow the law in the case. A taxpayer may object to his taxes being spent on, say, special-interest corporate welfare for a particular company but not feel that he can withhold taxes.

路聽Rewards.聽What rewards are at stake in the dissonance? You鈥檙e apt to cling to old ideas in the face of new evidence if you have a lot invested emotionally or financially in those ideas. If you鈥檙e a police officer who worked 20 years to prove a particular suspect guilty of murder, you鈥檙e not apt to be very accepting of contradictory evidence after all that time.

The Practical Action box below provides an example of three key methods Festinger suggested to reduce cognitive dissonance.


Methods for Reducing Cognitive Dissonance

Suppose Juanita has a positive attitude about helping others. One day her boss asks her to work on a special project for an important new client鈥攁nd it must get done in two months. The project represents significant revenue, and her boss even promises a bonus for successfully completing it on time. Juanita would like to use the bonus to purchase a new car. The rub is that two of her peers have also come to her, seeking help on聽their聽project. Juanita believes she is well suited to help them, given her past experience, but she feels it would take time away from completing her special project. Should she make time to help her peers or focus solely on the special project?

Festinger suggested three key ways Juanita can reduce the cognitive dissonance associated with her current situation:

路聽Change your attitude or behavior or both.聽Juanita could either (a) tell herself that she can鈥檛 help her peers because the special project is too important for the company or (b) schedule extra time each day or week to help her peers.

路聽Belittle the importance of the inconsistent behavior.聽Juanita could belittle (in the sense of 鈥渕ake small鈥) the belief that she needs to help peers every time they ask for assistance.

路聽Find consonant elements that outweigh dissonant ones.聽Juanita could tell herself that she can鈥檛 help because the company needs the revenue and she needs the bonus.


Have you found yourself in a similar dilemma? Which solution seemed to work best鈥攐r would work best鈥攊n your case?

Behavior: How Values and Attitudes Affect People鈥檚 Actions and Judgments

Values (global) and attitudes (specific) are generally in harmony, but not always. For example, a manager may put a positive聽value聽on helpful behavior (global) yet may have a negative聽attitude聽toward helping an unethical coworker (specific). Together, however, values and attitudes influence people鈥檚 workplace聽behavior鈥攖heir actions and judgments.聽鈼

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How Values and Attitudes Affect Behavior: Thinking beyond Profit to Create Value for Society

As a manager, would you think most employees would agree that innovation is beneficial鈥攖hat the original Silicon Valley firms prospered because they were constantly creating new products and services? Employees may have the聽value,聽then, that innovation is good鈥攖hat it leads to productivity and profitability.

However, what if employees think that a company鈥檚 purpose is to be solely a money-making machine? They might have the聽attitude聽that social innovation is unnecessary, even discouraged.

The Thinking behind Great Companies.聽Great companies, suggests Rosabeth Moss Kanter of Harvard Business School, have broader values鈥攁nd attitudes. Firms such as IBM, PepsiCo, and Procter & Gamble, she says, 鈥渨ork to make money, of course, but in their choices of how to do so, they think about building enduring institutions. 鈥 Society and people are not afterthoughts or inputs to be used and discarded but are core to their purpose.鈥54聽Balancing public interest with financial interest means that CEOs must expand their investments beyond profit-maximizing activities such as marketing and research and development and include employee empowerment, emotional engagement, values-based leadership, and related social contributions.

Ways of Creating Value.聽鈥淎ffirming purpose and values through service is a regular part of how great companies express their identities,鈥 Kanter believes. Thus, JPMorgan Chase has The Fellowship Initiative, a program to help young American men of color achieve academic and professional success. Coca-Cola invests in small African mango plantations to help farmers in Africa gain livelihoods. Microsoft partners with nonprofit NETHope to create apprenticeships in information technology in Kenya. Gap Inc. has a program for teaching health awareness and literacy to women garment workers in Cambodia and India. The Disney Company provides conservation grants to protect wildlife.55聽In West Africa, Procter & Gamble set up Pampers mobile clinics to reduce infant mortality by having health care professionals teach postnatal care, examine babies, and hand out Pampers diapers. 鈥淭he emotional tugs for P&G employees are strong,鈥 says Kanter; 鈥渢hey feel inspired by the fact that their product is at the center of a mission to save lives.鈥


Where do you think the inspiration for giving a firm a motivating purpose and values beyond making money should come from? Does it have to come from a company鈥檚 leaders? Do you think it could begin as voluntary activity, as with employees finding each other through company chat rooms and sharing ideas in their free time? value.聽The Nature Conservancy Disney Wilderness Preserve, consisting of 11,500 acres near Orlando, Florida, was created by the Disney Company to protect more than 1,000 species of plants and animals. It鈥檚 considered the 鈥渟ecret Disney park,鈥 because few people know about it.聽漏 Ian Dagnall/Alamy

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Perception and Individual Behavior

MAJOR QUESTIONWhat are the distortions in perception that can cloud one鈥檚 judgment?


Perception, a four-step process, can be skewed by five types of distortion: stereotyping, implicit bias, the halo effect, the recency effect, and causal attribution. We also consider the self-fulfilling prophecy, which can affect our judgment as well.

If you were a smoker, which warning on a cigarette pack would make you think more about quitting? 鈥淪moking seriously harms you and others around you鈥? A blunt 鈥淪moking kills鈥? Or a stark graphic image showing decaying teeth?

This is the kind of decision public health authorities in various countries are wrestling with. (One study found that highly graphic images about the negative effects of smoking had the greatest impact on smokers鈥 intentions to quit.)56聽These officials, in other words, are trying to decide how聽perception聽might influence behavior.

The Four Steps in the Perceptual Process

Perception聽is the process of interpreting and understanding one鈥檚 environment.聽The process of perception is complex, but it can be boiled down to four steps.57(See聽Figure 11.2.)

FIGURE聽11.2聽The four steps in the perceptual processA figure illustrates the four steps in the perceptual processAccess the text alternative for Figure 11 2.

In this book, we are less concerned about the theoretical steps in perception than in how perception is distorted, since this has considerable bearing on the manager鈥檚 judgment and job. In any one of the four stages of the perception process, misunderstandings or errors in judgment can occur. Perceptual errors can lead to mistakes that can be damaging to yourself, other people, and your organization.

Five Distortions in Perception

Although there are other types of distortion in perception, we will describe the following: (1)聽stereotyping,聽(2)聽implicit bias,聽(3)the聽halo effect,聽(4) the聽recency effect,聽and (5)聽causal attribution.

1. Stereotyping: 鈥淭hose Sorts of People Are Pretty Much the Same鈥

If you鈥檙e a tall African American man, do people make remarks about basketball players? If you鈥檙e of Irish descent, do people believe you drink a lot? If you鈥檙e Jewish, do people think you鈥檙e money-oriented? If you鈥檙e a woman, do people think you鈥檙e automatically nurturing? All these are stereotypes.聽Stereotyping聽is the tendency to attribute to an individual the characteristics one believes are typical of the group to which that individual belongs.58

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Principal areas of stereotyping that should be of concern to you as a manager are (1)聽sex-role stereotypes,聽(2)聽age stereotypes,聽and (3)聽race/ethnicity stereotypes.聽(People with disabilities, discussed in聽Section 11.5, are also apt to be stereotyped.)

Sex-Role Stereotypes

A聽sex-role stereotype聽is the belief that differing traits and abilities make males and females particularly well suited to different roles. Thus, for example, people tend to prefer male bosses (33%) to female bosses (20%) in a new job, according to a recent Gallup poll, even though the public generally views women as being every bit as capable as men at being leaders, according to Pew Research.59聽(Reverse bias can occur when managers fighting bias against women overdo it and discriminate against men.)60

A summary of research revealed that

路 Men were preferred for male-dominated jobs (such as firefighter), but there was no preference for either gender in female-dominated jobs (such as nurse).

路 Women have a harder time than men in being perceived as effective leaders. (The exception: Women were seen as more effective when the organization faced a crisis and needed a turnaround.)

路 Women of color are more negatively affected by sex-role stereotypes than are white women or men in general.61

Age Stereotypes

Another example of an inaccurate stereotype is the belief that older workers are less motivated, more resistant to change, less trusting, less healthy, and more likely to have problems with work鈥搇ife balance. A recent study refuted all these negative beliefs about age.62聽Unfortunately, these stereotypes likely fuel bias against older employees. A 2013 survey of 1,500 older workers, for example, showed that 92% considered bias against them 鈥渧ery鈥 or 鈥渟omewhat鈥 commonplace.63

Race/Ethnicity Stereotypes

Studies of race-based stereotypes have demonstrated that people of color experienced more perceived discrimination and less psychological support than whites.64聽Perceived racial discrimination was also associated with more negative work attitudes, physical health, psychological health, and organizational citizenship behavior.65

2. Implicit Bias: 鈥淚 Really Don鈥檛 Think I鈥檓 Biased, but I Just Have a Feeling about Some People鈥

More than 85% of Americans consider themselves to be unprejudiced, but researchers conclude that most hold some degree of implicit racial bias.66

Explicit bias reflects attitudes or beliefs endorsed at a conscious level鈥攆or example, 鈥淚 don鈥檛 let any teenage black men wearing hoodies come into my store; they might hold me up.鈥澛Implicit biasis聽the attitudes or beliefs that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner鈥for example, from several New York City police officers, 鈥淲e had to shoot him, he seemed to be reaching for a gun.鈥 (This was the 1999 shooting of Guinean immigrant Amadou Diallo, who was killed when police fired 41 rounds as he pulled out his wallet.)67

Implicit bias has come more into the forefront of public discussion with the rise in the number of聽deaths of African Americans at the hands of the police in Ferguson, Missouri; in Cleveland; and on Staten Island in New York, among other places (as well as the 2016 shooting of several white police officers by an African American male in Dallas).68聽But implicit bias also operates on more subtle levels: In one famous study, social scientists sent thousands of resumes with identical content to employers with job openings and measured which received callbacks for interviews. On some resumes, some stereotypically African American names were used (such as 鈥淛amal鈥) and on others stereotypically white names were used (like 鈥淏rendan鈥). The same resume was roughly 50% more likely to result in callback for an interview if it had a 鈥渨hite鈥 name.69

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If changing explicit bias is difficult, taking steps to root out implicit bias is even harder. Nevertheless, police departments, in particular, are taking great steps forward, requiring intergroup contact, positive feedback, clear norms of behavior, and similar matters.70

3. The Halo Effect: 鈥淥ne Trait Tells Me All I Need to Know鈥

We often use faces as markers for gender, race, and age, but face and body characteristics can lead us to fall back on cultural stereotypes. For example, height has been associated with perceptions of prosperity鈥攈igh income鈥攁nd occupational success. Excess weight can be stereotypically associated with negative traits such as laziness, incompetence, and lack of discipline.71聽These examples illustrate the聽halo effect, in which we form an impression of an individual based on a single trait.聽(The phenomenon is also called the聽horn-and-halo effect,聽because not only can a single positive trait be generalized into an array of positive traits but the reverse is also true.)

As if we needed additional proof that life is unfair, it has been shown that attractive people generally are treated better than unattractive people. Attractive members of Congress get more TV coverage, and attractive political candidates win more often.72聽Attractive students have higher expectations by teachers in terms of academic achievement.73聽Attractive employees are generally paid higher salaries than unattractive ones are, and attractive CEOs are paid more than less appealing CEOs.74聽(Male CEOs also tend to be taller鈥6 feet compared to an average man鈥檚 5-feet-10.5 inches, in one Swedish study.)75聽Clearly, however, if a manager fails to look at聽all聽of an individual鈥檚 traits, he or she has no right to complain if that employee doesn鈥檛 work out.


The Halo Effect: Do Good Looks Make People Richer and Happier?

Are attractive employees paid more than ordinary (or unattractive) people for the same work? Are they happier? That would seem to be the case, according to a study involving more than 25,000 people worldwide.76

$250,000 More.聽Five large surveys conducted from 1971 to 2009 in the United States, Britain, and Germany found that beautiful people earn an extra $250,000 during their careers than the least attractive people. In addition, says University of Texas economist Daniel Hamermesh, leader of the study, the best-looking people are more likely to remain employed, get promoted, find a higher-earning (and better-looking) spouse, and even get better deals on home loans.77聽Hamermesh is also author of聽Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful.78聽鈥淚n economic terms, beauty is scarce. People distinguish themselves and pay attention to beauty,鈥 he says. 鈥淐ompanies realize that hiring better-looking people helps in various ways. In every market, whether it鈥檚 jobs or marriage, beauty matters.鈥79聽The result of all this is that beautiful people are generally happier people than ordinary folks. 鈥淭he majority of beauty鈥檚 effect on happiness works through its impact on economic outcomes,鈥 says Hamermesh.80

Do Good Looks Produce Confident Communicators?聽Another study produces additional insights:81

路 Although beautiful people are no better than ordinary people at solving puzzles such as mazes, they are more self-confident about their abilities. 鈥淏eing good looking,鈥 says one article about the study, 鈥渟eems to be strongly associated with self-confidence, a trait that is apparently attractive to employers.鈥82

路 When study subjects pretending to be employers looked only at resumes, physical appearance had no effect on their judgments, as you might expect. When photos, in-person interviews, and even phone interviews were involved, employers showed higher estimates for beautiful people鈥檚 productivity鈥攅specially when they had face-to-face interviews but even with telephone-only interviews, the result, apparently, of the effect of self-confidence that came across on the phone.

路 Good-looking people are good communicators, which also contributes to employers鈥 positive perceptions.

The Halo Misperception.聽In sum, 鈥淓mployers (wrongly) expect good-looking workers to perform better than their less-attractive counterparts under both visual and oral interaction,鈥 said the researchers, 鈥渆ven after controlling for individual worker characteristics and worker confidence.鈥83


Are you influenced in your judgment of people by how attractive they are? Do you think as a manager you could look beyond people鈥檚 physical appearance to be a good judge of their competence? Why?

Page 371Photo of attractive and well-dressed employeesHandsomely compensated.聽Attractive employees are generally paid better than unattractive ones are. Why do you think that is? Do you think it鈥檚 inevitable?漏 Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock RF

4. The Recency Effect: 鈥淭he Most Recent Impressions Are the Ones That Count鈥

Therecency effect聽is the tendency to remember recent information better than earlier information,聽perhaps because when you activate your recall, the later recollections are still present in working memory.84聽You see this misperception often operating among investors (even professionals), who are more likely to buy a stock if they see something about it in the news or if it has a high one-day return.85


The Recency Effect: Performance Reviews, Student Evaluations, and Investment Decisions

Not just a few employees have had the experience of making some mistake happen recently, and then it ends up being 鈥渢he entire topic of your performance review even if you鈥檝e done a great job the rest of the year,鈥 as one writer points out.86聽This is just one example of the recency effect in action.

Another is when students do their own 鈥減erformance reviews鈥濃攄o student course evaluations of their professors. Here, too, their ratings may be affected by course activities that are closer to the time of the formal appraisal.87

The recency effect appears quite frequently among stock market investors. 鈥淧eople extrapolate what just happened into more of the same,鈥 says one wealth fund manager.88聽That is, people leap into holdings that are doing well and cash out investments that are doing poorly, forgetting that at some point the trends will be reversed.


Why does the recency effect occur? Like other habits, it makes things easier, says one financial planner. 鈥淏ecause it鈥檚 easier, we鈥檙e inclined to use our recent experience as the baseline for what will happen in the future.鈥89聽What decision(s) would you admit to making in which you were influenced by the recency effect?

5. Causal Attributions

Causal attribution聽is the activity of inferring causes for observed behavior.聽Rightly or wrongly, we constantly formulate cause-and-effect explanations for our own and others鈥 behavior. Attributional statements such as the followingPage 372聽are common: 鈥淛oe drinks too much because he has no willpower, but I need a few drinks after work because I鈥檓 under a lot of pressure.鈥

Even though our causal attributions tend to be self-serving and are often invalid, it鈥檚 important to understand how people formulate attributions because they profoundly affect organizational behavior. For example, a supervisor who attributes an employee鈥檚 poor performance to a lack of effort might reprimand that person. However, training might be deemed necessary if the supervisor attributes the poor performance to a lack of ability.

As a manager, you need to be alert to two attributional tendencies that can distort one鈥檚 interpretation of observed behavior鈥攖he聽fundamental attribution bias聽and the聽self-serving bias.

路聽Fundamental attribution bias.聽In the聽fundamental attribution bias, people attribute another person鈥檚 behavior to his or her personal characteristics rather than to situational factors.

Example: A study of manufacturing employees found that top managers attributed the cause of industrial back pain to individuals, whereas workers attributed it to the environment.90

路聽Self-serving bias.聽In the聽self-serving bias, people tend to take more personal responsibility for success than for failure.

Example: Europeans blamed Wall Street for the 2010 economic collapse in Greece. However, a聽Wall Street Journal聽article points out that a close look at Greece鈥檚 finances 鈥渙ver the nearly 10 years since it adopted the euro shows not only that Greece was the principal author of its debt problems, but also that fellow European governments repeatedly turned a blind eye to its flouting of rules.鈥91

The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, or Pygmalion Effect

Theself-fulfilling prophecy, also known as thePygmalion聽(鈥減ig-mail-yun鈥)effect, describes the phenomenon in which people鈥檚 expectations of themselves or others lead them to behave in ways that make those expectations come true.

Expectations are important. An example is a waiter who expects some poorly dressed customers to be stingy tippers, who therefore gives them poor service and so gets the result he or she expected鈥攁 much lower tip than usual. Research has shown that by raising managers鈥 expectations for individuals performing a wide variety of tasks, higher levels of achievement and productivity can be achieved.92

The lesson for you as a manager is that when you expect employees to perform badly, they probably will, and when you expect them to perform well, they probably will. (In the G. B. Shaw play聽Pygmalion,聽a speech coach bets he can get a lower-class girl to change her accent and her demeanor so that she can pass herself off as a duchess. In six months, she successfully 鈥減asses鈥 in high society, having assumed the attributes of a woman of sensitivity and taste.)

Research in a variety of industries and occupations shows that the effect of the self-fulfilling prophecy can be quite strong.93聽That is, managerial expectations powerfully influence employee behavior and performance. Among the things managers can do to create positive performance expectations: Recognize that everyone has the potential to increase his or her performance. Introduce new employees as if they have outstanding potential. Encourage employees to visualize the successful execution of tasks. Help them master key skills.94

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Work-Related Attitudes and Behaviors Managers Need to Deal With

MAJOR QUESTIONIs it important for managers to pay attention to employee attitudes?


Attitudes are important because they affect behavior. Managers need to be alert to the key work-related attitudes having to do with engagement, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment. Among the types of employee behavior they should attend to are their on-the-job performance and productivity, absenteeism and turnover, organizational citizenship behaviors, and counterproductive work behaviors.

鈥淜eep the employees happy,鈥 we often hear. It鈥檚 true that attitudes are important, the reason being that聽attitudes affect behavior.聽But is keeping employees happy all that managers need to know to get results? We discuss motivation for performance in the next chapter. Here, let us consider what managers need to know about key work-related attitudes and behaviors.

Three types of attitudes managers are particularly interested in are (1)聽employee engagement,聽(2)聽job satisfaction,聽and (3)聽organizational commitment.

1. Employee Engagement: How Connected Are You to Your Work?

Research on job involvement has evolved into the study of an individual difference called聽employee engagement, defined as an individual鈥檚 involvement, satisfaction, and enthusiasm for work.95聽Engaged employees are expected to have feelings of urgency, intensity, and enthusiasm, as well as focus, which make them more committed to their employer and to put more effort into their jobs.96聽In other words, such employees 鈥済ive their all鈥 at work.

The U.S. workforce displays above-average global levels of engagement, according to consulting firm Aon Hewitt. The firm鈥檚 15-year study of engagement shows worldwide levels at 62% in comparison to a North American rate of 66%. This bodes well for the U.S. workforce because highly engaged employees can achieve 12% higher customer satisfaction/loyalty, 18% more productivity, and 12% greater profitability.97聽Other recent academic studies similarly showed a positive relationship between employee engagement, performance, and physical and psychological well-being and corporate-level financial performance and customer satisfaction.98聽Engaged employees tend to be positive or optimistic, proactive, and conscientious and to possess high levels of human and social capital.

Employees are also more likely to become engaged when an organization has the kind of culture that promotes employee development, recognition, and trust between management and employees.99聽Job security and feelings of psychological safety (when employees feel free of fear in trying new ideas) also propel job engagement.100

Do you want to achieve higher grades in your classes? If yes, you will find that being engaged in your studies will help. You can determine your level of engagement with your studies by completing聽Self-Assessment 11.3. Results can be used to develop an engagement improvement plan.


To What Extent Are You Engaged in Your Studies?

The following survey was designed to assess your level of engagement in your studies. Please be prepared to answer these questions if your instructor has assigned Self-Assessment 11.3 in Connect.

1. What is your level of engagement?

2. Find your three lowest-rated items. Based on the content of these items, what can you do to improve your level of engagement? Hint: Doing this requires you to identify the cause of the low ratings for each item.

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2. Job Satisfaction: How Much Do You Like or Dislike Your Job?

Job satisfaction聽is the extent to which you feel positive or negative about various aspects of your work.聽Most people don鈥檛 like everything about their jobs. Their overall satisfaction depends on how they feel about several components, such as聽work, pay, promotions, coworkers,聽and聽supervision.101聽Among the key correlates of job satisfaction are stronger motivation, job involvement, organizational commitment, and life satisfaction and less absenteeism, tardiness, turnover, and perceived stress.102

Reportedly only 48.3% of U.S. workers were satisfied with their jobs in 2015, down from 61.1% in 1987, according to a study of 5,000 households.103聽But another survey found that employee job satisfaction in 2015 was 88%, up from a low of 77% in 2002.104聽Job satisfaction today is much better, of course, than in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Then Americans were forced to work longer hours and often for the same or less pay, and many struck back by suing employers for violating wage-and-hour laws, as by forcing them to work off the clock or without overtime pay.105

But what is the relationship between job satisfaction and job performance鈥攄oes more satisfaction cause better performance or does better performance cause more satisfaction? This is a subject of much debate among management scholars.106聽One comprehensive study found that (1) job satisfaction and performance are moderately related, meaning that employee job satisfaction is a key work attitude managers should consider when trying to increase performance; but (2) the relationship between satisfaction and performance is complex and it seems that both variables influence each other through a host of individual differences and work-environment characteristics.107

How satisfied are you with the job you are in now, if you have one, or the last job you had?


How Satisfied Are You with Your Present Job?

The following survey was designed to assess how satisfied you are with your current job, or a previous job, if you鈥檙e not presently working. Please be prepared to answer these questions if your instructor has assigned Self-Assessment 11.4 in Connect.

1. What is your level of satisfaction with recognition, compensation, and supervision?

2. If you have low to medium satisfaction with any aspect of the job, identify what can be done to increase your job satisfaction. Be sure to consider what you can do, what your boss might do, or what the organization might do. Be specific.

3. Organizational Commitment: How Much Do You Identify with Your Organization?

Organizational commitment聽reflects the extent to which an employee identifies with an organization and is committed to its goals.聽For instance, some managers question whether mothers with children can be fully committed to their jobs, although one survey found that only 4% of more than 2,612 women said that their bosses think that they are not as committed to their jobs because they have children.108聽Research shows a significant positive relationship between organizational commitment and job satisfaction, performance, turnover, and organizational citizenship behavior鈥攄iscussed in the next section.109聽Thus, if managers are able to increase job satisfaction, employees may show higher levels of commitment, which in turn can elicit higher performance and lower employee turnover.110


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