An attitude is a hypothetical construct that represents an individual’s degree of like or dislike for an item. Attitudes are generally positive or negative views of a person, place, thing, or event– this is often referred to as the attitude object. People can also be conflicted or ambivalent toward an object, meaning that they simultaneously possess both positive and negative attitudes toward the item in question. Attitude: The importance of attitude in understanding psychological phenomenon was given formal recognition early in the history of social psychology.
From the time of the concept’s entry in to the language of psychology until now, interest in attitude has been strong and growing. However, over the years attitudes have been studied with differing emphasis and methods. Concept of Attitude: It is necessary to be precise in defining attitudes, because the variety of published definitions and descriptions is almost endless. Like any other concept, attitude may also be defined in two ways, Conceptual and Operational. There is quite a difference in the conceptual definition of the term attitude, and divergent points of view regarding the concept of attitude have developed.
Features of Attitude: • Attitudes affect behavior of an individual by putting him ready to respond favorably to things in his environment. • Attitudes are acquired through learning over a period of time. The process of learning attitudes starts right from the childhood and continues throughout the life of a person. • Attitudes are invisible as they constitute a psychologied phenomenon which cannot be observed directly. They can be observed by observing the behavior of an individual. • Attitudes are pervasive and every individual has some kind of attitude towards the objects in his environment.
In fact, attitudes are forced in the socialization process and may relate to anything in the environment. Attitude, Opinion and Belief: An opinion is generally the expression of one’s judgment of a particular set of facts, an evaluation of the circumstances presented to him. “Thurstone” defines opinion as a response to a specifically limited stimulus, but the response is certainly influenced by the predisposition with, with the individual is operating, that is, the attitude structure. A difference can also be made between attitude and belief.
A belief is an enduring organization of perceptions and cognitions about some aspects of individual world. Thus, belief is a hypothesis concerning the nature of objects, more particularly, concerning one’s judgments of the probability regarding the nature. In this sense, belief is the cognitive component of attitude which reflects the manner in which an object is perceived. The difference between attitude, opinion, and belief exists on conceptual basis. Most researchers believe that these three terms are so closely tied that it is difficult to separate them except on a limited conceptual basis.
In the literature, often, there is a considerable amount of overlapping in these three terms. Most psychologists, however, believe that attitudes are more fundamental to human behavior than are the related aspects. For this reason, more attempts have been made to analyze attitudes as compared to others. Obviously attitudes are an important consideration because of their central position in the process of transforming work requirements in to efforts. Attitude alone do not influence behavior but these acts with other factors in the individual influencing behavior, such as personality, perception, motivation, etc.
Further, attitudes are also affected by the individual dimension as well as the objects, persons, and ideas. Attitudes have been through as serving four functions and there by influencing the behavior. These are instrumental, ego defensive, value orientation and knowledge. 1. Instrumental: Attitudes serve as a means to reach a desired goal or to avoid an undesired one. Instrumental attitude are aroused by the activation of a need or cues that are associated with the attitude object and arouse favorable or unfavorable feelings.
2. Ego-Defensive: The ego-defensive functions of attitude acknowledge the importance of psychological thought. Attitude may be acquired by facing threats in the external world or becoming aware of his own unacceptable impulses. 3. Value Orientation: The value-orientation function takes in to account attitudes that are held because they express a person’s self-image, or bycues that engage the person’s values and make them salient to him. 4. Knowledge: The knowledge function of attitude is based on a person’s need to maintain a stable, organized and meaningful structure of the world.
5. Attitude that provides a standard against which a person evaluates the aspects of his world and serve as the knowledge function too. These functions of attitudes affect the individual’s way of interpreting the information coming to him. Since attitudes intervene between work requirements and work responses, information about how people feel about their jobs can be quite useful in the predication about work response. Thus, these types of attitudes can portray areas of investigation for making the individual and the organization more compatible. Factors in Attitude Formation: The attitudes are learned.
Though there are different approaches as how learning works and is acquired by an individual, generally it is held that individuals learn things from the environment in which they interact. Thus, for attitude formation, all these factors must be taken in to account from which people learn. Such factors may be analyzed in terms of groups starting from the family as a group, an individual moves in a close group, then to longer groups, and finally to the society as a whole. A part from these groups, the individual’s psychology which makes up particularly his personality, is also responsible for behavior and attitudes.
Methods of Attitude Change: There are various methods through which a positive change in attitudes may be brought. In the social context, Cohen has suggested four methods for attitude change. They are • Communication of additional information. • Approval and disapproval of a particular attitude. • Group influence, and • Inducing engagement in discrepant behavior. In some or the other, all these methods involve introducing discrepancies among the elements making up the individual’s attitudes in the hope that the elements will be rebalanced through the effective component of the attitudes.
From the organization point of view, a Manager can take following actions in brining change in attitudes of its organizational members. • Group action • Persuasion through leadership • Persuasion through communication and • Influence of total situation. These actions involve the analysis of different variables affecting a particular action. Values and Attitudes: Some researchers see values as consisting of large sets of related attitudes. For example, “Fishbein” and “Ajzen” have included two components in attitudes-informational, emotional.
Thus, they have taken values as a part of attitudes. However, some differences exist between values and attitudes. Attitudes are specific and related to distinct objects; people, or ideas. Values are more general than attitudes, values often contain statement of goodness or badness associated with the attitudes which people hold. Values are, then, beliefs about which attitudes we should have or how we should behave. Types of Attitudes: A person can have thousands of attitudes, but Organizational Behaviour focuses our attention on a very limited number of work-related attitudes.
These work-related attitudes tap positive or negative evaluations that employees hold about aspects of their work environment. Most of the research in OB has been concerned with three attitudes: job satisfaction, job involvement, and organizational commitment. Job Satisfaction: The term job satisfaction to an individual’s general attitude towards his or her job. A person with a high level of job satisfaction holds positive attitudes about their job, while a person who is dissatisfied with his or her job holds negative attitudes about the job. When people speak of employee attitudes, more often mean job satisfaction. Job Involvement:
The term job involvement is a more recent addition to the OB literature while there isn’t complete agreement over what the tem means. A workable definition states that job involvement measures the degree to which a person identifies him with his or her job and considers his or her perceived performance level important to self worth. Employees with a high level of job involvement strongly identify with and really care about the kind of work they do. Organizational Commitment: The third job attitude is organizational commitment, which is defined as a state in which an employee identifies with a particular organization and its oals, and wishes to maintain membership in the organization. So, high job involvement means identifying with one’s specific job, while high organizational commitment means identifying with one’s employing organization. Moderating Variables: The most powerful moderates have been found to be the importance of the attitude; specially, its accessibility, whether there exist social pressures, and whether a person has direct experience with the attitude. Important attitudes are one’s that reflect fundamental values, self-interest, or identification with individuals or groups that a person values.
Attitude that individuals consider important tend to show a strong relationship to behaviour. Attitude Survey: The preceding review indicates that knowledge of employee attitudes can be helpful to managers in attempting to predict employee behaviour. But, how does management get information about employee attitudes. The most popular methods are through the use of attitude surveys. Attitude and Workforce Diversity: Managers are increasingly concerned with changing employee attitude to reflect shifting perspectives on racial, gender, and other diversity issues.
A comment to a co-worker of the opposite sex, which 20 years ago might have been taken as a complaint, can today become a career-limiting episode. The majority of large U. S. employees and a substantial proportion of medium sized and smaller ones sponsor some sort of diversity training. Some examples are, Police Officers in Escondido, California, receive 36 hours of diversity training for their 12,000 employees. The Federal Aviations Administration sponsors a mandatory 8 hours diversity seminar for employees of its western pacific region.
Job Satisfaction: Job satisfaction is one of the important factors which have drawn attention of managers in the organization as well as academicians Various studies have been conducted to find out the factors which determine job satisfaction and the way it influences productivity in the organization. Though, there is no conclusive evidence that job satisfaction affects productivity directly because productivity depends on so many variables, it is still a prime concern for managers. Job satisfaction is the mental feeling of favorableness which an individual has about his job. Dubrins” has defined job satisfaction in terms of pleasure and contentment when he says that. Determinants of Job Satisfaction: While analyzing various determinants ofjob satisfaction, we have to keep in mind that all individuals do not receive the same degree of satisfaction though they perform the same job in the same job environment and at the same time. Therefore, it appears that besides the nature of job and job environment, there are individual variables which affect job satisfaction. Thus all those factors which provide a fit among individual variables, nature of job and situational variables determine the degree of job satisfaction.
Let us see what these factors are, Individual Factors: Individuals have certain expectation from their jobs. If there expectations are met from the jobs, they feel satisfied. These expectations are based on an individual’s level of education, age, and other factors. 1. Level of Education: Level of education of an individual is a factor which determines the degree of job satisfaction. For example, several studies have found the negative correlation between the level of education, particularly higher level of education and job satisfaction.
2. Age: Individuals experience different degrees of job satisfaction at different stages of their life. Job satisfaction is high at the initial stage, get gradually reduced, starts rising up to certain stage and finally dips to a low degree. 3. Other factors: Besides the above two factors, there are other individual factors which affect job satisfaction. If an individual does not have favorable social and family life, he may not feel happy at the work place. Similarly, other personal problems associated with him may affect his level of job satisfaction.