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MGT312T Chapter 4 Social Perception and Diversity.docx -...

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Perceptionis a cognitive process that enables us to interpret andunderstand our surroundings.Recognition of objects is one of thisprocess’s major functions. But because organizational behavior’s (OB’s)principal focus is on people, our discussion will emphasizepersonperceptionrather than object perception.Perception is important to OB because behavior is based on our perception ofreality, not on reality itself.Perception is influenced by three key components: the characteristics oftheperceiver, of thePage 126target—the person or group being observed—and of thesituation(seeFigure 4.2).-e.mheducation.com/smartbook2/data/151557/highlighted_epubmhe/OPS/img/chapter04/kin32649_0402.pngImplicit cognitionrepresentsany thoughts or beliefs that areautomaticallyactivated from memory without our consciousawareness.The existence of implicit cognition leads people to make biaseddecisions without realizing they are doing so.Performance AppraisalFaulty perceptions about performance can lead to inaccurate performanceappraisals, which erode morale. Consider the results of a recent study ofcommanding officers in the US military.The research looked at 193 commanding officers who were assigned legaladvisers. The advisers were all professionals with a law degree, and thecommanding officers were responsible for conducting their performanceevaluations. On average, female advisers received lower performanceratings than males as their pay grade approached that of the boss. Maleadvisers did not have this experience.21The only good news from thestudy is that this form of bias occurred only when evaluators hadhigh social dominance orientation, a personal characteristic in whichsomeone prefers to dominate other groups of people, in this casewomen.22Perceptual biases in performance appraisals can be reduced by the use of more objectivemeasures of performance. While this is a good idea, it is hard to implement for jobs that requireinterdependent work, mental work, or work that does not produce objective outcomes.Companies can also reduce bias by providing managers a mechanism for accurately recallingemployee behavior, such as a performance diary. Finally, it would be useful to train managersabout perceptual biases and about how they can avoid them in performance evaluations.23Page 130LeadershipResearch demonstrates that employees’ evaluations of leader effectiveness areinfluenced strongly by their categorical knowledge of what constitutes good and poorleaders. For example, a team of researchers found that the following behaviors arerepresentative of effective leadership:1.
Assigning specific tasks to group members.2.Telling others they have done well.3.Setting specific goals for the group.

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