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

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Perception is a cognitive process that enables us to interpret and understand our surroundings. Recognition of objects is one of this process’s major functions. But because organizational behavior’s (OB’s) principal focus is on people, our discussion will emphasize person perception rather than object percepti on. Perception is important to OB because behavior is based on our perception of reality, not on reality itself. Perception is influenced by three key components: the characteristics of the perceiver , of the Page 126 target— the person or group being observed— and of the situation (see Figure 4.2 ). - e.mheducation.com/smartbook2/data/151557/highlighted_epubmhe/OPS/im g/chapter04/kin32649_0402.png Implicit cognition represents any thoughts or beliefs that are automatically activated from memory without our conscious awareness. The existence of implicit cognition leads people to make biased decisions without realizing they are doing so. Performance Appraisal Faulty perceptions about performance can lead to inaccurate performance appraisals, which erode morale. Consider the results of a recent study of commanding officers in the US military. The research looked at 193 commanding officers who were assigned legal advisers. The advisers were all professionals with a law degree, and the commanding officers were responsible for conducting their performance evaluations. On average, female advisers received lower performance ratings than males as their pay grade approached that of the boss. Male advisers did not have this experience. 21 The only good news from the study is that this form of bias occurred only when evaluators had high social dominance orientation, a personal characteristic in which someone prefers to dominate other groups of people, in this case women. 22 Perceptual biases in performance appraisals can be reduced by the use of more objective measures of performance. While this is a good idea, it is hard to implement for jobs that require interdependent work, mental work, or work that does not produce objective outcomes. Companies can also reduce bias by providing managers a mechanism for accurately recalling employee behavior, such as a performance diary. Finally, it would be useful to train managers about perceptual biases and about how they can avoid them in performance evaluations. 23 Page 130 Leadership Research demonstrates that employees’ evaluations of leader effectiveness are influenced strongly by their categorical knowledge of what constitutes good and poor leaders. For example, a team of researchers found that the following behaviors are representative 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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