2 Perception And Attribution

2 Perception And Attribution - 23638_03_c03_p068-093.qxd...

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THE PERCEPTUAL PROCESS Perception is the process by which people select, organize, interpret, and respond to informa- tion from the world around them . This information is gathered from the five senses—sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. It represents the psychological process whereby people take information from the environment and make sense of their worlds. 2 The key words in the definition of perception are select and organize. Different people often perceive a situation differently, both in terms of what they selectively perceive and how they organize and interpret the things perceived. Figure 3.1 sum- marizes the basic elements in the perceptual process from initial observation to final response. Everyone selectively pays attention to some aspects of the environment and selectively ignores other aspects. For example, when a shopper pulls into the parking lot at QuikTrip, what objects in their environment are they paying attention to and what do they ignore? What do they observe? A well-lighted convenience store, clean areas to pump gas, fully stocked paper towel dispensers with squeegees to wipe and clean windshields, etc., are objects people notice when they pull into this con- venience store. A person’s selection process involves both external and internal fac- tors. In other words, a complex set of factors, some internal to the person and some in the external environment, combine to determine what the person perceives. We discuss this important process in more detail shortly. The individual then organizes the stimuli selected into meaningful patterns. How people interpret what they perceive also varies considerably. The Experiential Exercise at the end of this chapter entitled The Perception Process permits you to test your current level of perceptual skills. For example, a wave of the hand may be interpreted as a friendly gesture or as a threat, depending on the circumstances and the state of mind of those involved. Certainly, in organizations managers and employees need to recognize that perceptions of events and behaviors may vary among individuals and be inaccurate. As suggested in Figure 3.1, people’s interpretations of their environments affect their responses. Everyone selects and organizes things differently, which is one rea- son why people behave differently in the same situation. In other words, people often perceive the same things in different ways, and their behaviors depend, in part, on their perceptions. The way in which individuals select, organize, and interpret their perceptions to make sense of their environments isn’t something that managers should ignore. The following Across Cultures Competency feature explores how Frito-Lay is selling its chips in China. The United States is the world’s largest snack market with $6 billion in annual sales, but there’s little growth. China’s snack market is $200 million, but growing by 10 percent. After reading this feature, you should realize that what is being communicated by Frito-Lay may be subtle and based on perceptions. 3 1.
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This note was uploaded on 11/30/2010 for the course MGMT 5032 taught by Professor Johnson during the Fall '10 term at UH Clear Lake.

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2 Perception And Attribution - 23638_03_c03_p068-093.qxd...

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