Cognitive dissonance is any incompatibility between two or more attitudes or between behavior and attitudes. Cognitive dissonance is a psychological phenomenon which refers to the discomfort felt at a discrepancy between what you already know or believe, and new information or interpretation. It therefore occurs when there is a need to accommodate new ideas, and it may be necessary for it to develop so that we become "open" to them. Cognitive dissonance was first investigated by Leon Festinger and associates, arising out of a participant observation study of a cult which believed that the earth was going to be destroyed by a flood, and what happened to its members — particularly the really committed ones who had given up their homes and jobs to work for the cult — when the flood did not happen. While fringe members were more inclined to recognise that they had made fools of themselves and to "put it down to experience", committed members were more likely to re-interpret the evidence to show that they were right all along (the earth was not destroyed because of the faithfulness of the cult members). The view that attitudes are used after the fact to make sense out of an action that has already occurred is referred to as the self-perception theory. When asked about an attitude toward some object, individuals recall their behavior relevant to that object and then infer their attitude from their past behavior. For example, if an employee was asked about her feelings about being a payroll clerk at Exxon, she might likely think, “I’ve had this same job at Exxon for ten years, so I must like it!” Self-perception theory, therefore, argues that attitudes are used, after the fact, to make sense out of an action that has already occurred rather than as devices that precede and guide action. A popular method for management to get information about employee attitudes is through the use of attitude surveys . Attitude surveys elicit responses from employees through questionnaires about how they feel about their jobs, work groups, supervisors, and/or the organization. Typically, attitude surveys present the employee with a set of statements or questions. The items are tailored to obtain the specific information that management desires. An attitude score is achieved by summing up responses to individual questionnaire items Work that is mentally challenging is a work-related variable that determines job satisfaction. Employees tend to prefer jobs that give them opportunities to use their skills and abilities and offer a variety of tasks, freedom, and feedback on how well they are doing. Jobs that have too little challenge create boredom, but too much challenge creates frustration and feelings of failure. Under conditions of moderate challenge, most employees will experience pleasure and satisfaction.
Employees are concerned with their work environment for both personal comfort and in facilitating their doing a good job.
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