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Individual Perception

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Attitudes can have a significant effect on the behavior of a person at work. In the world of work we are concerned with attitudes toward supervision, pay, benefits, promotion or anything that might trigger positive or negative reactions. Employee satisfaction and attitudes represent one of the key areas of measuring organizational effectiveness. Worker attitudes are tendencies to react in a favorable or unfavorable way toward objects, people, or events, generated by mind-set toward supervision, pay, benefits, promotion, or anything that might trigger positive or negative reactions. As a result, employee satisfaction and attitudes represent one of the key areas for measuring organizational effectiveness, workplace environment, job satisfaction. Attitudes reflect a person’s likes and dislikes toward other persons, objects, events, and activities in their environment. It makes sense to study and know about attitudes because strong attitudes will very likely affect a person’s behavior.

Because of the importance of the links of task, contextual, and ethical performance with important measures of organizational effectiveness, one of the key goals of managers should be to create linkages between employee performance and their satisfaction. However, it is not always easy to change a person’s attitudes about their work. The reason is that attitudes toward work may be only one important aspect of the person’s structure of attitudes. They might be linked strongly to other important ones, making them deeply embedded, and thereby limiting how much managers can succeed in altering the way employees feel and act. However, particular attitudes and satisfactions at work can and do change, sometimes quickly, as events change. Employees who are happy and productive one day can become dissatisfied and resentful overnight as a consequence of some kind of managerial action. Many organizations pay close attention to attitudes by conducting periodic attitude surveys of employees, and seeking feedback in other ways.

The hope is that by assessing employee attitudes it will provide important information about the effectiveness of different management strategies. There are a number of things that we can do to make better judgments about attitudes of others in evaluating their suitability for almost everything that goes on in organizations. For example, I have been trained to ask prospective employees, “How do you feel about working here?” or “How satisfied were you with the type of work that you did in your previous job?” Attitudes are also important when evaluating someone for promotion. I’ve seen evaluations that comment, “He doesn’t have a good attitude toward affirmative action” or, “He just doesn’t believe enough in quality to do the job right.” This has taught me to be very careful and cautious, about judging attitudes of others as well as my own, I might add. My employer has conducted seminar that teach the management team to focus on specific, rather than general attitudes.

Saying that an employee has a good or a bad attitude, it is better to try to focus on employee attitudes in terms of their more specific objects, such as attitudes toward pay, toward supervision, and so on. This helps decide what to change in the organization, such as modifying the pay system or training supervisors. There is often very little that you can do about these general attitudes, since they may reflect the positive or negative affectivity of the person. It is best not to dismiss or underestimate the depth of feeling and the behavior associated with attitudes, values, and beliefs. Attitudes are very important to the psychological well-being of people and some are strongly held, especially those linked to the person’s self-image. More importantly, they may be related to attitudes, values, and beliefs that are not directly related to work itself. Negative attitudes toward the job or the organization may lead an employee to want to avoid work or quit, and they may do so because job satisfaction is negatively related to turnover and to commitment. However, it is best never assume that a satisfied employee is always a productive employee or that a productive employee is satisfied.

There is a weak relationship between attitudes and task performance, though it is statistically significant. Periodically corporations should assess employee attitudes and satisfaction with employee surveys. It is also useful to involve the employees in the design, collection, and interpretation of the study. However, be fully committed to act on the findings and report the actions taken to correct the negative evaluations or surveys. Companies can be more successful if the management staff learn to accept people’s tendency to justify, rationalize and explain their beliefs, reduce cognitive dissonance, and appear consistent to themselves and others and strive to ensure that they understand as clearly as possible what is expected in terms of work performance. In summary, attitudes refer to what people like and dislike; they predispose them to act favorably or unfavorably toward an object or event. They function in several ways to help people to adapt to their world. Attitudes are related to beliefs and values, all of which are acquired from infancy through our experiences and associations with people, events, and the media.

Specific attitudes can be learned at any time and applied to any experience. Employee attitudes about various aspects of their job are often studied by employers, because it is known that attitudes affect attendance, retention, work commitments, and interpersonal relationships. They affect satisfaction, performance, and constructive voluntary contributions to organizational success, and can make a huge difference in the effectiveness of an organization. There are a number of different factors that contribute to our attitudes about our work life. Child-rearing practices that affect the individual’s personality and self-concept can be important early influences. Work socialization is how individuals must learn about the characteristics and culture of their chosen occupational field.

Organizational socialization is the process of learning about the norms of our work organization. These may be directly taught by others, may be learned through the process of observing others, or may be learned through the process of conditioning, by behaving in certain ways and having such behaviors responded to in different ways by others.  If we don’t adjust well to our job or the organization in which we work, it can negatively affect an individual’s performance, morale, and health as well as those of others associated with them, both at work as well as family members and friends.


“The Role of Work and Cultural Values in Occupational Choice, Satisfaction, and Success: A Theoretical Statement,” Journal of Counseling & Development, Winter 2002 (Vol. 80, Issue 1), pp. 48-56, by Duane Brown “Decision Making: A Comparison of Group and Individual Decision-Making Differences,” Journal of School Leadership, September 1996 (Vol. 6, Number 5), pp. 555-72, by Raymond L. Calabrese, et al “The Experience of Work and Turnover Intentions: Interactive Effects of Value Attainment, Job Satisfaction and Positive Mood,” Journal of Applied Psychology,1996, 81(3): 318-26, by George, J. M. and G. R. Jones “Relationship of Career Mentoring and Socioeconomic Origin to Managers’ and Professionals’ Early Career Progress,” Academy of Management Journal, 1991, 34(2): 331-50, by Whitely, W., T. W. Daughterty, and G.F. Dreher “Organizational Behavior and Public Management Public Administration and Public Policy,” Marcel Dekker, Inc., 1998, by Michael Lee Vasu, Debra W. Stewart, and David G. Garson

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