Rick Marriner
Monday MBA 670
Double Journal Entries 4

Work Presented: Stephen P. Robbins, 1998, Organizational Behavior - Chapter 3 "Perception and Individual decision making." pp. 88-129 , New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

Objective Points

Subjective Points

Summary: This chapter describes perception and why it is important. In this extensive description the author presents the factors influencing perception, short cuts to judging others and the link between perception and decision making. Understanding how a person perceives a situation is a key to knowing how they will behave. This chapter sends an accurate message in that there are as many different points of view as there are people. That we as a company may spend millions of dollars trying to make the employeeís work place enjoyable and productive, while he or she may still perceive the organization as big brother and still have low job satisfaction is alarming. However by knowing what a crucial role perception plays in behavior we can develop our plans and actions with an intended perception and have somewhat better results.
Point 1: One particular method of making judgments about others is the attribution method or theory. This theory is proposed to develop explanations of the ways in which we judge people differently depending on what source we attribute to that behavior. Specifically, whether that behavior is internally driven or externally driven. The two dangers we face are the fundamental attribution error and the self serving bias. Specifically the former proposes that people have the tendency to overestimate internal causes and underestimate external causes. The self-serving bias is just the opposite when we attribute behaviors in ourselves. I have personally experienced the two tendencies described. The fundamental attribution error has made me jump to conclusions about an employee who was beginning to fall of their high productivity run that had been going for so long. I immediately attributed his actions to his personal laziness and was on the verge of bringing him in to discuss how we could rectify the problem. In a social setting it finally came out that he was going through a particular traumatic death in the family and that all of his energies went to that. Had I not had this information I could have worsened the situation. The self serving bias is one of the only things that separate us from animals. That is, our ability to rationalize all of our faults to external factors and to take personal credit for all of our success. In cases like this, at best, we are simply fooling ourselves, at worse, we run the risk of being perceived by others as unrealistic and even conceited. A solution to this is to start to perceive ourselves as we perceive others. The two tendencies would then cancel out and we would be attributing accurately.
Point 2: There are a number of shortcuts we use in judging others. Specifically Selective perception, halo effect, contrast effects, projection and stereotyping. Each of these can be good or bad based on how they are used. I am guilty of using the halo effect. That is setting a perception for an entire person based on one characteristic. This has usually turned out to be false, for instance perceiving a person is smarter than the average person, because he uses a large vocabulary. Or worse yet perceiving a person is poor because of the way they dress. In the first case the guy turned out to be a fake and had no real depth. And in the second it turned out the guy was a multi-millionaire. The halo effect is a shortcut, and true understanding of a perception should try to take into effect all of their complex facets.
Point 3: The rational model contains six steps for decision making. Defining a problem, Identifying decision criteria, Weighting the criteria, Developing alternatives, Evaluating alternatives and finally Selecting the best alternative. The MT version of this model is very precise. I have used it in a number of analysisís that I have done for business decisions at work. The last one I used it for was deciding on what external auditor agency we would use to audit our ships to the ISO 9002 criterion. Once we had laid out the criterion, alternatives and evaluated the choices, the decision was as simple as choosing the alternative with the maximum score.
Question: To what extent do people use intuition in their decision making? To survey this question across management would present, I believe, a shift to more and more intuitive decisions being made.

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