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Introduction to Organizational Behavior


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Chapter 7 : Personality and Attitudes

Meaning of Personality

Personality Determinants

Heredity
Environment
Situation

Other Personality Attributes that Influence Organizational Behavior

Locus of Control
Machiavellianism
Self-Esteem
Self-Monitoring
Risk Taking
Type A Personality

The Development of Personality and Socialization

Levinson's Theory of Adult Life Stages
Hall's Career Stage Model
Argyris' Immaturity to Maturity Theory
The Socialization Process

Matching Personalities with Jobs

Concept of Attitudes

Sources of Attitudes
Types of Attitudes
Functions of Attitudes

Attitudes and
Consistency

Cognitive Dissonance Theory

Chapter Summary

The study of personality and attitudes gives insights into the behavior of people. Personality refers to the way in which a person views and understands himself, and the way in which he interacts with people and reacts to situations. Self-concept (in personality theory) refers to the attempts made by people to understand themselves. Self-esteem is the self-perceived competence and self-image of people. People with high self-esteem do well in managerial positions. Self-efficacy refers to the self-perceptions of a person regarding his ability to cope with situations as they arise. Individuals with high self-efficacy can quickly cope with the demands of tough jobs (such as sales jobs).

An individual's personality is influenced by factors like heredity, external environment, and person-situation interaction. Some of the personality attributes that have an impact on an individual's behavior are the locus of control, machiavellianism, self-esteem, self-monitoring, propensity to risk-taking, and Type A personality. The locus of control refers to the degree to which people believe that they can determine their own fate. People high on the locus of control (called internals) tend to move up the career ladder quickly.

Machiavellianism (Mach) refers the degree to which an individual is pragmatic, maintains emotional distance, and believes that the ends justify the means. High-Mach people are most productive in jobs which impose minimum restrictions on the employee, involve persuading others, and offer high rewards. Self-monitoring refers to the ability of an individual to adjust his behavior to external situational factors. High self-monitors are capable of changing their behavior and expressions according to the situation. They progress faster in their careers than low self-monitors.

Individuals vary in their willingness to take chances or risks. High risk-taking people perform well in jobs such as stock brokers and currency traders. Individuals who have a Type A personality are continuously involved in the struggle to achieve more in less time in the face of opposition from other people. But because of their emphasis on quantity than quality and their poor decision-making skills, they often do not make good managers. Type B people lay more emphasis on quality of outcome rather than quantity and have good analytical skills. They therefore make good managers.

Many personality theorists have tried to explain the development of human personality. According to Daniel Levinson, an individual's life can be divided into adult, mid-life and late adult stages. The personality of an individual, Levinson argues, develops to some extent at each stage of his lifecycle. Another theorist, Hall, suggested that the personality development of an employee takes place in four stages: exploration, establishment, maintenance and decline.

Chris Argyris (Immaturity-Maturity model) proposed that human personality moves along a continuum from immaturity (infancy) to maturity (adulthood). John Harrold proposed the personality-job fit theory in which he established a relationship among personality characteristics, the requirements of a job, and job performance.

Attitudes are evaluative statements (favorable or unfavorable) about objects, people or events. Attitudes are acquired from parents, teachers and members of the peer group, apart from the predispositions acquired at birth. The three job-related attitudes are job satisfaction, job involvement, and organizational commitment. According to Edwin A. Locke, job satisfaction is the pleasurable or positive emotional state that results when an individual evaluates his job or job experience. Job involvement refers to the degree to which a person psychologically identifies with his job, actively participates in it, and considers that his performance in the job contributes to his self-worth.

Organizational commitment refers to the extent to which an individual identifies with a particular organization, and its goals and wishes to remain a member of that organization. Organizations can reduce turnover by taking steps to enhance the job satisfaction of their employees and increase their job involvement and organizational commitment.

Attitudes enable people to adapt to their work environment. They are also used by people to defend their ego, express their values, and to interpret events. The cognitive dissonance theory refers to the incompatibility that an individual may perceive between two or more of his attitudes, or between his behavior and attitudes. The efforts made by an individual to reduce dissonance depend on the significance of the elements that give rise to the dissonance, the extent to which they can be controlled, and the rewards that the individual is likely to lose by not overcoming the dissonance.

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