What is Attribution Theory
Attribution is a process by which people interpret the causes of their own and others behavior. It is concerned with an individual’s interpretation of events and its relation to their thinking and behavior. There is internal and external attribution affected by internal and external determinants. Internal determinants are ability, attitudes, mood etc. External determinants are task, people, situation etc. Internally caused behavior is under personal control of an individual whereas externally caused behavior is believed to be driven by situational factors that forces individuals to show certain behavior. The cause of various behaviors of every person is different. For understanding individual’s behavior it is necessary to observe them wisely. Therefore, Attribution Theory was designed to account for how people explain others’ behavior.
Determinants of Attribution Theory
What are the three determinants of attribution theory?
- Distinctiveness: It means whether individuals have different behavior in different situations. It is the extent to which a person behaves in the same way in similar situations
- Consensus: It refers to whether everyone facing a similar situation responds in the same way. It extends to how everyone behaves in the same way in similar situations
- Consistency: It shows whether a person shows the same behavior over time. i.e it is the extent to which a person shows similar behavior every time the situation occurs.
Attribution error is basically concerned with making mistakes while understanding the situation and showing certain behavior. Since individuals are not perfect, they show different behavior in the same situation. It results in perceptual difference among individuals.
Types of Attribution Error
There are three types of attribution error described below.
1. Fundamental Attribution Error
2. Self Serving Bias
3. Other Perceptual Errors
a. Selective Perception
b. Halo Effect
c. Contrast Effect
f. Primary and Regency Effect
1) Fundamental Attribution Error
Fundamental Attribution Error Definition
The Fundamental Attribution Error concerns the judgment made focusing internal factors rather than external factors. Here, people underestimate the influence of external factors and overestimate the influence of internal factors while judging others. It is popular among individualistic culture.
Fundamental attribution error example
For example, managers blame the efficiency of employees on less production, though deficiency on production is due to decreased manufacturing plants. It shows weakness in individual decision making. It may provide a negative impact on long-term functioning of the organization.
2) Self Servicing Bias
It focuses or gives importance on internal factors for success and blame on external factors for failure. It gives credit to internal factors like ability, dedication, honesty, hard working etc for success. If individuals become failure, he blames external threats like bad luck, change in technology, competitors etc.
3) Other Personal Errors
There are many shortcuts for subject error while judging others. do it is useful to make perception rapidly and provide authentic information to predict behavior search shortcut technique create problem and difficulty as they lack analysis. Some errors due to attribution distortion are given below.
a) Selective Perception
It selects only some of the stimuli to judge others. In reality it is not possible due to lack of knowledge and interest. People may analyze and response only on basis of their interest, attitude, experience, and expectation.
b) Halo Effect
It draws general impressions on the basis of only one single characteristic. The person perceives on basis of single traits like intelligence,, punctuality appearance, cooperativeness etc
c) Contrast Effect
It is the process of evaluating or comparing other people on the basis of other people who are recently encountered. Here, person efficiency is evaluated by comparing efficiency and traits of recently faced candidates by evaluators. It is used generally in taking interviews with new applicants.
Stereotyping is judging someone or the whole community on the basis of one’s own perception of a single person. Sometimes it may help in easy adoption and helps to make quick decisions in complex situations with consistency. but then danger lies in incorrect stereotyping. It provides a negative impact and the judgment may get wrong.
Projection is the tendency to see one’s own traits on others or one’s own personal traits are assigned to others. Individuals project their own feeling, personality, characteristics, attitude or motives on others.
f) Primary and Regency Effect
Primary effect is concerned with the first impression of the perceiver. It considers approaches of first impression as the last impression. A person with some specific quality and efficiency can provide immediate impression on the perceiver.
Attribution Theory Quiz
According to attribution theory, attributions vary along which of the following dimensions?
A. Internal/external causes
B. Known/unknown causes
C. Regular/irregular causes
D. Consistent/inconsistent causes
Which statement is the best explanation of the fundamental attribution error
a. We attribute most of what people do to the influence of situations.
b. We rely on the first information we receive to make internal attributions.
c. We are more likely to attribute another’s behavior to internal rather than to situational causes.
d. We tend to attribute our successes to our own efforts and failures to the shortcomings of others.
e. We are more likely to attribute another’s behavior to external rather than to dispositional causes.
In attribution theory what is distinctiveness
A) whether an individual displays consistent behaviors in different situations
B) whether an individual displays different behaviors in different situations
C) whether an individual displays consistent behaviors in similar situations
D) whether an individual displays different behaviors in similar situations
E) whether an individual displays different behavior from other people
An attribution refers to the behaviour of
a) a conclusion made about someone’s disposition
b) attributing someone’s behaviour to situational factors
c) attributing a cause to an event
d) attributing someone’s behaviour to their disposition
The tendency to attribute the actions of a person we are observing to their disposition, rather than to situational variables, is termed
a) attribution bias
b) dispositional attribution error
c) fundamental attribution error
d) dispositional bias
The phrase ‘ultimate attribution error’ refers to
a) attributing positive behaviour of people in a liked group to their inherent goodness
b) subconsciously attributing positive characteristics to a member of a disliked group
c) the last social misjudgement a person will ever make
d) maintaining prejudice and finding ways to explain away positive behaviour by a member of a disliked group
The fundamental attribution error refers to
a) the tendency to attribute the actions of others we are observing to their disposition
b) the tendency to attribute our successes to our internal dispositions and our failures to external situational factors
c) the tendency to explain others’ behaviour in terms of dispositional factors and our own behaviour in terms of situational factors
d) the tendency to attribute the actions of others to situational factors
Fundamental attribution errors were initially identified by
a)Ross (1977) and Jones (1979)
b) Jones and Harris (1967)
c) Jones and Davis (1965)
d) Harris (1977) and Jones (1979)
The group attribution error refers to
a) the tendency to assign an individual to a particular group based on their behaviour
b) the tendency to make general inferences about a group from a single group member, or to assume that group behaviour reflects individual attitudes
c) the tendency to attribute negative behaviour by an individual to the perceived characteristics of a group to which the individual belongs
d) the tendency to assume that an individual only identifies with a single group rather than a set of overlapping or unrelated groups
Which approach is adopted by attribution theories?
a) Cognitive behavioral perspective
b) Anthropological perspective
c) Constructivist perspective
d) Social cognitive perspective
e) Social constructionist perspective
f) Behavioral perspective
Attribution theories posit that there is constant bidirectional interaction between which two factors?
a) Between anatomy and physiology
b) Between construction and interpretation
c) Between cognition and the environment
d) Between behavior and the environment
e) Between groups and individuals
f) Between physiology and cognition
Attribution theory concerns our tendency to explain our behavior and that of others
A. By external causes rather than internal causes
B. By inferring causes on the basis of internal or external factors
C. By internal rather than external causes
D. Based on personality factors.
Answer» B. By inferring causes on the basis of internal or external factors
Mr. Bilal is late for work each day by about ten minutes. How would attribution theory describe thisbehaviour?
A. it shows consensus.
B. it shows similarity.
C. it shows reliability.
D. it shows consistency
Answer» D. it shows consistency
People Also Ask
What are the applications of attribution theory?
Attribution theory is a social psychological theory that suggests that people attribute events to internal or external causes. This theory has applications in many areas, including education, health, and business. For example, attribution theory can be used to understand why people perform better or worse than expected. If students do poorly on a test, they may attribute it to lack of effort rather than ability. This attributional style can impact future performance as well as motivation and self-esteem.
In the business world, managers often use attribution theory to understand why employees are successful or unsuccessful. For example, if an employee makes a mistake, the manager may attribute it to a lack of effort rather than a lack of ability. This can lead to different treatment of employees and may impact motivation and job satisfaction. Attribution theory can also be applied to health behaviors.
What is attribution theory in organizational behavior?
In organizational behavior, attribution theory is the idea that people make judgments about others based on their own perceptions. This can lead to a number of biases, such as the self-serving bias, where people tend to attribute their successes to personal factors and their failures to external factors. Attribution theory can also explain why people often have difficulty understanding others’ behavior; they are attributing it to the wrong causes.
Who proposed attribution theory?
The theory of attribution was first proposed by psychologist Fritz Heider in his 1958 book The Psychology of Interpersonal Relations. Heider believed that people are constantly trying to make sense of their social world by attributing causes to events.
Heider proposed that there are three main types of attributions: internal, external, and stable. Internal attributions occur when people believe that an event is caused by something within themselves, such as their abilities or personality. External attributions occur when people believe that an event is caused by something outside of themselves, such as luck or the actions of other people. Stable attributions occur when people believe that an event is caused by something that will not change over time, such as someone’s intelligence or a physical attribute.
What are the two types of attribution?
There are two types of attribution: internal and external. Internal attribution is when we attribute events to causes within ourselves. For example, if we do well on a test, we might attribute it to our intelligence or hard work. External attribution is when we attribute events to causes outside of ourselves. For example, if we get a good grade on a test, we might attribute it to the easy difficulty of the test or luck.
What are the consequences of attribution theory?
Attribution theory is the study of how people interpret events and how these interpretations affect their emotions and behaviors. The theory has been used to explain a wide variety of phenomena, including why people blame others for their own problems and why some people react more negatively to criticism than others.
Attribution theory has also been used to understand why some people are more likely to engage in criminal behavior. For example, research has shown that people who attribute their successes to luck and their failures to personal flaws are more likely to engage in criminal behavior. Attribution theory can also help explain why some people are more likely to become addicted to drugs or alcohol. While attribution theory can help explain a wide variety of human behavior, it is important to remember that people are complex and often do not act in ways that can be easily explained by any one theory.
What are the common attribution errors?
There are many common attribution errors that people make. The first is the fundamental attribution error. This is when people attribute other people’s behavior to their personality or character, rather than to the situation they are in. For example, if someone cuts you off in traffic, you might think they are a bad person, rather than considering that they might be in a hurry or have an emergency.
Another common attribution error is the self-serving bias. This is when people tend to attribute their own successes to their personal qualities or abilities, but attribute their failures to external factors beyond their control. For example, if you do well on a test, you might think it’s because you’re smart. But if you do poorly on a test, you might blame the teacher for not teaching well enough, or the test for being too hard.
Some of the Other attribution errors include:
a. Selective Perception
b. Halo Effect
c. Contrast Effect
f. Primary and Regency Effect
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