Perceptual Errors – Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour | Management Notes

Perceptual Errors
Perception |Fundamentals of Organizational Behaviour
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Management Notes

Perception is the process of attaining awareness or understanding of sensory information. It is a process by which individuals organize and interpret their sensory impressions to give meaning to their environment.People generally use a number of shortcuts when they judge others. They are also called perceptual errors or barriers to perceptual accuracy which are as follows:

1.Selective perception:
Since,we can not observe everything going on about us,we engage in selective perception.People selectively interpret what they see on the basis of their interests, background experiences and attitudes.It is the tendency not to notice and more quickly forget stimuli that cause emotional discomfort and contradict our prior beliefs. For example, a teacher may have a favorite student because they are biased by in-group favoritism. The teacher ignores the student’s poor attainment.

2.Halo effect:
It refers to the tendency of judging the person entirely on the basis of a single trait which may be favourable or unfavourable. Here, a single trait dominates other characteristics of the individual. It helps to judge others quickly.Among other errors of perception, halo error has the most profound/deep impact and implication on an individual’s perception and behaviour. They are not always inaccurate, although, they probably are more often wrong than right.

3.Stereotyping (Generalizing/Grouping):
In order to simplify matters,we often tend to classify people and events into already known general categories or groups. We put people into a convenient category on the basis of some characteristics (usually ethnic occupational, sexual etc.) is known as stereotyping.It helps to simplify the complexity.It avoids individual differences and gives wrong judgment.
For e.g : Indians are quick tempered, Fat men are Jolly/happy,Americans are ambitious,Chinese are mysterious and Japanese are industrious etc.The above examples are not always true. They are true in general not in particular.


4.Contrast effect:
It is another perceptual error which is very common in our work place.We don’t evaluate a person in isolation.Contrast effect or error occurs when we evaluate a person’s characteristics that are affected by comparisons with other people recently encountered who rank higher or lower on the same This type of error is very commonly found when managers go through employment interview, performance appraisal etc.

5.Projection:
This is also a very common type of perceptual error. Projection refers to the tendency of the people to see their own traits in other people. It means that, when people make judgements about others, they project their own characteristics into others. As the saying goes, ‘to an honest man, every body is honest’ and vice versa.


6.Impression:
There is a popular saying that ‘the first impression is the last impression’. We frequently form impression of others on the first sight. Even before knowing any of their personality traits, they start having impressions and perceive thereby. This sometimes leads to perceptual distortion.
Examples are:

  • First bench students disciplined and intelligent
  • Last bench students undisciplined and weak


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