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The Roles of Perception in the Decision-Making Process

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    Organizations rely heavily on the choices made for their success. The right choices can bring triumph and negative choices can cause failure. Perception plays a very important role in the choices individuals make. People make decisions every day, every hour and every minute based on the perceptions they interpret. Perception can cause several people to make wrong choices based on false information. In an organization incorrect decisions can cause a great deal of negative effects.

    This paper will demonstrate how important it is to understand perception, how a person’s perception of other impact an organization’s behavior, effects of using perceptive shortcuts when judging others, how decisions in the real world organizations are made, and how perceptions shape one’s ethical or oral decisions. According to University of Phoenix, Axia College, 2005, p. 134, perception is a process by which individuals organize and interpret their sensory impressions in order to give meaning to their environment. However, what one perceives can be substantially different from objective reality.

    There need not be, but there is often disagreement. For example, it’s possible that all employees in a firm may view it as a wonderful place to work such as; favorable working conditions, interesting job assignments, good pay, excellent benefits, an understanding and responsible management, but as most of us know, it’s very unusual to find such agreement. The human brain is flooded with enormous amounts of information, which is collected by our senses, only some of the information is processed instinctively without deep thoughts. People differ along two dimensions.

    The first is their way of thinking, some people are logical and rational. They process information successively. Some people are spontaneous and creative, they perceive things as a whole. It is amazing how individuals may look at situation; yet see it differently. Personal characteristics that effect perception include a person’s attitudes, personality, motives, interest, past experiences, and expectations. Characteristics of the target being observed can effect what is perceived. Just as perception has an effect on business behavior, perceptive “shortcuts” can have an effect on judging others.

    There are both positive and negative effects of using perceptive “shortcuts. ” According to Christina Hernandez (2008) there are many forms of perceptive “shortcuts” there is selective perception, the halo effect, the contrast effect, projection and stereotyping. Selective perception occurs when people selectively interpret what they see on the basis of their interest, background, experience, and attitudes. Halo effect occurs when drawing a general impression about an individual on the basis of a single characteristic.

    A contrast effects occurs when an evaluation of a person’s characteristics that are affected by comparisons with other people recently encountered who rank higher or lower. Projection occurs when attributing one’s own characteristics to other people. Stereotyping occurs when judging someone on the basis on one’s perception of the group to which that person belongs. An organization may spend millions of dollars to create a pleasant work environment for its employees. However, in spite of these expenditures, if an employee believes that his or her job is lousy that employee will behave accordingly.

    The employee who perceives his or her supervisor as a hurdle reducer who helps him or her do a better job, and the employee who sees the same supervisor as a big brother; closely monitoring every motion to ensure that I keep working will differ in their behavior responses to their supervisor. The difference has nothing to do with the reality of the supervisor’s actions, the difference in employee behavior is due to different perceptions. The evidence suggests that what individuals perceive from their work situation will influence their productivity more than will the situation itself.

    Whether or not a job is interesting or challenging is irrelevant. Whether or not a manager successfully plans and organizes the work of his or her employees and helps them to structure their work more efficiently and effectively is far less important than how employees perceive the manager’s efforts. Similarly, issues like fair pay for work performed, the validity of performance appraisals, and the adequacy of working conditions are not judged by employees in a way that ensures common perceptions, nor can we ensure that individuals will interpret conditions about their jobs in a favorable light.

    Therefore, to influence productivity, it is necessary to assess how workers perceive their jobs. Our perceptions can shape ethical and moral decisions if we first, analyze the situation. Adjust our decision making style to the national culture in which one is operating in and to the criteria of organization evaluates and rewards. For instance, if one is in a country that does not value rationality, do not feel compelled to follow the rational decision making model or even try to make the decisions appear rational. Similarly, organizations differ in terms of the importance they place on risk, the use of groups, and the like.

    Adjust the decision style to ensure it is compatible with the organization’s culture. Second, be aware of biases. We all bring biases to the decisions we make. If one understands the biases influencing its judgment, one can begin to change the way a decisions is made to reduce those biases. Third, combine rational analysis with intuition. These are not conflicting approaches to decision making. By using both, one can improve the decision making effectiveness. As one gain managerial experience, he or she should feel increasingly confident in imposing intuitive processes on top of the rational analysis.

    Fourth, do not assume that a specific decision style is appropriate for every job. Just as organizations differ, so do jobs within an organization.. One’s effectiveness as a decision maker will increase if they match the decision style to the requirements of the job. For instance, if ones decision making style is directive, one will be more effective working with people whose job requires quick action. This style would match well with managing stockbrokers. An analytic style, on the other hand; would work well managing accountants, market researchers, or financial analysts.

    Finally, try to enhance ones creativity. Overtly look for novel solutions to problems, attempt to see problems in new ways, and use comparison. Additionally, try to remove work and organizational barriers that might impede one’s creativity. Decisions in real- world organizations are made by decision makers within an organization. When decision makers are faced with a simple problem having few alternative courses of action, and when the cost of searching out and evaluating alternatives is low, the rational model is fairly accurate.

    Most decisions in the real-world do not follow the rational model. Decision makers generally make limited use of their creativity. Choices tend to be confined to the neighborhood of the problem symptoms and to the neighborhood of the current alternative. In conclusion perception is the way that people organize and interpret everything around them in order to give meaning to experiences. The definition of perception does not change but each individual’s perception of an experience can be different. Perception is a personal thing.

    What one person perceives may not be what another person perceives. This does and always will have an effect on how decisions, both personal and business, will be made. References: Hernandez, Christina (2008) Perception and Decision Making. Retrieved from http://www. associatedcontent. com/article/868873/perception_and_decision_making_pg3_pg3. html? cat=7 University of Phoenix, Axia College (2005), Perception and Individual Decision Making. Retrieved from University of Phoenix, Axia College, MGT/245 website.

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