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Managing the Perception Process


Successful managers understand the importance of perception as an influencing factor on behaviour, and they act accordingly. They are aware of perceptual distortion and they know that perceptual differences are likely to exist in any situation. And the end result is that they make decisions and take appropriate action as and when required. A manger that is skilled in the perception process will have:


1.    Have a high level of self-awareness. Individual needs experience and expectations can all affect perception. The successful manager knows this and is able to identify when he or she is inappropriately distorting a situation because of such perceptual tendencies.


2.    Seeks information from various sources to confirm personal impressions before making a difficult decision. A successful manager minimizes the influence of personal perception by taking the views of all the people around him. The insights gained by taking the views are used to the advantage of his decision making and solve the problems then and there.


3.    Be emphatic that is able to see a situation appropriately and not as it is perceived by others.


4.    The successful manager rises above the personal impressions to understand the problems seen by others. Influence perception of other people when they are drawing incorrect or incomplete impressions of events in the work settings. People act according to their own perceptions.


5.    A successful manager is able to influence the perception of others so that the work events and situations are interpreted as accurately as possible and to the advantage of all the concerned people.


6.    Avoid common perceptual distortions that bias the views of people and situations. These distortions include the use of stereotypes and halo effects.


7.    Avoid inappropriate attributions. Everyone has a tendency to try and explain why events happen the way they did or why people behaved as they did. A successful manager is able to establish the real reason why these things happened and avoid these things from repeating themselves in the future.


Perceptual Constancy:


A more subtle part of perceptual organisation is constancy, our ability to perceive certain characteristics of an object as remaining constant. Despite vibrations in the stimuli that provides us the conflicting information. Such constancy amidst changing stimuli is indispensable.


Perceptual Set:


Previously held beliefs about objects, influence an individuals perception of similar objects is called the perceptual set. For example, a manger may have developed perception of his own that workers are lazy and shirkers and they without doing any work expect everything from the management. His subsequent perceptions will be influenced by this preset mindset when he meets a different group of workers.


Perceptual context:


The context in which an object is placed influence perception.

Contextual influence on perception: the visual stimulus by itself is meaningful only when the object is placed in front but in the verbal context it becomes meaningless to the listener.


The organisational culture and structure provide the primary context in which the workers and managers do there perceiving. Thus a verbal order, a memo, a new policy, a suggestion, a raised eyebrow or a pat on the back takes on special meaning and value when placed in the context of the work organisation.


Perceptual Defense:

According to the principle of the perceptual defense, an individual is likely to defend himself when confronted with conflicting, unacceptable or threatening stimuli. The defense mechanism put up by the perceiver may assume any of the forms given below;

1.    Outright denial

2.    Modification of the data received

3.    Change in perception but refusal to change.



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