An attitude is a general and long-lasting positive or negative opinion or feeling about a person, object, or problem. Attitudes are developed through direct experiences, social influence, or media exposure. They are built on three pillars: emotions, behaviour, and cognition. Furthermore, evidence suggests that attitudes develop as a result of psychological needs (motivational foundations), social interactions (social foundations), and genetics (biological foundations), though this last idea is new and controversial. Attitude formation occurs in a person in a variety of ways. The instrumental method is used to shape attitudes.
Process of Attitude Formation
While being punished for having an ‘inappropriate’ attitude, biases and prejudices are frequently learned in such a manner. Observations of people and the environment can also shape attitudes.
Observational attitude formation can be direct (such as observing the behaviour of parents or peers) or indirect (observations of media). A variety of factors can influence how and why attitudes form. Here’s a closer look at attitude formation. When someone is applauded for adopting a ‘suitable’ attitude, that process of attitude formation has the following two categories:
- Determinants of attitude formation
- Theoretical perspectives
Attitude Formation Theory
The attitude formation theory explains how a person’s attitude develops and why a person may have a particular attitude, or how that attitude came to exist. Psychology is particularly interested in attitude formation since attitudes frequently direct behaviour.
The attitude formation theory has four theories used most often to describe attitude formation:
- Social-judgement theory
- Consistency theory
- Self-perception theory
- Functional theory
This theory of attitude change states that the amount of persuasion is proportional to how far the message’s supported stance differs from a person’s attitude. When a communication advocates a position that is neither acceptable nor undesirable, it is most likely to persuade.
According to a subset of social psychology theory, people are primarily driven by maintaining unity or consistency among their cognitions. The consistency theory was initially applied to work behaviour by Abraham K. Korman in 1970, after being introduced by Fritz Heider, Leon Festinger, and others.
Korman’s thesis is founded on two premises: a sense of balance and a self-image norm. According to the hypothesis, workers will engage in and find pleasant actions that enhance their mental balance. They will be motivated to perform in a manner compatible with their self-image.
According to the self-perception theory, people’s attitudes and preferences are determined by how they interpret the significance of their conduct. Critcher and Gilovich investigated whether people make conclusions about their views and preferences based on their mind wandering, an unobservable action.
According to the functional attitude theory (FAT), beliefs and attitudes impact various psychological functions. Many processes, such as being utilitarian (useful), social, connected to values, or reducing cognitive dissonance, can be influenced by attitudes. They can be beneficial and assist people in interacting with the world. Smith, Bruner, and White (1956) and Katz (1960) created separate and independent typologies of human attitudes regarding the purposes they believed the attitudes fulfilled in the late 1950s when psychoanalysis and behaviourism ruled supreme as the emphases of psychological studies.
Formation of Attitude in Organisational Behaviour
Individuals acquire attitudes from various sources, but it is important to note that attitudes are acquired rather than inherited. Our reactions to individuals and situations change throughout time. Direct experience and social learning are two key influences on attitudes.
There are three categories in the formation of attitudes in organisational behaviour:
- Job satisfaction
- Job Involvement
- Organisational commitment
Significance of Formation of Attitude in Organisational Behaviour
Employees who have a positive attitude are better able to make objective decisions. It promotes a healthy thought process, allowing them to make wise and rational decisions. Employees with a positive mindset are more likely to give their best efforts. A positive attitude also impacts how people perceive the world. Once they overcome obstacles, they are motivated to keep pushing forward.
We now know that various factors impact attitudes, including needs, social learning, group relationships, personality traits, and cultural influences. We have discussed the process of altering one’s mindset. We also looked into the function of group reference, evolving group ties, persuasive communication, and personality characteristics in affecting attitudinal change. We discussed the importance of communicator traits and how they influence attitude change in persuasive communication. Consequently, we now have a thorough understanding of attitude formation and changing one’s perspective.