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To summarize, we tend to overemphasize other people’s internal personal factors in their behavior and to underemphasize external factors in other people’s behavior. In contrast, we tend to attribute our own success to our own internal factors and to attribute our failure to external factors.
The managerial implications of attribution theory can be traced back to the fact that perceptions influence responses. For example, a manager who feels that subordinates are not performing well and perceives the reason to be an internal lack of effort is likely to respond with attempts to “motivate” the subordinates to work harder; the possibility of changing external, situational factors that may remove job constraints and provide better organizational support may be largely ignored. This oversight could sacrifice major performance gains. Interestingly, because of the self-serving bias, when they evaluated their own behavior, the supervisors in the earlier study indicated that their performance would benefit from having better support. Thus, the supervisors’ own abilities or willingness to work hard were not felt to be at issue.
? ATTRIBUTIONS ACROSS CULTURES
Research on the self-serving bias and fundamental attribution error has been done in cultures outside the United States with unexpected results.115 In Korea, for example, the self-serving bias was found to be negative; that is, Korean managers
Cause of Poor Cause of Poor
Performance by Their Subordinates 7 12 5 Most Frequent Attribution Lack of ability Lack of effort Lack of support Performance by Themselves 1 1 23
Section One ? 43
attribute work group failure to themselves—“I was not a capable leader”—rather than to external causes.
In India, the fundamental attribution error overemphasizes external rather than internal causes for failure. Africans attribute negative consequences—driv-ing away fish and angering mermaids into creating squalls—to women but apparently not to men. Why these various differences occurred is not clear, but differing cultural values appear to play a role. Finally, there is some evidence that U.S. females may be less likely to emphasize the self-serving bias than males.116
Certain cultures, such as the United States, tend to overemphasize internal causes and underempha-size external causes. Such overemphasis may result in negative attributions toward employees. These negative attributions, in turn, can lead to disciplinary actions, negative performance evaluations, transfers
to other departments, and overreliance on training, rather than focusing on such external causes as lack of workplace support.117 Employees, too, take their cues from managerial misattributions and, through negative self-fulfilling prophecies, may reinforce managers’ original misattributions. Employees and managers alike (see The Effective Manager 1.5) can be taught attributional realignment to help deal with such misattributions.118
THE EFFECTIVE MANAGER 1.5
KEYS IN MANAGING PERCEPTIONS AND ATTRIBUTIONS
Seek a wide range of differing information. Try to see a situation as others would.
Be aware of different kinds of schemas.
Be aware of perceptual distortions.
Be aware of self and other impression management.
Be aware of attribution theory implications.
The Concept of Organizational Culture
Organizational or corporate culture is the system of shared actions, values, and beliefs that develops within an organization and guides the behavior of its members.119 In the business setting, this system is often referred to as the corporate culture. Just as no two individual personalities are the same, no two organizational cultures are identical. Most significantly, management scholars and consultants increasingly believe that cultural differences can have a major impact on the performance of organizations and the quality of work life experienced by their members.
? Organizational or corporate culture is the system of shared actions, values, and beliefs that develops within an organization and guides the behavior of its members.
? FUNCTIONS AND COMPONENTS OF ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE
Through their collective experience, members of an organization solve two extremely important survival issues.120 The first is the question of external adaptation: What precisely needs to be accomplished, and how can it be done? The second is the question of internal integration: How do members resolve the daily problems associated with living and working together?
External Adaptation External adaptation involves reaching goals and dealing with outsiders. The issues concerned are tasks to be accomplished, methods used to achieve the goals, and methods of coping with success and failure.
? External adaptation involves reaching goals and dealing with outsiders. Issues concerned are tasks to be accomplished, methods used to achieve the goals, and methods of coping with success and failure.
44 ? Organizational Behavior
Through their shared experiences, members may develop common views that help guide their day-to-day activities. Organizational members need to know the real mission of the organization, not just the pronouncements to key constituencies, such as stockholders. Members will naturally develop an understanding of how they contribute to the mission via interaction. This view may emphasize the importance of human resources, the role of employees as cogs in a machine, or a cost to be reduced.