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    Role of Perception in the Decision-making Process

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    Write a 1050- to 1400-word essay that examines the role of perception in the decision making process. Conduct research in the University Library to find sources that support your conclusions. Include proper citations and APA style references for all sources. In your essay, be sure to address the following topics:

    ? What is perception?
    ? How can a person's perception of others impact an organization's behavior?
    ? What are the positive and negative effects of using perceptive "shortcuts" when judging others?
    ? How are decisions in real world organizations actually made?
    ? How can our perceptions shape ethical or moral decisions?

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    Interesting topic. Let's look at each question through discussion and example. You can then draw on the information for your final copy. I also provided an extra reading section at the end and a APA resource for future reference attached.


    Like all academic papers, if you had planned to turn it in, would include an Introduction, Body, and Conclusion. The Body of the paper would be arranged in the order of the questions.

    The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of perception in the decision making process.

    1. What is perception?

    According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, "perception is a result of perceiving; it is a mental image or concept. It is awareness of the elements of environment through physical sensation e.g. color perception" (4) In psychology and the cognitive sciences, perception is the process of acquiring, interpreting, selecting, and organizing sensory information. (5)

    2. How can a person's perception of others impact an organization's behavior?

    Thus, perception is the procedures by which we try and interpret information about the environment that surrounds us. The perceptual process has several characteristics that help us understand that it can have a profound negative effect on organizational behavior (especially the two last points): (a) Feedback about others and ourselves. (b) Not always based on true picture of reality, and (c) We behave as though our perceptions are real (2)

    Part of our perceptual process is our mental process. For example, we perceive something to be true based on experience, and then it becomes part of our automatic thinking, which is thinking that is nonconscious, unintentional, involuntary and effortless. It is referred to being on automatic pilot as it low-effort thinking, which takes little time or effort; the information comes to mind automatically, without much thinking power required. This is the mental part of the perceptual process. Perception biases our judgments of people and operates at the automatic low-level of thinking, so we do not realize that our perception of the others ("she is a control freak") is impacting our behavior towards her and other organizational behavior (e.g., refuse to take good advise, etc.). (1)

    In fact, there are several attributes feed into our perceptions of others that can have a profound effect on organizational behavior, such as:

    · Raw data - The information that we experience about other people (e.g., someone talks sharply to me)
    · Mental process - which is unseen but affected by things (e.g., "she doesn't like me" schema was made based on personal feelings of inadequacies)
    · Our perception, sensing or interpretation of our experience (e.g. since she talked sharply to me, it is clear that she doesn't like me à leads to involuntary reactions to the mental schema/concept that has become a part of the perceptual process). (2)

    Perceptual or mental short cuts are an economizing phenomenon, which distorts and biases perceptions of others, which can lead to prejudice and conflict, such as first impression, self-fulfilling prophecy, just like me, blaming the victim, halo effect, stereotypes (e.g., all men are power hungry), an exaggerated belief associated with a category. They are not always based on reality, so they often end up in conflict or hurt feelings between people in the organization. Stereotypes are especially concerning in the workplace (e.g. fixed, rigid ideas, associated with a group or category of people, not supported by evidence, can be favorable or unfavorable and driven by motive. the main sources of stereotypes are the socialization process (e.g., taught that men are the main breadwinners; people with a disability should not work, etc.), books (e.g., women earn less then men because they are less capable than men), mass media (e.g., women portrayed in a certain way, ethnic groups stereotyped, etc.), and education and public officials Research suggest that there are several strategies that can correct inaccurate perceptions, such as the acceptance of differences in people, active listening, provide feedback for clarity, own your behaviors/feelings, use inclusionary language and avoid stereotypes (2). The pervasiveness of automatic thinking (stereotypes, halo effect, etc.), part of the perceptual process, results in the use of perceptual and mental short cuts, which is powerful, as they operate involuntarily. For example, people use perceptual shortcuts to simplify the amount of information they receive from the environment, including judging people's motives. It can be positive when the information is accurate. (1)

    For example, if you perceive your co-worker to be a person who is always trying to control other people (based on an accurate or inaccurate perception due to person feelings), then your coworker often reacts to you in a way that supports that perception, which is a self-fulfilling prophesy (e.g., to be short with her, ignore things that her might suggest, even though it might be good advise, I might not accept it because you perceive her to be trying to control and manipulate you instead of offering sound advise that might be helpful, etc.). It is self-fulfilling, because your reactions to coworker cause her to react just as your biased perceptions suggested she would (she ordered you to get back to work based on her personal feelings of you based on being short with you or ignoring you, etc.). In other words, how people perceive others has a powerful impact on organizational behavior. Because all behavior is reciprocal, one incorrect perception about another person's intentions (e.g., she did that because she doesn't like me, she did that to control me, she is a real control freak, etc) can have a synergetic effect on organizational behavior. If I react to you, you react to me, others perceive us and then react according to their perceptions (perhaps taking sides) and before you know it, an organizational culture of conflict has arisen based on one initial person's perception of what and why another person was doing the things they are doing.

    2. What are some positive and negative effects of using perceptive shortcuts when judging others?

    In the psychological literature, schemas (part of the perceptual process) are mental structures people use to organize their knowledge about the social world around themes or subjects: schemas affect what information we notice, think about, and remember. These are referred to mental shortcuts or perceptual shortcuts. Perceptual shortcuts are based on previously stored information - schemas ("she is a control freak"), which are often biased and not true. For example, the person who is stored as a schema "she is a control freak" might have been controlling in only one situation you experienced, but is not ALWAYS controlling, but yet once this cognitive bias is in operation, it is automatic. It is powerful, as perceptions, mental schemas, and shortcuts take on a life of their own, and are often biased. Schemas and stereotypes ("she is a control freak" "men are power hungry") act as filters, screening out information that is inconsistent with them. Although we may notice and remember glaring exceptions (e.g., "she treated me in a respectful manner last time I talked to her"), usually we attend only to schema-consistent information ("she is just trying to manipulate me to make me think she actually is a nice person"). (1)

    Some authors refer to perceptual and mental biases or shortcuts interchangeably, so let's discuss mental shortcuts, For example, judgmental heuristics are mental shortcuts people use to make judgments quickly and efficiently, which can be advantages (e.g., saves time and energy).

    · The availability heuristic is a mental rule of thumb whereby people base a judgment on the ease with which they can bring something to mind.
    · The representativeness heuristic is a mental shortcut whereby people classify something according to how similar it is to a typical case.
    · Base rate information is information about the frequency of members of different categories in the population. It usually is not considered when people are using mental shortcut.
    · The anchoring and adjustment heuristic is a mental shortcut that involves using a number or value as a starting point, and then adjusting one's answer away from this anchor. One example of anchoring and adjustment is biased sampling, whereby people make generalizations from samples of information they know are biased or atypical. (1)


    The main advantages of perceptual shortcuts are that it saves time and mental energy. For example, people use perceptual shortcuts to simplify the amount of information they receive from the environment, including judging people's motives. It can be positive when the information is accurate. For example, if your boss is known through experience to be reliable and consistent, you can rely on the perceptual shortcut ("she is reliable and consistent") without wasting time every morning to check to see if she made it to work on time. It helps stay focused on the task at hand, instead of wasting mental and physical energy on irrelevant information.


    The main negative effects on organizational behavior are that perceptual shortcuts often leads to poor decision making, intragroup conflict, organizational stresses and lack of overall productivity. For example, the way we define a problem can contain an assumption based on a perceptual bias, which makes the problem harder to solve. Often in business we ask a very narrow question which contains an assumption. For example, "How can we get costs back on plan?" This assumes that the plan was right in the first place. A better question might be, "How can we minimize our costs over the next reporting period; regardless of the plan we put together six months ago?" (see article available on-line at http://www.winstonbrill.com/bril001/html/article_index/articles/351-400/article375_body.html).

    When we perceive something to be true, we make assumptions that affect our organizational behavior. Strategies to correct inaccurate perceptions are therefore imperative. In organizational decision-making, being aware of the perceptual biases is the first step to managing them. A rationale decision-making model combines with intuition help managers and employers avoid using stereotypes and perceptual biases that impact decision-making negatively. Other strategies are the acceptance of differences in people, active listening, provide feedback for clarity, own your behaviors/feelings, use inclusionary language in the organization, and avoid stereotypes (2)

    3. How are decisions in real world organizations actually made?

    In real world organizations it depends on the organization and the leadership style used in the organization. Participatory management means that staff, not only the designated managers, have input and influence over the decisions that affect the organization. In contrast, some organizations have all decision-making made at the top. In the more participatory style leadership/management, business decisions are made following a step-by-step decision-making model, which helps to eliminate biases and perceptual short cuts, through looking in-depth at many alternatives and potential solutions to the problem. This is very important, but perceptual biases can also enter this type of decision-making process. It is important to have training to understand your own perceptual biases and the impacts they can have on your decisions and business decisions. Research suggests that intuition should also be part of the ...

    Solution Summary

    By addressing the questions, this solution provides insights into the role of perception in the decision-making process.