what is attribution and perception and consistency in hr career? how are they useful?iam a mba student and i want to know them in detail.
From India, Guntur
5.2.2 Person Perception: Making judgment about others

Attribution Theory:

While observing people’s behavior such as getting an overseas assignment or promotion

to top management position or failed miserably in university examination or fired from

the employer etc, we attempt to determine whether it was internally caused or external

caused. If those factors such as knowledge, skill, effort, talent, hard work, positive

attitude are responsible for the occurrence of behavior, it is labeled as internally caused.

Internally caused behaviors are those that are believed to be under the personal control of

the individual. If those factors such as situational factors such as location advantage, non

availability of material, contacts with influential others, etc are responsible for the occurrence of behavior, it is labeled as externally caused. Externally caused behavior is

seen as resulting from outside causes; that is, the person is seen as forced into the

behavior by the situation.

If an employee is late for work, one can attribute his late coming due to laziness or lack

of interest in the job of over sleeping. This would be internal interpretation. If an

employee late coming is due to traffic jam or road accident or his wife sickness, then he

is making external attribution.

There are three factors which are used to determine whether the behavior is caused by

internal factors or due to external factors. They are: Distinctiveness, Consensus and



It refers to whether an individual displays different behaviors in different situations. If a

person is coming late not only to office but also to picnic party or to birth day party or to

attending meeting etc. If his late coming behavior is not unique, it will probably be

judged as internal. (Low Distinctiveness) If his late coming behavior is unusual, that is,

only to office work, his late coming behavior is due to external attribution. (High



It refers to whether all the people who are facing with a similar situation respond in the

same way or not. If all the people are responding the same way, then there is high

consensus. If consensus is high, then his late coming behavior is due to external factors.

If only this worker is late and all others are punctual, then there is low consensus. If

consensus is low, then his late coming is due to internal factor


It refers whether a person responds the same all the time, that is, whether his late coming

is common in all the days or once in a blue moon. If his late coming is reported in all the

days, then there is high consistency. If there is high consistency, his late coming behavior

is due to internal factor. If his late coming is reported only one time, then there is low

consistency. If there is low consistency, then his late coming is due to external factors.

The more consistent the behavior, the more the observer is inclined to attribute it to

internal factors.

Errors in Attribution:

While attributing the causes for the behavior of individuals, people tend to commit two

types of errors.

Fundamental Attribution Error:

There is tendency to underestimate the influence of external factors and overestimate the

influence of internal factors when making judgment about the behavior of others

particularly with reference to the victims of accidents or failures. This is called the fundamental attribution errors. For example, a sales manager is likely to attribute the poor

performance of his sales agents to laziness rather than to the new product line introduced

by the competitor or current recession prevailing in the society etc.

Self-Serving Bias:

There is also a tendency for individuals to attribute their own success to internal factors

such as ability or effort, while putting the blame for failure on external factors such as

luck or fate. This is called the self-serving bias. While assessing the performance of

subordinates, the managers are likely to provide feedback in a distorted manner

depending on whether it is positive or negative.

From India, Hyderabad
Lakshmi kavya
What exactly you want to know about HR career ? The key requirement in HR is the ability to communicate clearly to people so that the employee understands the message in the sense it is to be understood.

From India, Mumbai
Sir , i would like to understand my employees behaviour in order to motivate them that is the reason i asked for attribution and perception. Thank you!
From India, Guntur
Hello Lakshmi kavya

Well, Mr.Vidya sagar has given inputs from academic point of view. I try to give you my perception of employee behavior as I observed during my tenure as HR professional without using any technical jargon which may confuse one's understanding.

Firstly, it is to be understood that human needs are not alike.The needs of one employee may be different from those of another and therefore what motivates one employee may not motivate the other. Thus you cannot use one strategy to motivate all. You should vary it with the employees.

The employee behavior is actuated by his needs. I found the following categories of employee behavior at work place actuated by different needs of theirs as Maslow has rightly said.

1) Employees who have survival needs : Their concern is food-shelter-clothing. They do not have any ambitions. They like to be told what is to be done. They respect authority. Their behavior is characterized by obedience to command. They tend to spend time in gossiping, if they do not have enough work. They will be motivated by regular payment of their salaries.

2)Employees who have security needs :Their concern is security which they get through the job. They too do not nurse any ambitions. They want to stick to the job somehow. They share some of the characteristics of the survival need class. They do that much of work that is required to be done and do no more. Their performance is minimal and dispaly no enthusiasm. They feel insecure to shoulder higher responsibilities and willing to continue in the existing job since it gives them security. They are mostly the ‘Yes” men of their bosses. Rewards and Promotions will be no motivation to them since they are afraid that management may thrust more responsibilities on them. Business expansion will be a source of security since it gives them the impression that the business is doing well.May not be fit to be team members.

3)Employees who have money needs :Their interest extends beyond salary. They are interested in getting benefits over and above salary. They will be willing to do extra work for these benefits. They will be obedient and disciplined and exhibit average enthusiasm. They are the kind who look for appraisals, over time and bonuses. They are reasonable performers and can be made members of a team.

4) Employees who have esteem needs :They are interested in perks, promotions, rewards and opportunities for growth. The motivational strategies shall incorporate these elements. They are good performers and work efficiently and are enthusiastic workers. They are willing to shoulder higher responsibilities since they love status in the society and can be made to lead teams with training and coaching.

5) Employees who have self- fulfilling needs. : They love to grab opportunities for innovation and want to do things differently and love challenges. They are the storehouse of talent. They ooze enthusiasm and may be too egoistic or too humble or sometimes eccentric but they are the drivers and leaders. They need to be provided with an environment with opportunities for growth and challenges. Lack of them demotivates them.

Tjhough the above classification is given for the purpose of easy understanding, there is no hard and fast rule that the employees may strictly be classified into the above kinds but you may find a combination of caharacteristics of two or more classes of employees. Accordingly you need to strategize your motivational initiatives.

There are experts in the forum on the subject. They too can chip in with their contributions.



From India, Mumbai

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