Functions of Attitudes

20/04/2020 0 By indiafreenotes

According to California Management Review, 1995, an analysis, based on extensive review of surveys of employers concluded that “the most important consideration in hiring and biggest deficit among new work force entrants are the attitudes concerning work that they bring with them to their new jobs. ” Attitudes can help in predicting human behaviour at work. An understanding of attitudes is also important because attitudes help people adapt to their work environment.

Four Important Functions of Attitudes (According to D. Katz)

  1. The Adjustment Function

Attitudes often help people adjust to their work environment. When employees are well treated they are likely to develop a positive attitude towards the management and the organization, otherwise they are likely to develop a negative attitude towards management and the organization. These attitudes help employees adjust to their environment and are a basis for future behaviour.

For example, if employees who are well treated are asked about management or the organization they are likely to say good things. These employees are very loyal to the management also. On the other hand, if the employees are berated or they are given minimum salary increases or they have less job satisfaction, the reverse may be true.

  1. The Ego Defensive Function

Along with the adjustment function, attitudes also help them defend their self images. People often form and maintain certain attitudes to protect their own self images. For example, workers may feel threatened by the employment or advancement of minority or female workers in their organisation. These threatened workers may develop prejudices against the new workers.

They may develop an attitude that such newcomers are less qualified and they might mistreat these workers. This attitude helps the workers protect the ego and is known as an ego defensive attitude. This ego defensive attitude is used by the employees in coping with a feeling of guilt or threat. Unless this feeling is removed, this kind of attitude will Remain unchanged.

  1. The Value Expressive Function

Attitudes provide people with a basis for expressing their values. Our value expressive attitudes are closely related to our self concept. A person, whose value system is centralized on freedom, will have a positive attitude towards decentralization of authority in the organization, flexible work schedules etc. Another person who is very ambitious will have a positive attitude towards a job which will offer bright future prospects and chances of promotion.

A manager who believes strongly in work ethics will tend to voice attitudes toward specific individuals or work practices as a means of reflecting this value. For example, a supervisor who wants a subordinate to work harder might put it this way “You’ve got to work harder. That has been the tradition of the family since it was founded. It helped get us where we are today and everyone is expected to subscribe to this ethic”. Thus, the attitudes serve as a basis for expressing one’s central value.

  1. The Knowledge Function

Attitudes are often substituted for knowledge. Attitudes help supply standards and frames of reference that allow people to organize and explain the world around them. Regardless of how accurate a person’s view of reality is attitudes towards people, events and objects help the individual make sense out of what is going on. Stereotyping is an example. In the absence of knowledge about a person, we may use a stereotyped attitude for judging the person.

Why should managers know about these attitude functions? Such a knowledge can help the managers in two ways firstly, he will understand and predict how a certain person is likely to behave. Secondly, it can help the management in changing the attitudes of another person. They can do this by changing the conditions that sustain the attitude.