Monday, June 11, 2012

Whom do I attribute the results of my action?

In the last blog, we looked at impression management and discussed it. In today's blog we discuss some interesting things about the way we attribute the result of our actions using the attribution theory.

The Attribution theory explains how individuals pinpoint the cause of their own behavior and that of others. This behavior of ours to have an attribution to the result is natural. We are inherently curious and this is the source of our behavior of this nature.

Pretty often, in an interview we are asked to explain the cause of previous performance. In many ways the reply to this question helps the interviewer assess what our nature is with respect to attributing the outcome to. Some might attribute it to an external source others would to their internal source.

It’s a pretty common experience after exam; when we ask a student after the exam how the test had been, and why he/she thinks it happened that way, we begin to see replies like these - "I topped the exam, since I had prepared well" or "The paper was an easy one, and I think my luck was good too, so I topped it".

In the first reply, we see that the person attributes the result to an internal cause - those which are within his control. In the second one we see the attribution is to an external source to things that are not within ones control.

Result has shown that, achievement oriented individuals attribute their success to ability and their failure to lack of effort, to internal causes. Failure oriented individuals attribute their failures to lack of ability and they may develop feelings of incompetency and in extreme cases even depression.

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