Saturday, December 7, 2013

Changing the Attitude of People

Continuing from the last byte where we discussed the relation between job satisfaction and its influence on organizational commitment, we today begin a discussion on understanding how attitude of people could change.

Attitude could change through the process of persuasion. Managers who work with employees many a times are pressed with the need to change the attitude of their employees. Given this, in today's world it is essential for managers to really skilled in the art of persuasion. The days when employees could simply be told what is to be done and then control them are counted if not gone.

Persuasion is a process through with one individual (source) tries to change the attitude of another person (target).

To understand the process of persuasion, we would need to look at the 3 components that would be involved in the process:
  1. The source
  2. The target
  3. The Message
Let us begin with understanding the "Source Characteristics" in this blog and then carry the remaining over to the next one.

It is human nature to believe in people who are considered experts in a field. If a scientist talks about a new sub atomic particle, it would be more acceptable to the general public; than an individual like me - with little science to back my claim of the discovery of a new sub atomic particle. Clearly Expertise is a major factor that would affect persuasion.

Trust is another important characteristic of an individual that plays a role in persuasion. It is easily seen, when we consider the fact that we are willing to change our attitude when one of our loved ones we are more open to change when our parents or siblings point a requirement to change in attitude, compared to a completely unknown individual. This is also aligned with the other aspect of these loved ones - the attractiveness we have with the person. The more attracted we are to the source; we are more open to change in attitude.

In short, expertise, trust and attractiveness are major influences of the source. Managers would need to focus on developing these characteristics to be more effective in persuasion.

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