Attribution Theory 2

Topics: Attribution theory, Cognitive bias, Organization Pages: 4 (1312 words) Published: June 23, 2011
Attribution theory explains how and why we perceive other people the way we do. It can be applied to many different areas such as marketing, psychology and organizational behavior. It allows us to understand how we judge characters and behaviors based on information given to or surrounding us. This constantly happens in our everyday lives. For instance, when walking down a street, we are most likely to make some comment to ourselves if an interesting looking person walked past. There are two ways to explain attribution theory- internal and external, which can either be controllable or uncontrollable. Internal attribution is when we explain one's behavior based on factors within the person, such as intelligence. External attribution is when we explain behavior based on situations such as the weather. There are three factors to consider when deciding if the attribution is internal or external (Robbins, Millet & Waters-Marsh 2007, p.45). The first factor- distinctiveness, focuses on different situations and whether different behaviors are observed (Robbins et al. 2007, p.46). The second factor- consensus, which exists if everyone responds to a similar situation in the same way (Robbins et al. 2007, p.46). The last factor is consistency- whether there is a pattern observed in one's actions (Robbins et al. 2007, p.46). Under any circumstances, a person is always open to various interpretations of others, possibly creating distorted perspectives.

The given mini-case is an example of deciding whether to attribute a person's behavior to internal or external causes. It is a job interview and involves two interviewers, or otherwise, observers- Rowan and Sarah. In such a situation, various factors can come into play and influence the observers' judgements of the interviewees. The decision greatly depends on the observers- how affected they will be by first impressions and whether they are able to consider all possible factors. It is easy for them to make irrational...
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