Perception and People

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QUESTION: As a manager in an organisation, discuss how your study of perception contributes to your understanding of behaviour of people in your organisation.

Perception varies from person to person. Different people perceive different things about the same situation. People’s behavior is based on their perception of what reality is, not on reality itself. It is our personal perception of that reality which shapes and directs our behaviour and not some objective understanding of external reality. For example, if one person on a hillside perceives that it is cold, they will reach for their sweater. If the person standing next to them perceives that it is warm, they will remove their sweater. Thus behaviuor is a function of the way in which we perceive the world around us and not how we perceive other people and events in that world. Perception is therefore the process of acquiring, selecting, organizing and interpreting sensory information. According to Kendra Cherry, perception is our sensory experience of the world around us and involves both the recognition of environmental stimuli and actions in response to these stimuli. It involves all the five senses: touch, sight, taste, smell and hearing. The perceptual process involves stages of selection and attention, organisation and interpretation. The selection and attention stage concerns the way in which we process the raw data received by our sensory apparatus. We are simply not able to process all of the sensory information available to us at any given time. The stage screens or filters out redundant and less relevant information so that we can focus on what is important. The next stage which is the perceptual organisation is the process by which people group environmental stimuli into recognisable patterns or meaningful units or wholes. In the perceptual process, once selection has occurred, organisation takes over. The stimuli selected for attention are now seen as a whole. The third activity you engage in...
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