What Is Attitude?
• The term attitude is being used quite frequently in describing people’s
• There are two senses in which it is used.
• One is in general terms, meaning the positive or negative orientation
of a person.
• For e.g, when it is said that Mala has a positive attitude or hat Geeta
has a negative attitude.
• However, this is not a correct usage of the term ‘ attitude’.
• Attitude always has a referent, i.e. an object towards which positive or
negative orientation is implied.
• Attitude is always ‘towards’ something.
• For e.g., you may say that Mohan has a positive attitude towards
his organization. Although attitudes are generally affective (or
emotional) in nature, they also have terms of acting or behaving
on basis of that feeling. For e.g, my exposure, my job gives me
enough knowledge about it.
• Then I develop a feeling for it (I like it or I do not like it). Finally,
I act on the feeling- stay on in my job or quit it so generally
attitudes lead to behavior.
• Attitudes can also be defined as a multiplicative function of
beliefs and values. A belief is an association between two
• For e.g, if a person believes that not spacing out one’s children
( having children without enough gap between their births) is
injurious to the mother’s health. If the person has a high value
for the mother’s health,
• An attitude is a imaginary construct that represents an
individual's degree of like or dislike for something. Attitudes are
generally positive or negative views of a person, place, thing, or
event— this is often referred to as the attitude object.
Attitude affects (influences, impacts) on behavior.
Behavior affects (influences, impacts)on attitude.
• In relation to organization, the general meaning of attitude is
applied to work. Work attitudes are reflected in job satisfaction
and in organizational commitment.
• Job Satisfaction
• Job satisfaction includes various aspects- the nature of the job
itself, the compensation a person gets by working on the job,
growth opportunities for career advancement, the organizational
climate, the behavior of the supervisor and coworkers and so on.
• Job satisfaction can be increased by increasing role efficacy, by
understanding a person’s needs and making sure that these needs
are met in the work assigned to the person.
• Job satisfaction leads to improved performance and retention of
personnel in the organization. Recruitment policies, placements
practices, development schemes, etc. contribute to job satisfaction.
• It is another aspect of work attitudes. While job satisfaction is
primarily concerned with the job or the work a person undertakes in an
organization, commitment shows the relationship between the
individual and the organization. The stronger such a relationship is, the
higher the organizational commitment will be.
• It has been suggested that organizational commitment is a critical
aspect of work attitude.
• There are 3 dimensions of organizational commitment
1. Affective commitment
2. Continuous commitment
3. Normative commitment
1. Affective commitment: a person’s emotional attachment to
and identification with the organization.
2. Continuous commitment: based on the benefits the person
see in continuing with the organization.
3. Normative commitment: the willingness of the person to
continue with the organization because it is commonly
considered a good thing to stat on.
• Attitudes have 3 components-
• Cognitive (knowledge and understanding),
• Affective(feeling), and
• Conative (action).
• Attitudes change covers all 3 aspects. Several theories have
been proposed for attitude change.
• Hovland et al. propounded one of the first major theories of
attitude change, developed in the framework of Hull’s learning
theory, and oriented towards the effects of persuasive
• According to this theory, changes in opinions can result in attitude
change, depending on the presence or absence of rewards. The
learning of new attitudes is not different in nature than any other
verbal or motor skill, except that opinions relate to a single
propositions, whereas other skills involve a series of propositions.
• The acceptance of new opinion ( and hence attitude formation)
is dependent upon the incentives that are offered in the
• Heider developed a balance theory of attitude change that was
influenced by Gestalt principles. In Heider’s theory, when beliefs
are unbalanced, stress is created and there is pressure to change
attitudes. The two main factors affecting balance are the
sentiment(e.g., liking, approving, admiring) and unity(e.g.,
similarity, proximity, membership) qualities of beliefs. Balance
exists if the sentiment or unity between beliefs about events or
people are equally positive or negative, imbalance occurs when
they are dissimilar in nature.
Cognitive Consistency Theory
• Abelson and others developed theories of cognitive consistency. It
suggests that people will try and maintain consistency among
their beliefs and make changes(i.e., accept or reject ideas) when
this does not occur.
• For e.g, if a college student who wants to live in a co-ed
dormitory and also wants to get good grades is presented with fact
that student who live in co- ed dorms get poor grades, the
student will either reject this propositions or change his attitudes
about co-ed dorms or good grades.
Cognitive Dissonance Theory
• Cognitive Consistency Theory proposes that people are
motivated to change and act consistently with their beliefs,
values, and perceptions when there is psychological
inconsistency or disagreement between two pieces of
information. The conflict between the inconsistent factors
• The person begins to doubt previously held rationales, beliefs,
or values. These doubts produce uncomfortable feelings and
may interfere with the ability to act. The pros and cons of each
factor are examined. Babasabpatilfreepptmba.com
• The resolution of the dissonance occurs when one factor is
seen as more attractive than the other. Prior to the resolution of
the dissonance, the dilemma between the conflicting factors
• When dissonance is resolved, the person is better able to act in
accordance with the more attractive factor because beliefs,
values, and perceptions agree with the behavior.
Beliefs are assumptions or convictions hold as true about
something, concept, or person.
Norms Of Beliefs
a. Formal: Norms are official standards or laws that govern
b. Informal: These norms are unwritten rules or standards
that govern the behavior of group members
• A value is a conception, explicit or implicit, distinctive of an
individual or characteristic of a group, of the desirable which
influences the selection from available modes, modes, means, and
ends of action.
• In this definition, they emphasize the affective (desirable), cognitive
(conception), and Conative (selection) elements as essential to the
concept of value.
• Values represent basic conviction that a specific mode of conduct or
end state of existence is personally or socially preferable to an
opposite or converse mode of conduct or end state of existence.
• We shall take up four main Western conceptual frameworks of
societal values and then see the values of the Indian society. Values
do not operate singly. Several values interact with each other and
value systems or value orientation are formed. Most conceptual
frameworks propose such systems.
• Human- nature orientation. This mainly delve into ethical values,
which fall in a conservatism- liberalism continuum. Values such as
purification of mind, respect for individuals, containment of greed,
self- restraint, integrity, detachment, compassion, etc come under
• Man- nature orientation: this is represented by the fatalism-
scientism dimension- does nature control nature? Fatalism can
be defined as a belief that human situation and acts are
predetermined by some supernatural power and can never be, or
is little, influenced by individual volition. On the other hand,
scientism can be defined as a belief that human situations are the
result of natural and/ or social forces, which can be understood
and changed by human volition or human action.
• This is reflected in past orientation, present orientation, or future
• Activity orientation: conservatism-liberalism mainly represents the
human nature dimensions and also the activity dimension in part.
Conservatism can be defined as positive attitude towards traditional
institutions and practices and a maintaining of the status quo,
producing a tendency to resist change.
• Liberalism can be defined as a positive attitude towards the search
for new ways and new ideas and modification or change in the status