Perception In The Workplace

Every person in this world sees things from a different point of view and interprets them differently as well, this is what we call perception. In that, what you perceive as good may be bad from someone else’s perspective and vice versa.

Perception in the workplace includes all the signals received by an individual via sensory organs and how he interprets them logically, emotionally, socially, mentally, or even physically while in the job/work environment.

The Perceptual process entails different phases:

1. Receiving: This is the initial phase that precedes all other phases. It entails acquiring the information via sensory organs, which is normally the first thing that happens before the information is even processed. This may be information received from your boss, colleagues, or any other stakeholder.

2. Perceptual Selection

Perceptual selection is influenced by internal and external factors.

Internal factors include:

  • Personality – Personality traits influence how a person selects perceptions. For instance, a choleric person is likely to react very fast to things that he does not agree with, unlike a calm person who takes time to understand appropriately.
  • Motivation – People will view things according to their needs and preferences. If the situation at hand is likely to favor them then they will select it as something positive, and if the situation is likely to be in conflict with their needs then they will perceive it as negative.
  • Experience – This relates to someone’s past. If the information has details that make the person nostalgic or trigger emotional relapse because it had affected him negatively in the past, he will tend to avoid it but if the person had a good experience previously, then this déjà vu situation will make him perceive it positively.

External factors include:

  • Size – A larger size makes it more likely an object will be selected.
  • Intensity – Greater intensity, in color or shiny texture will make it more appealing
  • Contrast – When compared to things with lower rationality, a contrasting perception is likely to be selected.
  • Motion – A perception that has locomotion is likely to be selected.
  • Iteration – repetition increases perceptual selection.
  • Novelty and familiarity – Both of these increase selection. When a perception is new, it stands out in a person’s experience. When it is familiar, it is likely to be selected because of this familiarity.

3. Perceptual Organization

After certain perceptions are selected, they can be organized differently. The following factors are those that determine perceptual organization:

  • Figure-ground – Once perceived, objects stand out against their background. This can mean, for instance, that perceptions of something as new can stand out against the background of everything of the same type that is old.
  • Perceptual grouping – Grouping is when perceptions are brought together into a pattern.
  • Closure – This is the tendency to try to create wholes out of perceived parts. Sometimes this can result in an error, though, when the perceiver fills in unperceived information to complete the whole.
  • Proximity – Perceptions that are physically close to each other are easier to organize into a pattern or whole.
  • Similarity – Similarity between perceptions promotes a tendency to group them together.
  • Perceptual Constancy – This means that if something has always been perceived to be in a certain position or state, then that is what is inscribed on the perceiver’s mind. He tends to have the perception stuck in his mind.
  • Perceptual Context – People will tend to organize perceptions in relation to other prospective perceptions, and create a context out of those connections.

Each of these factors influences how the person perceives their environment, so responses to their environment can be understood by taking the perceptual process into account.

4. Interpreting: The process of interpreting data means we give meaning to what we have received, selected and organized. This involves assigning an analyzed conclusion of what the perceiver has arrived to pertaining to the object in question.

5. Checking: The perceiver tends to check whether his perceptions are right or wrong. He can ask himself questions as a metric to gauge whether his perception is correct, or better still, he can compare his perception with others to ascertain whether he is right or not.

6. Process of reacting: The last phase of the perceptual process is the reaction. The perceiver will indulge in some action in relation to his perception. The action is positive when the perception is favorable and negative when the perception does not favor his needs and preferences.

So, when making decisions in a Company, bosses should consider all of the above factors so that they can be mentally prepared for how people might react to change, or any other information conveyed to them.