By Nancy Langton, Stephen P. Robbins
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Additional resources for Fundamentals of Organizational Behavior, third Canadian Edition
9 This is called the fundamental attribution error and can explain why a sales manager is prone to attribute the poor performance of his or her sales agents to laziness rather than to the innovative product line introduced by a competitor. Recent research suggests that journalists often engage in the fundamental attribution error when they over-attribute firm performance to the CEO’s characteristics. 11 We use self-serving bias when we judge ourselves. This means that when we are successful, we are more likely to believe it was because of internal factors, such as ability or effort.
If we carefully consider the arguments favouring either heredity or environment as the main determinant of personality, we are forced to conclude that both are important. Heredity sets the parameters, or outer limits, but an individual’s full potential will be determined by how well he or she adjusts to the demands and requirements of the environment. Chapter 2 Perception, Personality, and Emotions 43 Situational Conditions A third factor, the situation, influences the effects of heredity and environment on personality.
We often interpret others’ behaviours based on our own characteristics. People who take an optimistic approach to life act as if others will be just as upbeat, while those who are dishonest suspect others are equally dishonest. Expectations can also distort our perceptions—we see what we expect to see. For example, if you expect police officers to be authoritarian, young people to have no ambitions, human resource directors to like people, or politicians to be unethical, you may perceive individuals from these categories in this way, regardless of their actual traits.