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Attitude is an overall evaluation of a stimulus object. An attitude is set of views, thoughts regarding some topic which have an evaluative feature.its accompanied by emotional component and a tendency to act in a way with regard to the attitude object. If ones views are not merely thoughts, but have emotional and action component then these views are more than opinions they are examples of attitude.

Reporting an attitude is deciding whether to like or dislike something, whether to approve or disapprove, or whether to favour or disfavour a certain topic, object, or person.

Components of Attitude

Attitudes are summary evaluations about an object that incorporate emotive, cognitive, and behavioural components.

Attitudes'affective component refers to feelings or emotions connected with an attitude object. Affective responses shape attitudes in a variety of ways. The major method that feelings influence attitudes is through affective reactions elicited in the individual upon exposure to the attitude object. In a variety of ways, feelings can become associated with attitude objects. Several academics have utilised classical conditioning techniques to investigate how matching affective information with an attitude object can result in a positive or negative attitude.

Attitudes' cognitive component relates to the beliefs, thoughts, and attributes we identify with a specific object. In many circumstances, a person's attitude may be formed largely by weighing the positive and bad aspects of the attitude object. Cognitions influence a wide range of attitudes.

Within the study of intergroup attitudes , stereotypes are usually considered as beliefs about the attributes possessed by a particular social group. Furthermore, numerous studies have found that holding negative preconceptions about a group of people is connected with having a prejudiced attitude against the group.

The behavioural component of attitudes refers to past behaviours with respect to an attitude object.When participants were reminded of their good behaviours, they reported higher positive attitudes than when they were reminded of their negative behaviours. Furthermore, this effect was obtained only among those individuals who, prior to the experiment, had weak attitudes about environmental matters.

Attitudes are composed of affective, cognitive, and behavioural components. Feelings or emotions linked with an attitude object are referred to as the affective component. Beliefs, thoughts, and traits linked with an attitude object are referred to as the cognitive component. The behavioural component pertains to previous actions in relation to an attitude object.

Attitude has several characteristics

The four key characteristics of attitudes are as follows:

  • Valence (Positivity/Negativity) demonstrates if our attitude toward the attitude object is positive or negative.

  • Extremeness indicates how strong the person's attitude. It can be extremely negative or positive.

The number of attitudes existing inside a broader attitude is indicated by its simplicity or complexity (Multiplexity). Attitude can be simple if there is just one attitude, or it can be complex if there are numerous attitudes inside a larger attitude.

The centrality of an attitude specifies its role in the attitude system and how it influences the other attitudes in the attitude system.

Structures of Attitude

In addition to considering the content of attitudes, another important issue concerns how positive and negative evaluations are organized within and among the affective, cognitive and behavioural components of attitudes.

A one-dimensional attitude perspective is one that sees positive and negative aspects as being stored along a single dimension.

Two-dimensional perspective of attitudes a point of view in which positive and negative aspects are perceived to be stored along distinct dimensions

Daniel Katz describes four functions of attitudes

  • Adjustment Function.

  • Ego-Defensive Function.

  • Value-Expressive Function.

  • Knowledge Function.

Adjustment Function

Attitudes frequently assist people in adjusting to their work environment.

Employees who are treated well are more likely to acquire a favourable attitude toward management and the organisation.

Employees who are mistreated and paid a low wage are more prone to acquire a negative attitude toward management and the business.

These attitudes assist employees in adjusting to their surroundings and serve as a foundation for future conduct. The adjustment function steers people away from painful or undesired objects and toward enjoyable or rewarding ones.

It adheres to the utilitarian principle of maximising reward while limiting punishment.

Thus, the attitudes of consumers depend to a large degree on their perceptions of what is needed satisfying and what is punishing.

The Ego-Defense Function

The ego-defensive function relates to attitudes that defend our self-esteem or rationalise activities that cause us to feel guilty.

This function is based on psychoanalytic ideas, in which people employ defence mechanisms to shield themselves from psychological harm.

Denial, repression, projection, rationalisation, and other mechanisms are examples of mechanisms.

For example, an older boss whose decisions are constantly questioned by a younger subordinate manager may believe the latter is brash, arrogant, immature, and inexperienced.

In reality, the younger subordinate may be correct in questioning the decisions.

The senior manager may not be an effective leader and may make incorrect decisions on a regular basis.

The elder manager, on the other hand, will not admit this and will try to protect his ego by blaming the other party.

Value-Expressive Function

Whereas ego defensive attitudes are established to safeguard a person's self-image, value-expressive attitudes allow a person's centrally held values to be expressed.

Central values tend to shape our identity and get us societal approbation, revealing who we are and what we stand for.

Some attitudes matter to a person because they convey ideals that are fundamental to that person's self-concept.

As a result, certain attitudes are adopted by customers in order to translate their ideals into something more tangible and easily stated.

Our self-concept is directly tied to our value-expressive attitudes.

Individuals whose primary priority is freedom may have very favourable attitudes regarding decentralisation of authority in the company, flexible work schedules, and relaxation of clothing rules.

Knowledge Function

The knowledge function relates to our consistent and relatively stable requirement.

This enables us to forecast what is going to occur, giving us a sense of control.

Some attitudes are beneficial because they contribute to a better understanding of the world.

They assist people in attributing causes to events and guide attention to characteristics of people or situations that are likely to be useful in making sense of them.

As a result, they contribute to making the world more understandable, predictable, and knowable. Understanding a person's attitude allows us to predict their actions.

People who are unfamiliar with nuclear energy, for example, may adopt a negative attitude toward it and believe it should not be employed as an energy source.

Another example is stereotyping.

In the absence of knowledge about a person, we may judge the person using a stereotypical attitude.

Process of Attitude Formation

Attitude can be learned through one's own experiences and interaction with others.

  • Learning attitude by association

  • Learning attitude by being rewarded or punished

  • Learning attitude through modelling /observing others

  • Learing attitude through group or cultural norms

  • Learning attitude through exposure to information

Factors that influence Attitude formation

  • Socialisation

  • Media

  • Direct Personal Experiences

  • Conditioning

MODE Model

Not all behaviour is deliberate and premeditated. We frequently act instinctively, without consciously considering what we intend to do. When human behaviour is impulsive, the theory of planned behaviour may not provide an adequate picture of behavioural prediction.

In an attempt to uncover how attitudes influence spontaneous behaviour, Fazio developed the MODE model of attitude–behaviour relations. MODE refers to Motivation and Opportunity as determinants of behaviour. At its most basic, the MODE model proposes that if individuals have both sufficient desire and opportunity, they can base their behaviour on a deliberate examination of the available information.

It is widely assumed that attitude governs behaviour. The Mode model proposes that in a given situation, an individual may conduct differently based on an understanding of the situation and opportunity.


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