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Business Attitudes

In business communications, attitudes play a significant role in achieving business goals. Today the workplace can be a stressful due to the economy. Job cuts, layoffs, and even the threat of companies going out of business can put employees on edge. These stressful times can make it more difficult for employers to motivate their employees. Workers may take on negative attitudes as they fear for their jobs. Employee attitude problems have a very negative impact on the work environment as well as your company’s bottom line. An employee with an attitude problem may be careless, insensitive and inconsiderate of others. The negative effects of bad attitudes are widespread, and the morale of the entire company may lower due to employee’s attitudes. As managers and supervisors, their goal is to promote positive attitudes by motivating employees. Good attitudes can be taught, and the very best method is to lead by example. Every company’s goal should be that “attitudes are an important part of your success, both on the job and in your personal life.” According to Tubbs (2009), an attitude is a mental state that exerts influence over an individual’s behaviors. Typically attitudes have been considered along with two other elements – beliefs and behaviors. Beliefs represent what we have learned or come to know through experience. As such, they are either true or represent what a person may think is true (for example, that working on a challenging project would bring recognition in the organization or that working after office hours would affect health and personal life). Behaviors (for example, whether one completes the project successfully or leaves the office at 6PM in the evening) represent the actions that a person may take with regard to a particular object or entity.
In the simplest case attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors should be related. Attitudes serve as one way to organize our relationship with the world. They make our interactions more predictable affording us a degree of control. For example, the attitude “I like working for this company” is very useful in guiding our behavior towards the company’s work. Attitudes also enable people to reduce the vast amount of information that they posses into manageable units. All the beliefs people have about their company could be summarized as “I like my company”, and thus their attitude represents the combination of many bits of information. People can use others attitudes to make judgments about them. It has been found consistently that the more similar people’s attitudes are to those of others, the more they are liked. Finally, people’s attitudes can sometimes be useful in predicting behavior, such as how they will vote in an election or which brand of car they will buy (All Business, 2007). Attitudes consist of three basic components: emotional, informational, and behavioral. The emotional component involves the person’s feelings, or affect- positive, neutral, or negative- about an object. Thus, emotion is given the greatest attention in the organizational behavior literature in relation to job-satisfaction. In addition, the expression of emotions positive, like a customer service representative; negative, like a bill collector or a police officer; or neutral, like an academic administrator or public servant- is also important to work behavior (Long, 2011).The informational component consists of the beliefs and information the individual has about the object. A supervisor may believe that two weeks of training is necessary before a worker can operate a particular piece of equipment. In reality, the average worker may be able to operate the machine after only four days of training. Yet the information the supervisor is using (that two weeks is necessary) is the key to his attitude about training. The behavioral component consists of a person’s tendencies to behave in a particular way toward an object, and involves the person's overt behavior directed toward a situation, object, or person. For example, the behavioral component of computer anxiety would be related to how often a person had used a computer, and what kind of experience he had (Long, 2011). People, who routinely use computers, especially if they choose to use them freely, would be more likely to have positive attitudes toward computers, and be less anxious, than would others who have fewer experiences with computers. Attitudes may be learned from the experiences people have (Long, 2011). These include mostly mundane events such as being praised by their parents for expounding “liberal” attitudes, but also major life and world events. The basic processes through which people learn attitudes remain the same throughout life, though as people grow older the attitudes they learn may be more complex, and the ones they already hold may become more resistant to change. The processes through which their experiences create attitudes are all related to “learning” which is a basic human process (Tubbs, 2009). The influence of the family, schooling, and peer group’s waxes and wanes as children grow into adolescence and adulthood. Thus, the primary sources of our attitudes change as they mature. A final source of attitudes is the culture in which a child grows up. Situations that include a change in the behavioral component of attitude lead to changes in attitudes. Situational stimuli or events in the environment directly influence behavior and the formation of attitudes. Strict behaviorists would argue that internal events that form attitudes are the result of observable actions. A change in attitude or beliefs occurs as a result of actions that have been influenced by reinforcers. People’s lives are filled with attempts to change attitudes, to influence others decisions, or to persuade others to do one thing or another. No one can choose our attitude for us, (Pierce & Newstrom, 2011). People have the freedom to change, but make a conscious decision to exercise it (Pierce & Newstrom, 2011). One of the theories, which try to explain the phenomenon of attitude changes, is the Cognitive dissonance (Tubbs, 2009). This theory was based on the assumption that people wish to think of them as rational and strive for consistency. But the theory was concerned with a single person with two or more attitudes about something. Thus inconsistencies between people were not the primary focus; rather, dissonance theory sought to explain the dynamics involved in the consistency of attitudes we hold individually. The theory of cognitive dissonance suggests that people seek to minimize dissonance and discomfort it causes. A person’s desire to reduce dissonance is determined by the importance of the elements creating the dissonance, the degree of influence individual he or she has over the elements, and the rewards that may be involved in dissonance. If the elements creating the dissonance are relatively unimportant, the pressure to correct this imbalance will be low. “If there is dissonance, attitude change is most likely as the individual attempts to return to some level of consistency” (ChangingMinds.org, 2004). Attitude is everything. You hear that line all the time. In the work place, attitude and job performance often go hand in hand. When someone has a bad attitude, the following terms come to mind, uncooperative, rude, ungrateful, resistant, the list could go on and on. Someone with a good attitude is a person who “goes the extra mile.” Good attitudes involve considering all situations in a positive light and taking the best out of what occurs in life. Those with bad attitudes do the opposite, looking at situations and occurrences negatively. People with good attitudes are more likely to try to do something better and realize their full potential because they believe that they can achieve their goals. People with bad attitudes often assume they will fail. Good attitudes lead to better overall health, both physically and mentally. Those with bad attitudes endure more stress and often suffer complications from it. Those with good attitudes are more likely to be outgoing and social, and those with bad attitudes are often more withdrawn because they do not feel they will be socially accepted. Attitudes often influence others. People who surround themselves with good attitudes are more likely to think positively, but those who surround themselves with bad attitudes are more likely to think negatively. People with bad attitudes can turn around their outlook by addressing the origin of their negativity. Locating the cause of a bad attitude can go a long way in helping turn it into a good attitude. The impact of attitude on learning is only one reason for interest in attitudes. There are other arguments that explain why attitudes of learners are important (All Business, 2007). First, most educators would agree that there are times when it is legitimate, and important, for learners to accept the truth of certain ideas-in other words, to accept an attitudinal position. The importance of voting is an attitude position that most would agree is important. Civics teachers routinely "teach" this attitude. Second, while the strength of the relationship between attitudes and achievement is unclear, it seems logical that students are more likely to remember information, seek new ideas, and continue studying when they react favorably to an instructional situation or like a certain content area. Third, there are some instances when influencing people’s attitudes is not desirable, so everyone should be aware of which techniques affect attitudes. In this way, possible bias can be recognized and eliminated. Obviously, attitudes need to be measured in order to know if they have been influenced. As a result of quantitatively and qualitatively assessing the opinions of students toward the learning activities in which they are participating, it may be possible to improve the quality of procedures. One of the most important techniques of evaluation is to ascertain attitudes toward some event, object, or person. In summary, attitudes are complex phenomena. They have been studied for decades by social scientists and educators and are beginning to be understood as organizers related to learning processes and outcomes. Attitudes are learned "predispositions to respond" held by individuals that make them likely to act in certain ways. Attitudes are not observable, but they do serve to help produce observable actions in people. Every company’s goal should be that “attitudes are an important part of your success, both on the job and in your personal life.”

References
All Business, Your Small Business Advantage. Retrieved from site: http://www.allbusiness.com/glossaries/attitudes/4948639-1.html.
ChangingMinds.org. 2004. Theories. Retrieved from http://www.changingminds.org/explanations/theories.
Long, Y.S. (2011). 5 Attitudes in the Workplace to Get You Ahead. Retrieved from site: http://www.careerealism.com/attitudes-workplace-get-ahead.html.
Pierce, Jon L. & Newstrom, John W. (2011). The Manager’s Bookshelf, A Mosaic of Contemporary Views. (9th ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
Tubbs, Stewart L. (2009). A Systems Approach to Small Group Interaction. (10th ed.) New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Publishing.…...

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