Perception can be defined as a process by which individuals select, organize and interpret their sensory impression in order to give meaning to their environment. Here we need to note that people’s behaviour is influenced by their perception of reality instead of the actual reality and it differs from person to person.
In Mark Waiting’s case, he had the perception that he is going become the president of Universal Chemical Corporation. Now this perception was based on
Values and attitude
This perception was based the past experience of his professional career path. He had a notion that since he has spent a number of years in marketing and sales and the last four year as Vice President, it is very logical to expect promotion as President. This perception was also strengthened by the fact that one of his friends had confirmed the rejection of the Vice President Manufacturing’s program. Mark Waiting derives an inference based on his perception of reality that since his report has not been rejected he is sure to be declared the next President.
Being declared the President had been his motive for long. He had also moulded his personal life so that it would reflect as life befitting a man meant to be on top.
He could not accept a President 10 years his junior when he came to know that an outsider has taken up the position desired by him. This resulted in Mark’s judgement of the new President based only on the fact that he is junior and new to the organisation commonly known as Halo effect.
When people draw a general impression about an individual based on a single characteristic, it is known as the halo effect. Stereotyping and Halo effect are common problems in social perception (i.e. how individuals perceive one another).
Mark attributed his changed behaviour to the fact that management had made a mistake in putting so much responsibility on an outsider. He believed that he needed to protect the corporation. Here attribution means the way in which people explain the cause of their own or others’ behaviour.
According to cognitive dissonance theory, there is a tendency among individuals to seek consistency among their cognitions i.e., beliefs, opinions. When there is a dissonance (inconsistency) between attitudes or behaviours, something must change to eliminate the dissonance. In the case of inconsistency between attitudes and behaviour, it is most likely that the attitude will be change to accommodate the behaviour.
The same happens to Mark. In order to accommodate his dissonance in behaviour, he changes his attitude towards the new team. He cannot come to terms with the fact that his exclusion from the tasks of importance was due to his biased attitude towards the new committee which could be harmful for the organisation rather than any personal rejection.
In this case we can see a very prominent disliking that Mark has towards Gray and the new committee. In spite of all the efforts by Gray to make Mark comfortable with the new committee, there is no change in his attitude. This behaviour can be explained by Fritz Heider’s Balance Theory. The crux of this theory is how people tend to maintain consistency in patterns of their liking and disliking of one another. Mark wages a war against Gray, the new president because he had developed a feeling of dislike towards him for the fact that Gray had taken up the position supposedly meant for him.
Socially Mark did not get very encouraging information. There were lot of changes indicating that his relevance to the company was declining day by day. Mark had dedicated a long period of his life to the organisation and had a very creditable. But when the new committee was formed, he was kept out of the core group. Even the Vice Presidency was taken from him and he was made in-charge of marketing. These were certain changes indicating that the new team did not consider Mark’s experience and knowledge of much use now. Though a direct confrontation was avoided, new executive team did not involve Mark in discussions about matters of importance. This was both humiliating and shameful for Mark.
Even the sales policies were made by a team of which Mark was not even a member. Mark could not tolerate this rejection. He objected to this by not going in the field offices. To create a better relation between the new committee and Mark, he was made vice-president of special projects and assigned a better office with extra facilities. But the problems assigned to him were so vague that he could not really understand the problem itself. Nobody criticised him or pointed out his failures. Neither was he involved in decision making process. He was made to feel important by inviting for private luncheons with the president but actual authority was given to him. In short he was just a figurative head with no actual authorities or involvement in the decision making process.
Hence Mark decided to leave the organisation for his self esteem and self respect. He was aware that he was made a puppet with no real authority in spite of his highly creditable career knowledge and experience.