Attitudes notes


  • Definition of terms
  • Formation of attitudes
  • Effects of attitudes on behavior

Meaning of attitude

Attitude is a learned predisposition to respond to an object or a class of objects in a consistently favorable or unfavorable way. An attitude can be as a positive or negative evaluation of people, objects, events, activities, and ideas

Attitudinal Categories

Attitude and behavior interact differently based upon the attitude in question. Understanding different types of attitudes and their likely implications is useful in predicting how individuals’ attitudes may govern their behavior. Daniel Katz uses four attitude classifications:

  1. Utilitarian: Utilitarian refers to an individual’s attitude as derived from self or community interest. An example could be getting a raise. As a raise means more disposable income, employees will have a positive attitude about getting a raise, which may positively affect their behavior in some circumstances.
  2. Knowledge: Logic, or rationalizing, is another means by which people form attitudes. When an organization appeals to people’s logic and explains why it is assigning tasks or pursuing a strategy, it can generate a more positive disposition towards that task or strategy (and vice versa, if the employee does not recognize why a task is logical).
  3. Ego-defensive: People have a tendency to use attitudes to protect their ego, resulting in a common negative attitude. If a manager criticizes employees’ work without offering suggestions for improvement, employees may form a negative attitude and subsequently dismiss the manager as foolish in an effort to defend their work. Managers must therefore carefully manage criticism and offer solutions, not simply identify problems.
  4. Value-expressive: People develop central values over time. These values are not always explicit or simple. Managers should always be aware of what is important to their employees from a values perspective (that is, what do they stand for? why do they do what they do?). Having such awareness can help management to align organizational vision with individual values, thereby generating passion among the workforce

Personal Factors Influencing Attitude Formation

Psychological factors: The attitude of a person is determined by psychological factors like ideas, values, beliefs, perception, etc. All these have a complex role in determining a person’s attitude.

Family: Family plays a significant role in the primary stage of attitudes held by individuals. Initially, a person develops certain attitudes from his parents, brothers, sister, and elders in the family. There is a high degree of relationship between parent and children in attitudes found in them.

Society: Societies play an important role in formatting the attitudes of an individual. The culture, the tradition, the language, etc., influence a person’s attitudes. Society, tradition, and the culture teach individuals what is and what is not acceptable.

Peers: A person’s attitude also depends on the peers/friends a person associates with in day to day life. They initiate formation of new attitudes and reinforce attitudes already developed

Political factors: Political factors such as ideologies of political parties, political leaders and political stability affect the attitudes of people.

Economic factors: A person’s attitude also depends on issues such as his salary, status, work as such, etc.

Organizational Factors Contributing to Attitude Formation among Employees

Co-workers- they play a role in initiating formation of attitudes and reinforcement of existing attitudes

Work environment: work environment could be positive or negative which plays part in influencing employee attitudes

Job satisfaction: refers to an individual’s general attitude towards their job. A person with a high job satisfaction holds positive attitude about their job

Reward system: motivated employees feel more committed to their job unlike unmotivated employee

Code of conduct/company and personnel policies: employee friendly policies positively influence employee’s attitudes


Signs of Positive Attitude vs Negative Attitude

  • Responsible v Irresponsible
  • Confident v Insecure
  • High self-esteem v Low self-esteem
  • Disciplined v Undisciplined
  • Reliable v Unreliable
  • Optimistic v Pessimistic
  • Motivated v Demotivated

NB/ List not exhaustive….you can add more

Comparison of positive and negative attitudes

Effects of Positive Attitude in the Workplace:

  1. No stress:people with positive attitude have less stress at their work places. Less stress enables the employees to improve their productivity as they work in a stress free environment.
  2. Improved relations:if you have a positive attitude at work your peers will be happy with you and will want to be around you more often. Happy people also make others happy. This can really help the company grow in the future.
  3. Enhanced job security: You can never be fired for having a good attitude. In fact it is the positivity that will shine and help others see the good side of you. Plus when you are nice, kind and generous to others, you can actually create a very good impression and make yourself eligible for promotion at your work place.
  4. Empowering: positive attitude empowers employees and as a result do much better at work. Chances are greater that such employees are given more tasks/responsibilities which empower them the more.
  5. Better control:Positive attitude enables an employee to be in control and confident of their abilities thus increasing work productivity.


Effects of Negative Attitude at Workplace:

  1. Undermines relationships with all co- workers: Negative attitudes after a point can really drain you down and drain those around you. When your relationship with others at work has been undermined, the connection with others at work will begin to suffer affecting work productivity
  2. Missed opportunities:Bad attitude will cost employees a variety of opportunities as well as missing out on small recognitions from fellow employees. On group assignments such negative employees won’t be first choice for most people.
  3. Hinders advancement:negative attitude may cost an employee promotions and lead to the employee also losing out on allocation important jobs and duties.
  4. Risk your job security:On the extreme, a negative attitude may lead to loss of one’s job. Employers require people with positive attitude who ensure growth of the company
  5. Performance level tends to go down: Having a bad attitude can have a huge effect on the business or the workplace you are in. Negative attitudes always have a bad effect on the performance causing employees to become unhappy and pathetic. Mistakes will show up more often and the output will also be low.


K.N.E.C Exam Questions

  1. State 3 organizational factors that may contribute to the development of attitude among employees in an organization (3 marks)
  2. Highlight 4 signs of negative attitude towards work among employees in an organization (8 marks)
  3. Explain 4 ways in which attitude may positively contribute to the working life of employees (8 marks)
  4. Outline 3 ways through which the management of an organization may change the attitude of its employees (3 marks)
  5. Explain 6 effects of a positive attitude among employees in an organization (9 marks)
  6. State 3 personal factors that may influence the formation of an individual’s attitude (3 marks)
  7. Highlight 4 techniques that may be used by public relations practitioners to change the attitude of a target audience (8 marks)
  8. State 3 techniques that a public relations assistant may use to assess the attitudes of the publics of an organization (3 marks)
  9. outline 4 techniques that can be used to change the attitude of employees in an organization (8 marks)

(Visited 1,179 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *