Attitude is the mental state of individuals, which tends to act or respond or is ready to respond for or against objects, situations, etc. with which their vested feelings or effect, interest, liking, desire and so on are directly or indirectly linked or associated.
Attitude is an enduring evaluation—positive or negative—of people, objects, and ideas. Thus, attitudes are evaluative statements or judgments concerning objects, people, or events.
Attitude has three components—cognition, affection, and behaviour of people. A particular attitude of a person can be based on one component or the other.
Cognitive-based attitude is primarily based on beliefs and properties of an attitudinal object. Cognitive component of an attitude is the opinion or belief segment of an attitude.
Cognitive dissonance theory helps us to trace any incompatibility between two or more attitudes or between behaviour and attitudes.
Affection-based attitude stems from people’s feelings (e.g., attitudes towards political candidates). Affective component is the emotion or feeling segment of an attitude.
Behaviour-based attitude is based on the self-perception of one’s own behaviour when the initial attitude is weak or ambiguous.
Behavioural component of an attitude is an intention to behave in a certain way towards someone or something.
The affection-behaviour (A- B) relationship acts as moderating variables (i.e., importance, specificity, accessibility, social pressures, and direct experience). The self-perception theory uses attitudes after the event, to make sense out of an action taken.
For organizational behaviour, the people’s attitude is especially significant, as job satisfaction, job involvement, and organizational commitment largely stem from an individual employee’s attitude.
Job satisfaction refers to the general attitude of employees towards their job. Job involvement helps in psychological identification of people with their job, while organizational commitment is the degree to which an employee identifies with a particular organization and its goals, and wishes to maintain membership in the organization.
In an organization, people seek consistency among their attitudes and seek to reconcile with divergent attitudes in order to appear rational and consistent.
An attitudinal change in a person takes place with change in the behaviour. The cognitive dissonance theory facilitates change of attitude through behavioural reinforcement. Persuasive communication and focus on a particular issue facilitate such change of attitude.
Haviland et al. proposed the Yale Attitude Change Model, which suggests study of conditions under which people are most likely to change their attitudes.
These conditions are source of communication (i.e., credible speaker), nature of communication, and the nature of audience, etc.