Factors that Influence Perception in the Workplace

Factors that Influence Perception in the Workplace
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  • 0:05 We All Have Perceptions
  • 1:14 Two Viewpoints on Perception
  • 2:34 What Influences Perception
  • 4:17 Workplace Perception
  • 5:02 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rob Wengrzyn
Perception is something that each of us deals with. It has long been said that perception is reality, and in many ways it is. In this lesson we will discuss how factors that influence perception can impact our workplace.

We All Have Perceptions

Let's take a moment to mess with your mind a little. Don't worry; it won't be anything serious, just a little exercise to help me make a point.

Image of a woman or a face?
We All Have Perceptions

Take a look at this picture of someone walking past a tree in the outdoors. You can see it's a woman with a long skirt and there are some buildings in the back portion of the picture. She is framed on one side by a tree that is bare and on the other by one that seems to have branches and leaves on it.

Now, look at the picture again and tell me if you see a face in the picture. Can you see the two eyes and the woman now is the nose of the picture with the tree to the right framing out the right side of the face and the tree to the left framing out the other side?

What we have just done is altered your perception of this image. (Okay, it was nothing groundbreaking, but I think you get the point). You see, perception is a very interesting facet of life and business. How we perceive our world and how we think our world perceives us can dictate how we act and how we respond in certain situations. Thus, perception, or apprehending by means of the senses or the mind, can be a very powerful and influential aspect of our lives. It can direct our actions and our thoughts, which in many ways guide who we are as individuals.

Two Viewpoints on Perception

It has long been said that perception is reality, and I happen to believe that. What is not discussed though is that when we are talking about the act of perception, we have a perceiver, or a person who becomes aware of things or events through their senses, and the perceived, which is the target individual or situation that is being viewed and influences our thought patterns of perception. These two aspects work with and against each other to form a perception in our minds. To help grasp these concepts, let me give you some examples.

A person (the perceiver) might perceive a manager (the target) and expect him to speak with an authoritative tone of voice because he's an authority figure. Thus, our perception of the person is already being formed before they even open their mouth. Now, let us say that when the manager does speak, he speaks in a very high and shrill tone of voice. Our target (the manager) is not conforming to our perception (remember, we are the perceiver) of how we think they should sound.

Note, this has no bearing on how the manager does his job or what type of person he is, but we will indeed look at this person differently because they do not fit with our perception of how they should sound. It can be argued that we could perceive the manager as not being a real manager, as they do not fit our perception.

What Influences Perception

There are any numbers of factors that can influence perception, and they are grouped into three main areas:

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