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Social Information Processing: Definition and Importance in Job Design

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  • 0:07 Social Information Processing
  • 1:12 Co-Worker's Views
  • 2:06 Outsider's Views
  • 3:02 Internal Self Views
  • 3:43 Employer's Views
  • 4:32 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lombardo
Social information processing (also known as SIP) is a job design model where significant job factors depend on interpersonal views, or what others tell an employee about the job. This model is based on how outsiders influence the opinion of workers and their feelings about job tasks, responsibilities and motivation.

Social Information Processing

Al is the owner of Fab-Al-ous Used Cars. He is in constant need to hire new salespeople because most employees do not last long. Lately, though, Al has been able to retain three of his newest car sale representatives. What is his secret? He has adopted the use of social information processing (SIP).

SIP is a job design model where significant job factors depend on interpersonal views, or what others tell an employee about the job. Al has realized how important it is to talk positively about the positions at his used car dealership. Employee attitudes and behaviors are affected by what other people say, view and think about his employees' jobs. In fact, studies have shown that new or recently promoted employees are more vulnerable to other people's views of their job. To make employees feel better, Al has studied the social information processing theory and utilized all four parts with his employees.

Co-worker's Views

The first aspect of the model is that other people provide cues to employees about their work situation, such as co-worker's views. This means that employees pay attention to what other people perceive about their job. This is important for managers to understand.

For example, Al has an uphill battle staffing his sales positions. Most of his employees are ridiculed by their family and friends about working as a used car salesperson. In addition, the other co-workers in finance and mechanics feel that most salespeople are uneducated and poke fun at them. Al had to train his other employees to have a welcoming, positive attitude with the salespeople. He also tried to make the job seem more prestigious by offering sales bonuses, trips and other awards, so that the salespeople could feel better about their job around their families and friends.

Outsider's Views

The second aspect of the model is that outsider's views (or other people) help employees judge what is important about their jobs. Al constantly provides feedback to his sales team about what is important regarding their jobs. They need to strive for professionalism, develop a good networking system of referrals and, of course, sell cars. Outside influences from family and friends can also deem certain aspects of the job important.

Tony is one of Al's new sales reps. His family and friends tell Tony that having a mechanic connection is important, as is his ability to take home and try new cars. When Al discovered this, he made sure to offer 30% discounts on all employees' friends' and families' cars who need mechanic work. In addition, he allowed the sales team to take home a new car every month instead of every three months. These changes have improved the morale and productivity of his newest sales members.

Internal Self Views

The third aspect of the model is called internal self views, which means that people tell employees how to view their jobs. Al has heard his entire life that a used car salesperson is slimy, unethical and unprofessional. He knows that his employees will hear the same negative comments as well.

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