What is Attitude?

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What is Attitude?

Attitude is defined as a more or less stable set of predispositions of opinion, interest or purpose involving expectancy of a certain kind of experience and readiness with an appropriate response.

Attitudes are also known as “frames of reference“. They provide the background against which facts and events are viewed.

what is attitude
what is attitude

Attitude Definition

Attitudes are evaluation statements either favourable or unfavourable or unfavourable concerning objects, people or events. They reflect how one feels about something.


Attitude is a mental and neutral state of readiness organized through experience, exerting a directive or dynamic influence upon individual’s response to all objects and situations with which it is related.

G.W. Allport

 Attitude as an enduring organization of motivational, emotional, perceptual and cognitive processes with respect to some aspect of the individual’s world.

Krech and Crutchfield

Attitude is a tendency or predisposition to evaluate an object or symbol of that object in a certain way.

Katz and Scotland

Attitude Meaning

In simple words, an “attitude” is an individual’s way of looking or an individual’s point of view at something.

To be more specific, an “attitude” may be defined as the mental state of an individual, which prepares him to react or make him behave in a particular pre-determined way. It is actually an acquired feeling.

Attitude is the mixture of beliefs and feelings that people have about situations, specific ideas or other people.

Read: What is Organizational Behavior?

Components of Attitude

  1. Cognitive component
  2. Affective component
  3. Behavioral component
Components of Attitude
Components of Attitude

Cognitive component

Cognitive component of attitude is associated with the value statement. It consists of values, belief, ideas and other information that a person may have faith in.

Example: Quality of sincere hard is a faith or value statement that a manager may have.

Affective component

Affective component of attitude is associated with individual feelings about another person, which may be positive, neutral or negative.

Example: I don’t like Sam because he is not honest, or I like Sam because he is sincere. It is an expression of feelings about a person, object or a situation.

Behavioral component

Behavioral component of attitude is associated with the impact of various condition or situations that lead to person behavior based on cognitive and affective components.

Example: I don’t like Sam because he is not honest is an affective component, I, therefore, would like to disassociate myself with him, is a behavioural component and therefore I would avoid Sam.

Cognitive and affective components are bases for such behaviour. Former two components cannot be seen, only the behaviour component can be seen. Former is important because it is a base for the formation of attitude.

Read: Vroom’s Expectancy Theory of Motivation

Characteristics of Attitudes

Characteristics of attitudes are discussed below:

  • Attitude is predispositions of purpose, interest or opinion of the person to assess some objects in a favourable or an unfavourable manner.

  • Attitude are different from values: Values are the ideals, whereas attitudes are narrow, they are our feelings.

  • Attitude are evaluative statements: either favourable or unfavourable concerning the objects, people or events.

  • Attitude influence human behavior: A positive attitude towards a thing will influence human behavior towards the thing favorably and vice-versa.

  • Attitude have intensity: It refers to the strength of the effective component. For example, we may dislike an individual but the extent of our disliking would determine the intensity of our attitude towards the person.

Functions of Attitude

Four important functions of attitude which are crucial in organizational behavior viewpoint are:

  1. Adjustment Function
  2. Ego-Defensive Function
  3. Value-Expressive Function
  4. Knowledge Function

Adjustment Function

Attitudes often help individuals to adjust to their work environment.

Example: Well-treated employees tend to develop a positive attitude towards their management or job.

Ego-Defensive Function

Attitudes help people to retain their self- image and dignity.

Example: Older faculty might feel somewhat threatened by a young and new faculty member who is full of fresh ideas and enthusiasm

Value-Expressive Function

Attitudes provide individuals with a basis for expressing their values.

Example, a manager who values honest and sincere work will be more vocal against an employee who is having a very casual approach towards work.

Knowledge Function

Attitudes provide frames of reference or standard that allow individuals to understand and perceive the world around him.

Example, If a student has a strong negative attitude towards the college, whatever the college does, the student will be perceived as something ‘bad’ and as actually against them.

Read: What is Motivation?

Types of Attitude

There are broadly three types of attitude in term of organisational behavior

  1. Job satisfaction
  2. Job involvement
  3. Organizational commitment

Job satisfaction

A collection of positive and/or negative feelings that an individual holds toward his or her job.

A person will hold a positive attitude if had a high level of satisfaction, while dissatisfied people will generally display a negative attitude towards life.

When we talk about attitude, we generally speak about job satisfaction because they are inter-related in organizational behaviour.

Job involvement

Job involvement refers to the degree to which a person identifies himself (psychologically) with his job, actively participates and considers his perceived performance level important to self-worth. (Robbins)

Higher job satisfaction leads to low absenteeism & employee turnover and indicates that the individual cares for his job.

Organizational commitment

Organizational commitment refers to a degree to which an employee identifies himself with the organizational goals and wishes to maintain membership in the organization.

Resigning from the job or absenting versus job satisfaction is a predictor of organizational commitment. Organizational commitment depends upon the degree of autonomy & freedom job and job enrichment factor.

Read: What is Attitude?

Attitude Formation

The question often arises, ‘how are the attitudes and subsequent behaviors formed?’ While attitudes are basically learned over the years, some inherited characteristics do affect such attitudes

Some of the learned characteristics responsible for attitude formation are:

  • Experiences: Our personal experiences with people and situations develop our attitude towards such persons and situations.

    Through job experience, people develop attitudes towards working conditions, salaries, supervision, group dynamics and so on.

  • Perceptual biases: Perception is the result of a complex interaction of various senses such as feelings, seeing, hearing and so on and plays an important part in our attitude and behavioural formation.

    For example, if a manager perceives a subordinate’s ability as limited, he will give him limited responsibility. Similarly, we lose many good friends due to our changed perception about them.

  • Observation of the other person’s attitude: When we like someone, we try to emulate that person’s attitude.

    For example, when we are impressed by someone keeping calm under stressful circumstances and we appreciate such calmness, we might try to do the same.

  • Association: Our association with the group we belong to strongly influences our attitude. Our close association with a group would encourage us to be consistent with the attitude of the group.

  • Personality: Personality is a set of traits and characteristics, habit patterns and conditioned responses to certain stimuli that formulate the impression that a person makes upon others and this impression is a function of a person’s attitude.

Importance of Attitude

An expert knows that a positive attitude is necessary for successful completion of a project or an assigned task. Having a positive attitude with positive thinking in the organization will reflect on what employee do and make them a more productive employee.

Importance of attitude in organisational behavior

Employees with a positive attitude will create a healthy atmosphere in the organization, develop positive relations with sub-ordinates, their supervisors, managers and top management. A positive attitude has significant benefits for an individual in many aspects.

Importance of Attitude in an Organization

Following are the aspects related to the importance of attitude:

  1. Career success
  2. Productivity
  3. Leadership
  4. Teamwork
  5. Decision making
  6. Motivation
  7. Interpersonal relations
  8. Stress management

Career success

Performance is a parameter to measure employees‘ success in the workplace. Performance leads to success either through promotion or increased compensation. A positive attitude of an employee will help him to think of ways to accomplish their task in a well-defined manner


An employee with a positive attitude tends to take more interest and responsibility and will provide better work, which in turn will improve productivity.


Managing a diverse workforce is a crucial task for achieving the objective of an organization. Positive attitude demonstrated by leaders or employee will result in proper communication between the subordinate which will lead to efficient work.


A positive attitude of employees helps to appreciate each other‘s competencies and work as a team for achieving common objectives.

Decision making

An employee with a positive attitude and mindset will help employees to make better decisions, in an objective manner. It will enable employees to choose wisely and logically and avoid them to take an unambiguous decision.


Motivation is an important factor for efficient work. An employee with a positive attitude will always be mentally prepared to face any obstacle in a job. The moment they are successful in overcoming obstacles, they are motivated to move forward.

Interpersonal relations

Customers prefer to make relation with someone who is positive in nature. A positive attitude helps in establishing valuable customer loyalty.

Stress management

Positive attitude and thinking will reduce the stress of an employee and with reduced stress employee can take a better decision and increase their productivity which results, employees, to enjoy better health and take fewer sick leaves.

Read: What is Learning?

Theories of Attitude

  1. Balance Theory
  2. Congruity Theory
  3. Affective Cognitive Consistency Theory
  4. Cognitive Dissonance Theory

Lets discuss these 4 theories of attitude in brief:

Balance Theory

Balance Theory is concerned with consistency in the judgement of people and or issues that are linked by some form of relationship.

There are three elements:

  • Person
  • Other person
  • Impersonal entity

There are two types of relationship to connect these three types of elements

  1. The linking relations or sentiments
  2. The unit relation

Both linking and unit relations are positive or negative towards any object or person or stimuli etc. or these three types of elements.

Congruity Theory

Congruity theory is similar to balance theory. The focus of the theory is on changes in evolution of a source and a concept that are linked by an associative or dissociative assertion.

Congruity exists when a source and concept positively associated have exactly the same evaluation, and when a source and concept that are negatively associated have exactly the opposite evaluation attached to him.

Affective Cognitive Consistency Theory

The theory is also called structural because it is concerned with what happens within the individual when an attitude changes.

It is concerned with the consistency between a person’s overall attitude towards an object or issue and its his beliefs about the relationship.

Cognitive structure means end relationship between the object or issue and the achievement of desired undesired values of goals.

Cognitive Dissonance Theory

It is little-bit similar to affective cognitive theory. The difference between these two is that the stimuli arise from environment in the first one.

This theory tends to tie in the third component of attitude. There are three types of cognitions: 1. Dissonance 2.

Go to Section:

What is Attitude? | Attitude Definition | Attitude Meaning | Components of Attitude | Characteristics of Attitudes | Functions of Attitude | Types of Attitude | Attitude Formation | Importance of Attitude | Theories of Attitude


  1. Robbins, Stephen P. 2010. Organizational Behaviour. New Delhi: Prentice-Hall.
  2. Anderson, M., 2004. The Power of Attitude, Thomas Nelson.


What is Attitude?

Attitude is defined as a more or less stable set of predispositions of opinion, interest or purpose involving expectancy of a certain kind of experience and readiness with an appropriate response.

Article Include:
Attitude Definition
Attitude Meaning
Components of Attitude
Characteristics of Attitudes
Functions of Attitude
Types of Attitude
Attitude Formation
Importance of Attitude
Theories of Attitude

What is Personality?

Personality is the fundamental and foremost determinant of individual behaviour. It seeks to integrate the physiological and psychological facets of an individual to put them into action.

Read Complete Article:
1. Personality Meaning
2. Personality Definition
3. Personality in Organisational Behavior
5. Determinants of Personality
6. Personality Characteristics
7. Theories of Personality
8. Nature of Personality

Theories of Personality

Psychoanalytic Theory
Type Theories
Trait Theories
Self Theory

What is Learning?

Learning can be defined as a relatively permanent change in behaviour or potential behaviour as a result of direct or indirect experience. Learning is thus a change in behaviour as a result of experience.

Article Include:
1. Learning Definition
2. Meaning of Learning
3. Nature of Learning
4. Types of Learners
5. Types of Learners
6. Learning Process
7. Principles for Learning
8. Factors Affecting Learning
9. Application of Learning

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