Question 1: Stages of social information processing model
Social Information Processing involves obtaining information from other people in order to form an interpersonal impression of who they are. The four stages of Social Information Processing Model include selective attention and comprehension, encoding and simplification, storage and retention, and retrieval and response. These stages are discussed below.
Selective attention and comprehension is the stage where one becomes aware of something or someone based on certain stimuli factors (Kinicki & Fugate, 2012). This process is selective as one responds to stimuli that are salient to his or her needs. Encoding and simplification involves interpretation of the environmental stimuli in order to establish their meaning and implications. According to Kinicki & Fugate (2012), interpretation of stimuli is based on previously developed cognitive theories and schema. Cognitive theories enable one to classify, simplify and differentiate different people or objects while schema provides general ideas about a given situation.
Storage and retention involves keeping the encoded information into long term memory. After information has been classified, simplified and distinguished, it is stored in a person’s memory from which it can be retrieved. Retrieval and response involve accessing information from the memory in order to make judgments about particular situations.
Social Information Processing process can be illustrated using the following example. Thirty years ago, an organization introduced a training program for its employees to help it cope up with technological changes. Employees who did not participate in the training were retrenched. If the organization tries to reintroduce the program, old employees (30 years or more in the organization) will resist the program as they associate it with retrenchment. On the other hand, new employees will embrace the program in order to improve their job skills. Acceptance of this program by new employees may help change the old cognitive theories and the old employees may accept the training program with time.
Question 2: Perception errors
- Primacy effect: This occurs where ones opinion of people is based on the first information he or she forms about them (Martin & Fellenz, 2010). In this case, a person is evaluated based on first impression. For instance, in an interview, a good candidate who shows up late and does exceptionally well throughout the interview process may not be hired if assessor’s selection is based on first impression.
- Recency effect: This occurs when the most recent information forms the basis of our perception of other people. For instance, a manager evaluates an employee based on the employee’s most recent performance. This may be erroneous as an employee who has not been doing well for long but does well in his or her most recent assignment will have a high rating.
Perception may lead to an organization hiring the wrong candidate. For instance if a candidate is evaluated based on first impression, an exemplary candidate will not be hired if he/she fumbles at the beginning of the interview even if he/she does exceptionally well throughout the rest of the interview. Similarly, a candidate who shows up on time for the interview and does well during the interview but says a negative thing towards the end of the interview will not be hired if the assessor’s perception is based on the most recent information.
Kinicki, A., & Fugate, M. (2012). Organizational behavior: key concepts, skills & best practices (5th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.
Martin, J., & Fellenz, M. R. (2010). Organizational behaviour & management (4th ed.). London: Suth-Western, Cengage Learning EMEA.