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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Psychological Phenomenons For Workplace

In this blog post we are going to talk about Psychological Phenomenons which can be applied or can be useful at workplace.


Diffusion of responsibility

Have you ever been part of meetings where there are 5 or more people in the room or on a conference call but only 1 or 2 of them are really taking the ownership or responsibility of the issue being discussed?

While taking ownership may be a leadership trait which everyone may not be able to display but what is seen missing is the participation. In meetings where there are large number of participants the Psychological Phenomenon of Diffusion of responsibility comes into play whereby a person is less likely to taking responsibility of action or inaction when others are present. Primary reason why this happens is because specific role and responsibility is not assigned to the individuals attending the meeting. This is less likely to happen when the group of people is comprised of 3 or less people and would rarely occur when the person is alone.

According to Wikipedia
The bystander effect, or bystander apathy, is a social psychological phenomenon that refers to cases in which individuals do not offer any means of help to a victim when other people are present. The probability of help is inversely related to the number of bystanders. In other words, the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one of them will help. Several variables help to explain why the bystander effect occurs. These variables include: ambiguitycohesiveness and diffusion of responsibility
 As a project manager or a leader of the group, one needs to take responsibility of identifying if such scenarios exist and then take action towards resolving such issues. This helps to improve overall productivity and creates an environment where people take ownership and responsibility of their action or inaction.


Contrast Effect

Accordingly to Wikipedia
contrast effect is the enhancement or diminishment, relative to normal, of perceptioncognition or related performance as a result of successive (immediately previous) or simultaneous exposure to a stimulus of lesser or greater value in the same dimension.
Lets understand it. 
For instance, if you are exposed to an object(X) of a particular value, after being exposed to an object of considerably lower value, you perceive X's value higher than its actual value.
OR
if you are exposed to an object(Y) of a particular value, after being exposed to an object of considerably higher value, you perceive X's value lower than its actual value.

Example 1:
At workplace, if you want to demand X amount of salary hike to your employer, you may instead want to ask for X + (10% of X) so that when negotiating X sounds a bit less than the amount you actually asked for. The inverse of it is also true and is widely used by the employers.

Example 2:
Boss: Your performance is not up to the expectations. You may be fired in this appraisal cycle.
Employee: Oh no! Boss, please don't fire me. Please find a way out.
Boss: Ah, okay. Let me see what I can do. But for now this 2% RAISE won't seem so bad.

Now that we have understood the tricks of the trade, what we need to do is focus on our mental strength. Understanding what we need and deserve as an employee or as an employer is of utmost importance. If we are genuine and smart we should be able to negotiate the right deal from either side of the table.

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