Meta-Perception of Employees: A Study of Selected Private Universities in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh

By Sunny, Nita; Sharma, Sakshi | IUP Journal of Organizational Behavior, October 2018 | Go to article overview

Meta-Perception of Employees: A Study of Selected Private Universities in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh


Sunny, Nita, Sharma, Sakshi, IUP Journal of Organizational Behavior


Introduction

Imagine if one could understand what is going on in another person's mind. One does try to comprehend if the other person is saying the truth or a lie and speculate what thoughts wander through their head (Eyal and Epley, 2010). Individuals like to latch onto somebody's head and to know what the other person is thinking about them. Since one is not able to do that, one assesses and interprets the sensory inputs received. This is called perception, with which one interprets the world around. In trying to interpret the world around, one forms opinions of inanimate objects, living things, friends, family members, society, etc., and also of oneself. The concern of the present study is solely of opinions formed about oneself by others, which is meta-perception, a term coined by Laing etal. (1966). The idea that people see themselves through the eyes of other people and incorporate others' view into their self-concepts was first referred to as the Looking Glass Self by Cooley (1902). Research confirms that we form an idea of how others deem us by first working out how we think of ourselves and then deduce from it (Eyal and Epley, 2010).

Meta-perception is a concept that is usually used in day-to-day life knowingly or unknowingly. Meta-perception is the opinion an employee forms about himself/herself based on how one's supervisor perceives him/her. In an organizational setting, meta-perception is of immense importance. While working in an organization what one's supervisor thinks about his/her subordinate is a critical factor. The perception of one's supervisor may have a profound effect on the performance of the employee. This may further have an impact on the organizational commitment of the employee. Meta-perception can either be a motivating or de-motivating factor for the concerned employee. However, the influence meta-perception has on an employee may also depend on the personality of an individual.

Faculty members in higher educational institutions are constantly observed and analyzed by their respective superiors on various aspects like quality of classroom teaching, handling of student-related issues, personality, activities undertaken other than teaching and so on. The perception of the supervisor may have profound effect on the faculty member. If the faculty forms the perception that the supervisor sees him/her as someone who lacks the necessary skills required in the industry, it may start affecting their performance. These individuals may start feeling stuck in their jobs which can further reduce their organizational commitment. However, the effect of this meta-perception may not be the same for all individuals. It can vary from person to person and thus may depend on the personality of the individual.

Literature Review

Meta-Perception

Meta-perception is the insight one has about himself/herself as thought out by another person. Here the concern is with the perception that people have of the targets perception of the perceiver (Kenny, 2002). Meta-perception is a widely researched topic in psychology, however, rarely used in management. Meta-perception has dynamic effect on people's thoughts as to what others think of them and helps make decisions as to whom to make friends with, whom to marry, whom to make professional associations, etc. (Carlson and Oltmanns, 2015).

Literature review suggests that people have some knowledge of what others think of them, although it may not be an accurate knowledge but a generalized view of what most others think of them (Carlson and Oltmanns, 2015). Kenny and DePaulo's (1993) study concluded that people's thinking of what others think of them is based on their own perceptions.

Developmental psychologists have shown that infants enter the world ready to parse and scrutinize one another's behavior in terms of underlying intentions (Ames, 2004). By the time people are adults, they have become experts in adopting such an "intentional stance" toward one another's acts reading unseen goals into arcs of ordinary behavior, and performing fluid if fallible co-variation across episodes of action to intuit a person's intentions (Ames, 2004). …

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