According to Robbins, perception can be defined as ‘a process by which individuals organise and interpret their sensory impressions in order to give meaning to their environment’ (2004, p. 132). Perception is not necessarily based on reality, but is merely a perspective from a particular individual’s view of a situation. In dealing with the concept of organisational behaviour, perception becomes important because ‘people’s behaviour is based on their perception of what reality is, not on reality itself; the world as it is perceived is the world that is behaviourally important’ (Robbins et al 2004, p.132).
Factors influencing a person’s perception can be broken down into three main categories. These include: the situation, the perceiver and the target. For example, the factors in the situation may include: time, work setting, or social setting. Where as the factors in the perceiver may include: attitudes, motives, interests, experiences and expectations. Lastly, the factors in the target may include: novelty, motion, sounds, size background, proximity, and similarity (Robbins et al 2004, p. 132).
Perception affects our working relationships in many ways relating to the factors of organisational behaviour, such as: individual, group or structure. For example, based on the situation, perceiver and target we may have the perception that the people we are working with are no good at their job, and therefore we may tend to avoid working with them, in fear of being held responsible for their mistakes, and in doing so, affecting our working relationship with our team members, and ultimately, the effectiveness and efficiency of the organisation. Alternatively, it may affect the group within the organisation by the way they medically treat people who have come from a specific lower socio-economical suburb, based on their overall prejudice against people who live in the lower socio-economical suburb. Alternatively, it can affect the structural perception of the organisation Nepean Hospital and in doing so, lead to possibly negative health outcomes. For example, based on the structural and group perception that all drug addicts are after opioids (such as morphine or fentanyl) when they come to hospital a doctor or nurse may overlook a fundamental presenting symptom of the patient, by assuming that they are after opioids and not perform further diagnostic techniques. This may result in the negative health outcomes of the patient (organisational ineffectiveness).