Essay on Cognitive dissonance theory

Submitted By handful2005
Words: 2278
Pages: 10

CJ421: Organizational Behavior in Criminal Justice Organizations

Mid-Tem Assignment
Analyze issues related to human behavior in Criminal Justice organizations.

Written by Lloyd A. Pratt
Due at the end of unit 5
Submitted to Professor Russell Brown

Every individual in the world has some unique qualities that set them apart from another person. We as individuals are all unique in our life style, hobbies, interests, likes and dislikes and many other characteristics; including how we portrait it is very different from another person. Even members of a same family will have some unique characters or personality that differentiate them others. This is why it is very difficult to predict the behavior of an individual without understand them; therefore, we need to study their thoughts in order to understand more about a person’s behavior. It is very important to gain a greater understanding of those factors that influence individual and group dynamics in an organizational setting so that individuals, the groups, and organizations to which they belong may become more efficient and effective. Many researchers have aimed at providing an understanding the factors that influence attitudes and behaviors including individuals and group behavior (Stephen P. Robbins & Timothy A. Judge, 2009).
However, in order to understand human behavior or attitudes, we must understand the social learning theory. The social learning theory is a discipline of psychology that attempts to explain how an individual (organism) learns. This theory consists of many different theories of learning, including instincts, social facilitation, observation, formal teaching, memory, mimicry, and classical and operant conditioning. According to the social learning theory, people learn by observing others’ behavior, attitudes, and outcomes of those behaviors. Therefore, most behaviors are learned observationally through modeling: from observing others, one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action. Social learning theory explains human behavior in terms of continuous reciprocal interaction between cognitive, behavioral, and environmental influences (J.E.Ormard, 1999).

Early researchers on organizational behavior ultimately aimed at providing an answer to whether behaviors always follow from attitudes. Researchers of early days assumed that attitudes and behaviors were causally related; therefore, the attitudes people hold determine what they do. However, Leon Festinger challenged this assumption, and argued that attitude following behavior illustrate the effects of cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance refers to any incompatibility an individual might perceive between two or more attitudes or between behavior and attitudes. According to Festinger, “any form of inconsistency is uncomfortable and that individuals will attempt to reduce dissonance and hence the discomfort. They will seek a stable state, in which there is a minimum of dissonance (Stephen P. Robbins & Timothy A. Judge, 2009)”.
Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously; and proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and actions. Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming, and denying. It is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology. This theory links actions and attitudes. It holds that dissonance is experienced whenever a cognition that a person holds follows from the opposite of at least one other cognition that the person holds. The magnitude of dissonance is directly proportional to the number of discrepant cognitions and inversely proportional to the number of consonant cognitions that a person has. The relative weight of any discrepant or consonant element is a function of its importance. Therefore, induced compliance leads