Discussion Response – perception and attribution

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The purpose of this discussion assignment is for you to describe how perception and attribution have impacted organizational decision-making within your industry. You may choose to present these effects on individual, group, and/or organizational decision-making.

Use any relevant sources (industry or other, along with the Bolman, Deal text) to determine the details of how your organization or industry has been impacted by perception and attribution related to the symbolic frame.

Think about this week’s readings that focused on the symbolic frame. Describe how perception and attribution related to the symbolic frame affect decision-making within your organization or industry at the individual, group, and/or strategic level. Provide both positive and negative impacts.

In your response to a class peer, based on your own experiences and what your peers have shared, identify and explain opportunities to increase and strengthen the positive impacts and decrease negative impacts.

APA formatting, proper in-text citations, and references are required as applicable.

Robbins and Judge (2018) discussed the notion of perception and attribution with respect to decision making in this week’s readings. This sentiment is echoed by Bolman and Deal (2017) demonstrated by the symbolic frame and how this can be used to create meaning and guide organizations. Within the context of the craft brewing industry, there is no shortage of the symbolic, and one tool which effective organizations employ is that of storytelling.

Craft breweries often employ storytelling to evoke a sense of purpose in employees as well as establishing strong relations with customers. It is often perceived as the David versus Goliath mentality which permeates throughout the industry. Using the symbolic can be very effective at indoctrinating employees while creating a connection with stakeholders. This can have an impact on communicating organizational values, guiding direction and impacting perception and decision making. Jones and Comfort (2019) outlined the powerful use of storytelling by breweries often incorporating tales of their founder, employee pride, and history as an effective communication strategy. In the craft brewing industry this perception of being the underdog and the stories which flow through the organization influence daily decision making. Everything from the type of events to support, who to hire, and generally how to behave. Leaders are concerned with passion, creating strong bonds and ensuring decisions fit with the organization’s purpose. As Bolman and Deal (2018) outlined, the symbolic leader is “sensitive to an organization’s history and culture” (p.321) and uses “traditions and values as a base of building culture” (p.321). This leads to the concept and use of traditions and rituals within the industry.

The craft brewing industry has a long-standing tradition of rituals among brewers. Bolman and Deal (2017) provide an example regarding greenhorns who must be inducted through ritual when joining a group. This is similar to what typically goes on in the brewing industry. The most junior brewer, typically the assistant brewer, gets assigned many of the dirty and mundane tasks, until the next person to join becomes the greenhorn. A sort of initiation to prove worthiness before being fully accepted by the group. It is simply how things are done and expected in the craft beer industry. Although primitive in nature, it is done in good spirit and comradery and establishes a good bond between the brewers. The use of special language with unique brewing related terms also seems to solidify the group and create strong bonds within the organization. As Bolman and Deal (2017) demonstrated, it gives a sense of centering and peace in an otherwise chaotic environment. Similar to the example provided of the air force pilot saluting the ground crew before a flight. These small and seemingly trivial actions, reinforce the culture and essence of the organization. A daily reminder of why people are there and what they are doing, which will have an impact on perception and decision making.

One negative aspect of the symbolic in decision making related to Bolman and Deal’s (2017) view of organizations as theatre and the concept of isomorphism. The notion that a craft brewery must look like what a craft brewery should and ought to look like. Daily examples relate to the general culture, operations, physical layout, to even the product offerings. Craft breweries are offering so many similar products, such as IPA’s (Patrick 2019) with an increasing number of legal disputes over similar brand names (Bland 2015) making the landscape for craft beer oversaturated and seemingly similar. It would seem apparent that the symbolic frame and perception within the craft brewing industry has influenced and impacted decision making both in positive and negative ways.

Bland, Alaistair (2015, January 5). Craft Brewers Are Running Out Of Names, And Into Legal

Spats. Retrieved from: https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/01/05/369445171/craft-brewers-are-running-out-of-names-and-into-legal-spats

Bolman, L.G., & Deal, T.E. (2017). Reframing Organizations. (6th ed.) New Jersey, Jossey-


Jones, P., & Comfort, D. (2019). An Interpretative Analysis of Storytelling in the Beverage

Industry. Athens Journal of Tourism, 6(3), 141-154.

Patrick, James (2019, October 28). California’s older breweries look for an edge as beer

industry feels the pinch. Retrieved from: https://www.sacbee.com/food-drink/beer/article236607168.html

Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2018). Essentials of Organizational Behavior. (14th ed.). New

York, Pearson.

Readings & Resources

Bolman, L.G., & Deal, T.E. (2017). Reframing Organizations. (6th ed.) San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.

  • Chapter 12: Organizational Symbols and Culture
  • Chapter 13: Culture in Action
  • Chapter 14: Organization as Theater
  • Chapter 16: Reframing in Action: Opportunities and Perils

This week we are jumping ahead to Part Five (we will go back to Part Four in Week 5). These chapters explore the importance of organizational symbolism and the art of developing desired perceptions and alternate approaches.

Optional Resources:

The text below is only supplemental and the readings in this book are completely optional. This book is helpful if you have been away from the world of organizational behavior for a long time and need a refresher on terms, concepts, etc… These chapters explain how structure, culture, and change contribute to organizational behavior. This chapter focuses on paving a path to more innovative individual decision making that will produce optimized results instead of those that just satisfice.

Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2018). Essentials of Organizational Behavior. (14th ed.). New York, Pearson.

  • Chapter 6: Perception and Individual Decision Making