"Perception" is defined as the "process by which individuals select, organize, and interpret the input from their senses to give meaning and order to the world around them" Components of perception include the perceiver, target of perception, and the situation.
Factors that influence the perceiver:
Schema: organization and interpretation of information based on past experiences and knowledge
Motivational state: needs, values, and desires of a perceiver at the time of perception
Mood: emotions of the perceiver at the time of perception
Factors that influence the target:
Ambiguity: a lack of clarity. If ambiguity increases, the perceiver may find it harder to form an accurate perception
Social status: a person's real or perceived position in society or in an organization
Impression management: an attempt to control the perceptions or impressions of others. Targets are likely to use impression management tactics when interacting with perceivers who have power over them. Several impression management tactics include behavioral matching between the target of perception and the perceiver, self-promotion presenting one's self in a positive light, conforming to situational norms, appreciating others, or being consistent.
The phrase "perception management" is filtering into common use as a synonym for "persuasion." Public relations firms now offer "perception management" as one of their services. Similarly, public officials who are being accused of shading the truth are now frequently charged with engaging in "perception management" when disseminating information to media or to the general public.
Although perception management operations are typically carried out within the international arena between governments, and between governments and citizens, use of perception management techniques have become part of mainstream information management systems in many ways that do not concern military campaigns or government relations with citizenry. Businesses may even contract with other businesses to conduct perception management for them, or they may conduct it in-house with their public relations staff.
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