What is Attitude?

Attitude is the psychological attribute of a person which defines a person’s behaviour. It refers to a person’s constant and firm tendency to feel and behave in a certain way towards any person, situation, idea, event or object. It has a huge impact on the perception of the person, which ultimately influences the behaviour.

Attitude develops a person’s point of view and way of looking at a situation. It prepares him to react and behave in a certain way. It is a combination of beliefs and feelings, which people have about specific ideas.

In simple words, attitude is the person’s bent of mind towards a subject or object which can be shown in their likings and dislikings. It can be developed by learning. Further, attitude is the combination of beliefs and interests.

  • It is a complex state of mind which encompasses beliefs, feelings and values to behave in a specific way.
  • Associated with the feelings and beliefs of a person.
  • It undergoes changes.
  • It is a previously formed opinion, predetermined on the basis of past experiences.
  • Learned through experiences or social interactions. So, it is not an inborn phenomenon.
  • It influences the behaviour either positively or negatively.
  • Responds to the persons, objects or events.
  • Behaviour is the direct outcome of attitude.
  • It has an emotional aspect on which likes and dislikes depend.
  • It is a stable phenomenon that persists for a period of time.

Table of Contents

  1. Stages
  2. How attitude is formed?
  3. Components
  4. Characteristics
  5. Importance
  6. Wrap Up


Do you know that we often acquire attitude merely by observing our ideals or role models, whom we respect and admire? Hence, when we learn attitude by way of observation, the process has four stages.stages of attitude

Attention: Consciously noticing and observing the model.
Retention: After continuous observation, the next step is to retain whatever is observed.
Reproduction: Practicing the behaviour in a repeated manner.
Motivation: The learner must be encouraged for learning from the model.

How attitude is formed?

Attitude has nothing to do with inheritance. This means it is acquired or learned from the surrounding, with which it interacts. The two main sources responsible for forming attitudes are:

  • Direct Experience: The person’s direct exposure to the object, event or person is the main source of forming an attitude. Put simply, attitude is based on the past experience.
  • Social Learning: We also get our attitude from the family, peers, community, society and culture, that we call social learning. It is an indirect way of getting the attitude.
  • Classical conditioning: People tend to develop an association between different objects and emotional reactions.



  1. Cognitive component: It is concerned with the ideas, values, thoughts, and beliefs that people have about an object. It is the thinking component, which is related to the value statement. There are instances when the attitude of a person is based on negative and positive attributes which they associate with an object.
  2. Affective component: It covers emotional feelings which are triggered by the object. It is all about a person’s feelings about another person which can be positive, negative or neutral. It affects the attitude of a person in many ways like many people are hydrophobic. So, this negative affective response may probably cause you to have a negative attitude.
  3. Connotative component: It is the tendency to act in a particular way toward an object. It is associated with the impact of different situations or objects that results in an individual’s behaviour on the basis of cognitive and affective elements. It is based on past experiences concerning an object.

Characteristics of Attitude


  • Attitude affects behaviour: A person’s behaviour is the outcome of his attitude. There is always a compatibility between these two which is based on the law of inertia. Hence, it can be changed only when there is an intervention.
  • No external visibility: One cannot see the attitude of a person, that is one can see only its behaviour.
  • Acquisition: It is not innate, i.e. attitude can be developed over a period of time. It is the outcome of the process of learning, which begins when the person is a child.
  • Pervasive: Socialization plays a very crucial role in attitude, i.e. it is developed by observing the ideals, peers, and family whom he would like to imitate.
  • Valence: An individual always feels a bond towards developing favourable things which he likes. The person might have a negative attitude towards other things.
  • Multiplexity: The overall attitude of an individual is a sum of several sub-attitudes. For instance, a worker with a positive attitude could have a number of good qualities like honesty, integrity, loyalty, politeness and dedication. So, a holistic positive attitude is the outcome.
  • Need-based attitude: A positive attitude is an outcome of meeting an individual’s safety, esteem and self-actualization needs.
  • Focused: There are a number of workers who are fully devoted and focused towards their work, regardless of external motivational factors. Hence, no person can question their attitude towards their work, as for them work is worship.

Importance of Attitude

  1. Determines the meaning of anything that we see in the environment.
  2. Attitudes harmonize the contradictions in the opinion of people.
  3. It organizes facts.
  4. Facilitates the selection of facts

Wrap Up

Attitude is an expression of what a person feels internally about a subject or object. Therefore, it is in the minds and hearts of people. Further, it could be expressed in some situations.

In an organization, some employees may have positive while others may have negative attitudes towards it. A positive attitude is the indicator of liking, whereas a negative attitude represents dislinking an organization.

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