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Stereotyping - Misinterpreting Personalities

Published by MBA Skool Team in Human Resources Articles category Last Updated: July 27, 2011Read time:

Men are not good at household work.

Women are not good drivers.

Bosses are always arrogant and unfriendly.

Rich people always have an ego problem ??

Are these preconceptions always true or are these statements ambiguous?


Are they all same ?

Often we meet people and try to understand their nature. We talk to them, interact on various topics, share a common view on certain subjects and often have contradicting perspective on things. Sometimes we just see them on a particular occasion and don't even talk to them. Yet each one of us forms an opinion about that person and passes our judgment on their nature, character and personality. Merely by looking at their appearance and evaluating them by a brief conversation we end up judging people. This is known as stereotyping.


Stereotyping is a personality trait in people which creates an impression in the mind of a person just by looking at that person or just by knowing about their religion, ethnic background, educational qualifications etc. People usually consider themselves as 'normal' and any other person who deviates from their 'normal' behavior, comes prominently in their eye. And they stereotype that person's nature and personality from their perspective.


However, stereotyping is something is doesn't normally benefit people. Usually people make a judgment of a person by their first impression. If a person is well dressed he or she appears to be sophisticated, educated and well-mannered. On the other hand, a shabbily dressed person leaves a bad impression. However, just judging these people merely by their clothes is stereotyping, without knowing about their attitude, personality, nature, qualification etc.


In organizations, stereotyping often creates a lot of problems and issues amongst employees. New employees are judged by their appearance and not by their skill, and hence the employee’s attitude towards the new employee takes a definite mould, which infact might be a wrong personality trait. Although the first impression leaves mark and it’s important to be presentable, there might be a situation where people pass a judgment on people and stereotyping them when they are in a wrong situation. And once people form an opinion about a particular person, it becomes difficult to change their perception. They start believing in what they perceive and their expectation about him or her falter, thus creating a difference in employee attitudes. If a negative opinion about an employee is formed, it severely dents his self confidence and creates problems in the organization. Hence, people should never judge others simply by their appearance.


Stereotyping is not just limited to people and organizations. People also stereotype products and services. If a brand fails once, it becomes very difficult for it to get into that market again. Because no matter how good the product might be, a negative stereotype would always hurt the brand. Similarly, getting good services is not possible every time. And if a person has a bad experience, he forms a strong opinion about the entire work culture of the organization. But as far as products and services are concerned, it is the duty of the companies to make sure their customers always get a good experience and never judge customers by their appearance.


Stereotyping people is a personality trait which exists in every person as it is a natural process to judge people we see or meet. But more often than not, people change their perceptions when they know more that person. No one knows whether stereotyping can cause success or failure, but it certainly creates a dilemma when interpreting personalities.

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