Attitudes and Behaviour

Attitude is a feeling, belief, or opinion of approval or disapproval towards something. Behaviours is an action or reaction that occurs in response to an event or internal stimuli (i.e., thought).

People hold complex relationships between attitudes and behaviours that are further complicated by the social factors influencing both. Behaviours usually, but not always, reflect established beliefs and attitudes. Attitude and behaviours are woven into the fabric of daily life. Research has shown that individuals register an immediate and automatic reaction of “good” or “bad” towards everything they encounter in less than a second, even before they are aware of having formed an attitude.

Ideally, positive attitudes manifest well-adjusted behaviours. Behaviours can be influenced by a number of factors beyond attitude, including preconceptions about self and others, monetary factors, social influences (what peers and community members are saying and doing), and convenience.

When behaviours is inconsistent with attitude, it is sometimes a result of social or peer pressure. Peer pressure occurs when the individual experiences implicit or explicit persuasion, sometimes amounting to coercion, to adopt similar values, beliefs, and goals, or to participate in the same activities as those in the peer group.

Changing attitudes to change behaviours

In the work environment consultation, presentation and coaching are all built on the premise that behaviours follows attitude, and attitude can be influenced with the right message delivered in the right way.

Ensure that people responsible for health and safety management i.e. health and safety representatives are trained to understand consultation, presentation and coaching.

Focus – Change the way you deal with people, make them more responsible let them be part of the plan, involve them in decisions having an impact on their work environment and tasks to be performed i.e. risk assessments, be an example in everything you do and simply let them learn by watching.

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