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Cognitive Dissonance in Learning Behavior at Workplace Case Study


Problem Discussed in Research Article

The problem that is discussed in the provided case study is the impact of cognitive dissonance in learning work behavior. Dechawatanapaisal and Siengthai (42) explain that the purpose of the research study done is to propose a framework that highlights some of the underlying elements that affect learning behavior in the workplace. Additionally, the scholars explain that the survey takes into account different perspectives offered by various carefully selected employees on the issue.

Through the study, the reader can denote that the scholars perceive a relationship between change and cognitive dissonance in learning work behavior. The authors argue that the problem stated is mostly affected by the lack of acceptance of the change. Thus, the authors, organizations, and businesses have to take full control of their change process to ensure that their employees learn as is expected.

Hypothesis/ Hypotheses Formulated by the Authors in the Article

Dechawatanapaisal and Siengthai (44, 46) propose three hypotheses. The first suggestion, identified as the primary hypothesis, is that there is an inverted U-shape relationship between cognitive dissonance and learning work behavior (Dechawatanapaisal and Siengthai 44). The hypothesis poses that cognitive dissonance and learning work behavior can be defined as either dependent or independent variables. In particular, the authors identify cognitive dissonance as the dependent variable while learning work behavior is the independent variable.

The second hypothesis states that “effective HR practices related to staffing, training and development, performance appraisal, and rewards are inversely related to cognitive dissonance” (Dechawatanapaisal and Siengthai 46). On the other hand, the third hypothesis states that “the effective HR practices that are related to staffing, training and development, performance appraisal, and rewards are positively associated with learning work behavior” (Dechawatanapaisal and Siengthai 46).

The Need for the Study in the Article

Dechawatanapaisal and Siengthai (42) give strong justification for the need for the study. First, the scholars explain that the need for learning has been profoundly affected by the changes in the business and economic global platform. The issue of globalization comes into the discussion, and the scholars argue that due to globalization and technology (Griffin and Moorhead 32; Sagini 12), employers and employees have to keep learning to remain abreast of the different changes proposed by the said two factors.

Also crucial to point out, the scholars give a justification for the context of the study. The study is done in Thailand, and the researchers explain that the area was chosen due to the influx of foreign investments that were brought on by both globalization and technological improvement (Dechawatanapaisal and Siengthai 46).

The Methodology Employed in the Study

Dechawatanapaisal and Siengthai (46) used a quantitative research methodology. The scholars explain that whereas the study used primary data collected through a customized questionnaire, an extensive review of the literature was also done to guide the research. It can be argued that the said literature review was also used to define the theoretical concepts that applied to the study (Dechawatanapaisal and Siengthai 46).

A total of 205 participants were identified to be respondents for the study. Important to note, whereas the questionnaire was originally designed in English, it had to be translated to Thai to fit the context used. In the same breath, the researchers were careful to pre-test the questionnaire, which is important to avoid any mishap during the actual survey. Additionally, out of the 205 questionnaires that were distributed, only 162 usable questionnaires were analyzed (Dechawatanapaisal and Siengthai 47).

Summary of Review of the Literature About the Problem in the Article

As stated, the researchers relied, to some extent, on relevant literature review. The scholars start by defining the term organizational learning and mentioning its importance (Dechawatanapaisal and Siengthai 43). The researchers reveal that the concept of organizational learning has no definite meaning. However, it can be defined as the adoption of new mechanisms, which affect productivity and profitability, in a work environment. It is, thus, concluded that organizational learning is critical and can be defined as the most valuable practice, in dealing with dynamic and ever-changing working environments (Dechawatanapaisal and Siengthai 43).

Apart from definition and importance, the researchers also give a significant account of literature that has already been published on the relationship between organizational learning and cognitive dissonance. Defined as an uncomfortable feeling when an individual tries to balance what he/she already knows and the new things that have arisen, the scholars show how other researchers were able to draw a line between the two concepts.

The argument provided is that change in the workplace introduces a new component to the employee in question. Therefore, the employee has to balance between what he/she already knows, and the new concept that has been introduced. In the perfect set-up, the employee agrees to the change, and he/she lets go of the old ways of doing things. However, if the employee fails to give up on the previous dynamics, then performance is negatively affected.

The Study’s Assumptions, Limitations and Potential for Future Research

There are several assumptions that the researchers go through in the study. The first assumption is that the employee is adamantly holding to the old way of doing things. If the employee lets go of the dynamics of the past, then there will be no cognitive dissonance. In the same breath, one can identify several limitations of the survey. It can be argued that the lack of evidence for the creation of a framework that can show how organizational practices can be used to shape organizational learning is a flaw (Dechawatanapaisal and Siengthai 43). It is based on the said limitation that Dechawatanapaisal and Siengthai (43) give their opinion on potential future research. The authors explain that there is a need for empirical research on the possibility of development and creation of the said frameworks.

Conclusion of the Research Finding

Dechawatanapaisal and Siengthai (51) think that the findings of the research study done should be used in today’s organizational set-up. Notably, they advise that psychological factors associated with human resource practices should be taken into consideration when thinking of developing campaigns for organizational learning (Dechawatanapaisal and Siengthai 51). The authors also conclude that whereas cognitive dissonance relates to some HR practices, it does not necessarily refer to all of them.

The identified elements of HR that are affected by cognitive dissonance are staffing; training and development; and performance appraisal (Dechawatanapaisal and Siengthai 51). The authors also stress the importance of learning about employees’ attitudes and behaviors in an attempt to also motivate them to learn. Interestingly, the angle of the initial purpose of the research paper, which was to create a framework, is not included in the conclusions.

Student Team’s Critique on the Article

Several factors can be described as successful in the case study. The first factor is the full literature review that is provided. The scholars divide the literature review section into several parts, making it easier for the reader to understand the different concepts that are being discussed. The first part, learning in the workplace, only focuses on the idea of learning as is implied in the workspace. The authors are careful to propose studies done on the same. The second area, cognitive dissonance, and learning work behavior focus on the two said concepts. The smooth flow of the literature review allows an amateur to understand the study.

A second favorable factor about the study is the careful and thorough explanation of the hypotheses. As mentioned, there are three hypotheses that the researchers use. Each of the said premises is explained in detail and justified before the research study is presented. The advantage of the said factor is that it gives the reader the general direction of the report.

Thirdly, the justification of the context of the study is also advantageous. The scholars provide a detailed explanation of why they chose Thailand as their area of focus. The researchers’ argument that there has been an increase in foreign investment in Thailand, which makes the region best for the said study, is valid. The researchers are also careful to show how the influx of foreign investments affects globalization, and how in turn, that affects organizational learning.

Having stated the advantageous and fruitful factors, it is also important to point out some of the flaws of the research report. One of the major flaws is that no framework has been presented despite explaining at the beginning of the report that a framework would be developed. Understandably, the researchers might have realized that the development of the suggested framework is impractical or impossible. If that was the case, then the purpose of the study should have been changed accordingly. Interestingly, the purpose of the survey is also different from the hypotheses. The hypotheses go hand in hand with the presented data.

The fact that the framework is missing makes the reader feel like the research study is incomplete. Holloway and Brown (21) explain that a good research report has to give the reader a feeling of completion. Additionally, a good research report has to adhere to the purpose of the study stated. Sugar and Luterbach (289) explain that many research studies fail to prove their research studies. However, in such instances, the research reports give reasons why the purpose was not achieved.

Another major flaw of the analysis is that it does not recognize some keywords. For instance, globalization and technology have been used to justify the research study, yet are not included in the keywords. The lack of said keywords makes the research confusing.

Also important to note, the report consists of more literature review than results and findings (Walliman 14). For scientific studies, it is expected that the results and conclusions cover a bigger part of the report. It can be argued that the purpose of the research changed, thus, the minimal results and findings section. However, as mentioned, the scholars adhered to their hypotheses and proved them right. Thus, the report should have acceded to the general expectations of similar scientific reports. Overall, the research report offers great insights regarding the topic at hand. However, it is not well organized, and this brings about confusion.

Summary of the Case

The case study proposes three hypotheses that the researchers try to prove right. The first suggestion, identified as the primary hypothesis, is the inverted U-shape relationship between cognitive dissonance and learning work behavior (Dechawatanapaisal and Siengthai 44). The researchers can prove the theory right through their survey. The study shows that there is an inverted relationship between cognitive dissonance condition and learning work behavior is found (r ¼ 20:43; p 0:01) (Dechawatanapaisal and Siengthai 48). The researchers explain that the findings show that the relationship between the two variables mentioned, is, however, not U-shaped. The realization goes hand in hand with the assumption that was discussed earlier.

The second hypothesis “effective HR practices related to staffing, training and development, performance appraisal, and rewards are inversely related to cognitive dissonance” (Dechawatanapaisal and Siengthai 46) is also proved true, to a large extent. The findings demonstrate that staffing, training and development, and performance appraisal ae all affected by cognitive dissonance. However, rewards do not have a direct tie to cognitive dissonance. Regarding managerial application, therefore, it can be argued that rewards should not be used as a motivation for organizational learning.

The third hypothesis tested is “the effective HR practices that are related to staffing, training and development, performance appraisal, and rewards are positively associated with learning work behavior” (Dechawatanapaisal and Siengthai 46) is proven true and strengthens the results and findings recorded through the testing of the second hypothesis.

Works Cited

Dechawatanapaisal, Decha, and Sununta, Siengthai. “The impact of cognitive dissonance on learning work behavior.” Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 18, no. 1, 2006, pp. 42-54.

Griffin, W. Ricky and Gregory, Moorhead. Organizational behavior: Managing people and organizations. Mason, OH: Cengage, 2013.

Holloway, Immy and Lorraine, Brown. Essentials of a qualitative doctorate. New York, NY: Routledge, 2016.

Sugar, William and Kenneth Luterbach. “Using critical incidents of instructional design and multimedia production activities to investigate instructional designers’ current practices and roles.” Educational Technology Research & Development, vol. 64, no. 2, 2016, pp. 285-312.

Walliman, Nicholas. Your research project: Designing and planning your work. London, UK: Sage, 2011.

Sagini, M. Meshack. Globalization: The paradox of organizational behavior: Terrorism, foreign policy and governance. New York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.

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IvyPanda. (2020, November 19). Cognitive Dissonance in Learning Behavior at Workplace. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/cognitive-dissonance-in-learning-behavior-at-workplace/

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Cognitive Dissonance in Learning Behavior at Workplace." November 19, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/cognitive-dissonance-in-learning-behavior-at-workplace/.

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