Perception : Meaning, Defination, Nature & Importance

Defination & Meaning

Different individuals have different thinking styles, beliefs, feel­ings and objectives etc. and almost every individual behaves accordingly. Just because of these factors different people take different meaning for the same things. For some, a particular thing is right whereas for some it is totally wrong. It is all because how you take things, what is your point of view, how you look at things. This is perception.

Perception is defined as the process by which an individual selects, organizes and interprets stimuli into a meaningful and coherent picture of the world.

It is a cognitive process by which people attend to incoming stimuli, organise and interpret such stimuli into behaviour.

Stimulus is any unit of input to any of the senses; examples of stimuli (i.e. Sensory inputs) include products, packages, brand names; advertisements and commercials. Sensory receptors are the human organs (the eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin) that receive sensory inputs. These sensory functions are to see, hear, smell, taste and feel respective.

The study of perception is largely the study of what we subconsciously add to or subtract from raw sensory inputs to produce a private picture of the world.

Sensation is the immediate and direct response of the sensory organs to simple stimuli and advertisement, a package, a brand name. Human sensitivity refers to the experiences of sensation.

Different individuals have different thinking styles, beliefs, feelings and motives etc. and almost every person behaves accordingly. It is only because of these factors that different people take different meanings for the same thing. One particular thing is right for some and completely wrong for some. It’s all because of how you take things, what your point of view is, how you look at things. This is the perception.


  • STEPHEN P. ROBBINS : – “Perception may be defined as a process by which individu­als organise and interpret their sensory impressions in or­der to give meaning to their environment.”
  • JOSEPH REITZ : – “Perception includes all those processes by which an individual receives information about his environment—seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and smelling.”
  • FRED LUTHANS : – “Perception is an important meditative cognitive process through which persons make interpretations of the stimuli or situation they are faced with”


Perception is simply defined as how a person perceives the world around them and interprets that information. It is a subconscious thing that the mind does and is dependent on your ability to pay attention to your surroundings and your existing knowledge.

In organizational behaviour and business, perception often helps shape an individual’s personality and how they act in certain situations. These can affect how they react to certain things such as their performance in stressful situations—tasks, and even their creativity.

In order to deal with the subordinates effectively, the managers must understand their perceptions properly. Perception can be important because it offers more than objective output; it ingests an observation and manufactures an altered reality enriched with previous experiences.

For management, paying attention to personality traits in employees can help them determine an individual’s work ethic and strengths. i.e., if the manager’s perception is not disrupted in some way. Simply because people’s behaviour is based not on reality, but on their perception of what reality is. The world as it is perceived is the world that is practically important.

For example, in evaluating performance, managers use their assumptions about an employee’s behaviour as the basis for evaluation. One work position that highlights the importance of perception is the selection interview. Perception is also culturally determined. Depending on our cultural background, we see things in certain ways.


“Perception refers to the interpretation of sensory data. In other words, sensation involves detecting the presence of a stimulus whereas perception involves understanding what the stimulus means. For example, when we see something, the visual stimulus is the light energy reflected from the external world and the eye becomes the sensor. This visual image of the external thing becomes perception when it is interpreted in the visual cortex of the brain. Thus, visual perception refers to interpreting the image of the external world projected on the retina of the eye and constructing a model of the three dimensional world.”

From the above explanation it becomes clear that perception is something more than sensation. It correlates, integrates and comprehends diverse sensations and information from many organs of the body by means of which a person identifies things and objects, the sensations refer to.

Perception is determined by both physiological and psychological characteristics of the human being whereas sensation is conceived with only the physiological features. Thus, perception is not just what one sees with the eyes it is a much more complex process by which an individual selectively absorbs or assimilates the stimuli in the environment, cognitively organizes the perceived information in a specific fashion and then interprets the information to make an assessment about what is going on in one’s environment.

Perception is a subjective process, therefore, different people may perceive the same environment differently based on what particular aspects of the situation they choose to selectively absorb, how they organize this information and the manner in which they interpret it to obtain a grasp of the situation.


  1. Perception is very important in understanding the human behaviour, because every person perceives the world and approaches the life problems differently- Whatever we see or feel is not necessarily the same as it really is. It is because what we hear is not what is really said, but what we perceive as being said. When we buy something, it is not because it is the best, but because we take it to be the best. Thus, it is because of perception, we can find out why one individual finds a job satisfying while another one may not be satisfied with it.
  2. If people behave on the basis of their perception, we can predict their behaviour in the changed circumstances by understanding their present perception of the environment. One person may be viewing the facts in one way which may be different from the facts as seen by another viewer.
  3. With the help of perception, the needs of various people can be determined, because people’s perception is influenced by their needs. Like the mirrors at an amusement park, they distort the world in relation to their tensions.
  4. Perception is very important for the manager who wants to avoid making errors when dealing with people and events in the work setting. This problem is made more complicated by the fact that different people perceive the same situation differently. In order to deal with the subordinates effectively, the managers must understand their perceptions properly.

Thus, for understanding the human behaviour, it is very important to understand their perception, that is, how they perceive the different situations. People’s behaviour is based on their perceptions of what reality is, not on reality itself. The world as it is perceived is the world that is important for understanding the human behaviour.


  1. Can you explain the difference between sensation and perception?
    Sensation refers to the immediate and direct response of the sensory organs to a stimuli, such as seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and feeling something. It is the process of detecting stimuli and transmitting it to the brain. Perception, on the other hand, is the cognitive process of interpreting and making sense of the sensory information that is received. It is the process of selecting, organizing, and interpreting the sensory stimuli into a meaningful and coherent picture of the world. Perception involves the higher mental processes of cognition, such as memory, attention, and reasoning, and is influenced by an individual's past experiences, beliefs, and attitudes. In summary, sensation is the physical response to stimuli, while perception is the mental interpretation of that response.
  2. What is perception in organizational behavior?
    Perception in organizational behavior refers to how individuals perceive and interpret the world around them, and how this interpretation shapes their behavior and actions in the workplace. Perception is a subconscious process that is influenced by an individual's sensory inputs, past experiences, beliefs, and values. Perception can affect an individual's personality, creativity, and response to stressful situations, and is important for managers to understand in order to effectively deal with subordinates. Perception also plays a role in performance evaluation and selection interviews. Perception is culturally determined and varies based on an individual's background and experiences.
  3. What is importance of perception?
    Perception refers to the process of interpreting and organizing sensory information to create a meaningful experience of the world around us. It plays a critical role in shaping our thoughts, behaviors, and attitudes, and has important implications for our personal and professional lives. One of the key importance of perception is that it shapes our understanding of reality. Our perceptions influence the way we interpret events, people, and situations, and can have a significant impact on our attitudes and behaviors. For example, if we perceive a person as unfriendly or unapproachable, we may be less likely to interact with them or seek their help in the future. Similarly, if we perceive a situation as threatening, we may respond with fear or anxiety, even if the threat is not real or immediate. Perception also plays a crucial role in our interpersonal relationships. Our perceptions of others can influence the way we communicate and interact with them, and can have important implications for our ability to build and maintain healthy relationships. For example, if we perceive someone as trustworthy and reliable, we may be more likely to confide in them and seek their support. On the other hand, if we perceive someone as untrustworthy or manipulative, we may be more guarded and less willing to engage with them.