Theory Of Cognitive Dissonance Essay


Discuss about the Festinger's Theory of Cognitive Dissonance.



Cognitive dissonance entails situations that involve conflicting attitudes, behaviors and beliefs. Such situation creates a sheer feeling of discomfort, which leads to a change in one of the attitudes, behaviors or beliefs to restore the balance by reducing the discomfort. One of the eminent social psychologist Leon Festinger developed the cognitive dissonance theory in 1957 (Wicklund and Brehm 2013). This theory is considered counterintuitive since it comes under the counterintuitive theories of social psychology. The theory implies that people in general have a tendency to hold their beliefs and attitudes to avoid the dissonance. It can be suggested from the theory that the powerful motive can control the cognitive consistency, which can lead to irrational or maladaptive behavior in person experiencing conflicts. The general understanding of the theory implies that the general behavior of a person can be controlled by the external factors leading to disharmony or the dissonance, resulting the person to manage and maintain his reputation.

Concept of the Theory:

In the context of public relation, the cognitive theory of dissonance is applicable. Festinger suggests that any person is likely to build relationship or exposes himself to the sources that he thinks matches with his beliefs or perception. This is when the person experiences any contradiction or the inconsistency in his beliefs; he is likely to alter his attitude or the behavior towards the external source (Harmon-Jones and Harmon-Jones 2012). Precisely, the theory states that the people hold numerous cognitions and ideas about themselves and the outer world, which clashes sometimes and leads to eliminate the cause of dissonance, if unpleasant. As a result, people consciously or unconsciously alter the attitude and the behavior, in order to manage and maintain his reputation (Perlovsky, 2014). The basic concept of the cognitive dissonance theory in the public relation present the idea that the perception of the situation creating the dissonance in the mind of the people (Wicklund and Brehm, 2013). For example, if a person is active smoker and sees an advertisement on the television he can react in two ways. In the first way, he can immediately quit smoking perceiving that smoking is bad and harmful for health. In other way, he can change her perception about smoking and continue to do the act.

Practice of the Theory in PR:

The practices of the cognitive dissonance theory can be seen on the public relation, mostly in the audience of the media and the newspapers. The readers of the newspapers are the perfect example of the cognitive dissonance theory based on the public relation (Vandenbosch and Eggermont 2012). The newspaper readers are generally decision maker regarding the news by reading the headline of the news. They are found to perceive the entire news only by reading the headline. Accordingly, they decides and read the news. The marketing strategies of business to some extent are based on the public relation theories. The general tendency of the people is resisting changing. It is difficult to the public relation and the marketing executives to influence about any new ideas, the product, or the service, since people initially decide the fact or the result out of the cognitive intuition (Gregory 2015).

One of the major practices of the cognitive dissonance theory can be seen in the stakeholders’ management in any business. Conflicts can occur among the internal stakeholders regarding various issues. While working with the different teams there can be conflicts of the ideas or the opinions around anything. Different stakeholders are found to have different beliefs and that can create contradictions in the opinion among them (De Nooy 2013). There are many other examples of cognitive dissonance that can be seen in the work place in terms of functions, personal and organizational values, training, norms and leadership. For example, the personal values in the context of making any decisions for the business can be important to any employee of the organization, which can be different from the senior decision maker of the organization (Matteson and Miller 2012). In other hand, the cognitive dissonance can gives birth to stress or tensions in the mind of the people, when he is forced to use values, ethics or the beliefs that he does not consider his own. It not only creates the disharmony of the situation in the mind of the particular parson, but also creates a sense of chronic dissatisfaction in him. High staff turnover is another context where the cognitive dissonance can be found (Claeys and Cauberghe 2015). Many staffs are found to leave the organization due to the disagreement of the authority. The organization too sometimes is found to fire their employees in order to manage the contemporary reputation of the company (Bundy, Shropshire and Buchholtz 2013).


The issues of the cognitive dissonance theory are based on the different individuals that seek for a level of consistency in their cognitions (Halmos 2013). The inconsistency level that has invested changes that eventually helps to eliminate the cognitive dissonance in an individual. The Cognitive dissonance is found in a workplace that helps an individual to reduce the risk management and human resources in an organization. Eventually in this function, the people are exposed towards coercing and tolerating the different tasks that are related to execution in the level of the deep conflicts. The senses includes training, ethics and different personal values that are of internal fundamental importance that emphasizes more on the primary factors that will be helpful in their career path. There is a need to be healthy and maintain different safety measures in the human parametric (Newsom, Turk and Kruckeberg 2012). Conflicting the various differences helps in fulfilling the different practice levels. Several project advisors and safety measurers manage to ensure the different incidental investigation in the workplace environment. The best case can be seen in most of the workplaces where the people are suffering from this type of traumatic situations. The internal beliefs and the values are considered to be reductive in case of the different internal values and their beliefs. Some of the residual stress has been considered as an amount of time that helps to change in the beliefs that are incomplete and has some external factors that are incomplete of their beliefs (Robinson, Shaver and Wrightsman 2013). The residual stress is not considered for time and is often opposed by the internal voluntary realizations that also have the quality of adaptation in the personal level of overarching in the view of the world (Grunig and Hung-Baesecke 2015).

There may be several reasons for this percentage of work that is the normalization, in the emotional trading and the positional obedience that are all justified. There is a level of internal justification of the different methods that will be useful in order to improve the mental health of the organization. There is a reason for a powerful decision that will help in the life choices in the workplace that may be logical and might be analysed as well as evaluated in the logical world. It seems to take the earliest possible time that might have an option to bring a short lasting belief in it. the personnel impositions will eventually be of positional authority that will be aware of all the styles and the approaches of the leadership(Newman and Newman 2017).

Impact of PR on contemporary reputational management:

Reputational management is one of those that help one on a general notion that may be with respect or much admiration that might have something to receive and is based on the different characteristics of the past. One of the greatest philosophies is the public relations in case of the reputational management. It has a significant impact on the perceptions and the images that has to be superficial and needs to be without any substance. There rise of the management of the reputation has helped to make the professionals that includes the PR professionals to make them forced to the different ethical choices (Kumar and Varaiya 2015).

Reputation needs to be handled with care and requires the help of the different management. The affected operations of the organization have eventually helped to raise the quality of the services and the products with respects to the public. There is a need for strong implementation of the reputational case of the planned and the developed that has a great awareness of the environment(Neill 2017). There is a need to answer in both ethical and positive manner in order to sustain in their manner. A good reputation is based on the different organizational structure that may eventually help in the different times or in the mere crisis time. A poor reputation is bound to make a downfall in the organizational brand image (Cardwell, Williams and Pyle 2017).

Other contemporary approaches:

The public relations are regarded as the key important factor that will help in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of a company. The other contemporary approaches are Rhetorical theory that is based on the effectiveness and the persuasion of the writing and the speaking (Boyce 2014). The examination on the different methods has eventually included the languages and the signs outlook. The practitioner often uses different eyes on the public to make them realize what is going in and in where. There are different types of it as well that is the pathos and the ethos. The public relations will help to save an organizational reputation and they will fight any other attack on its brand image (Zheltukhina 2015). They are regarded as the guards of a company that has their main responsibility to maintain the reputation and the outlook of the company. Various approaches that may be explained and analyzed well on the group of people that will help them to achieve the different results in an organization. The practitioner helps in the persuation of the different management and opinion in the behaviors of the customers (Willemsen, Neijens and Bronner 2013). There is a need to identify the different contemporary aspects of the Public relations so that they employ more of the recommendations and make a better future in the world of the Public relations. It can be said that the public relations is primarily based on the aspects of the branding and image of an organization and to improve the qualities of the public relations will help them. New ways of improvement will be applied in this case (Wicklund and Brehm 2013).


Therefore, it can be concluded from the above discourse that the theory of cognitive dissonance in the public relation is not only apparent but also the finest example of the disharmony in the mind of the person. The emotional aspect as well as the attitudes of a person depends on the external factor, which sometimes clashes with the beliefs of the person. Either as a result, the perception of the person becomes strong or alteration happens. In the context of the managing organization reputation in the public relation, the cognitive dissonance is one of the major factors that are responsible for influencing the image of the organization towards the public relation. The study presents the recommendations to the organization for keeping the eye on the public relation to avoid the conflicts arising from the cognitive disharmony in the workplace.


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