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date: 08 August 2022


A Dictionary of Organizational Behaviour

Emma Jeanes

The possibility of an action being ‘afforded’ by an object or an environment. It was initially developed by James Gibson, but subsequent definitions vary, with some arguing that only perceived action possibilities are affordances, while others include latent or hidden affordances (where an affordance has not been recognized). Affordance must be understood in relation to the individual engaging with the object. Each individual has different capabilities and will thus perceive different possibilities. For example, a chair may afford the possibility of climbing to a small child, but this would not be possible for a larger adult. Affordances help us understand what behaviour is possible in particular environments and in relation to technology, for example how people communicate, the frequency and nature of interactions, and the extent to which people are visible in an organization. It plays an important role in organizational design and analysis.... ...

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