Managers Making use of Reinforcement Theory To Condition And Reshape Staff Habits Business Essay

The goal of this article is to discuss about managers applying Reinforcement theory to condition and reshape staff behaviors to conquer the restraining forces of change.

Managers can apply reinforcement theory to stimulate the employees of the organization and understand the needs of the employees and treat them equitably and motivate them by increasing the pay or giving bonuses to achieve the goals and values of the business.

The main purpose of this statement is to critically discuss about reinforcement theory and the types of reinforcement theory to inspire the employees of the business and to observe how managers apply the basic rules of reinforcement theory to encourage desired tendencies and discouraging the undesired patterns through the use of reinforces such as pay, appraisals, campaigns and giving them more challenging responsibilities to raise the efficiency of employees.

This statement on reinforcement theory gives the in depth take on B. F. Skinner reinforcement theory and a complete information on his views as well as the limitations of reinforcement theory.

Chapter 2


Reinforcement theory is thought as the process of shaping the individual behavior by satisfying the desired tendencies and punishing the undesired habit.

2. 1 Backdrop and Development of Reinforcement Theory

BF Skinner and his affiliates suggested reinforcement theory of drive. Reinforcement theory (also known as as operant Conditioning) says that specifics action is a function of its implications. It is predicated on regulation of impact.

2. 2 Rules of Effect

OB Mod relies heavily on the law of effect, which states a person tends to repeat behavior that is associated with favorable implications (reinforcement) and is inclined not to replicate action that is combined with unfavorable implications. (Newstrom W. John, p no 111)

Reinforcement theory of inspiration looks from the perception of individuals. This theory centers totally on what happens to an individual when he takes some action. Thus, regarding to Skinner, the external environment of the business must be designed effectively and positively to be able to motivate the employee. This theory is applied for analyzing controlling system for individuals tendencies. However, it does not focus on the causes of individuals behavior.

2. 3 Behavior Modification

Organizational behavior modification, or OB Mod, is the application form in organizations of the concepts of behavior modification, which improved from the work of B. F. Skinner. OB Mod and the next several models are process theories of motivation, given that they provide perspectives on the dynamics where employees can be determined. (Newstrom W. John, p no 111) The number below illustrates the essential steps in OB mod.

Source: Organizational Action: Taking care of People and Organizations by Ricky W. Griffin, Gregory Moorhead

The first step is to identify performance related behavioral happenings that will be the desirable and undesirable behaviors. A supervisor of any restaurant might make a decision the main tendencies for the steward is to greet customers warmly and provide them.

The second part of behavior modification is made for, managers to baseline the performance of every individual which is usually computed in ratio across different time intervals. Example if any sales representative gets around 25% of the total sales as required by the business.

The third step is to recognize existing behavior contingencies or outcomes of performance just how the staff is accomplishing.

The fourth step is to develop intervention strategies quite simply some aspect of the performance compensation- linkage framework, process, technology, organizations, or jobs is evolved to make higher level performance more rewarding.

After the intervention step, the administrator again actions performance to ascertain if the desired result has been achieved. If not director must again re design the treatment strategy or repeat the complete process.

Next step is to keep desirable habits through positive reinforcement for example granting incentives whenever a desired action is shown by the employee.

Finally, managers has to evaluate performance management concerning how the employee are carrying out and by offering long term rewards like upsurge in pay, campaign to support ongoing efforts to improve performance. (Griffin W. Rickey 9th model, p no 108)

Chapter 4

Types of Reinforcement

Reinforcement Methods

Source: The fundamentals of Organization Patterns by Henri L. Tossi, Neal P. Mero

3. 1 Positive Reinforcement

Thomas J. Peters, writer of In Search of Excellence, emphasizes that organizations striving for success need to commemorate what you want to see more of from your employees. In order to do this it is essential to understand the idea of positive reinforcement and its easy integration into your company.

Positive reinforcement is a standard analyzing tool that can be used in place of work, educational organizations and even in our day to day life, which is linked to performance or behavior.

Positive reinforcement is used by professionals to extract the required action from the worker keeping corporation success at heart.

Positive reinforcement can be achieved by observing and caring about an employee, positive reinforcement has a significant impact on worker motivation, satisfaction, productivity and loyalty in attaining specific success. Aswell employee success plays a part in the entire improvement in the organizations performance. As many of these results and success factors of positive reinforcement start to get together, your organization will leap in advance in its increasingly competitive industry.

Positive reinforcement in an organization may be accomplished in many ways like praising the employee if he has achieved his aim for and giving bonuses if the employee has completed the job for the month and taking the team out for a evening meal and appreciate their effort and also managers provides training to the employees who has achieved the goals and objectives of the business. This will be immediately followed by the positive patterns; the employee will see a connection between behavior and positive effects and will be motivated to repeat similar habits in future. And employees tend to repeat the same in order to gain gratitude.

Shaping is a methodical and progressive request of positive reinforcement. It occurs when more consistent, or more powerful, reinforcements are successively given as the employee comes closer to the desired habit8. Despite the fact that the desired behavior is not shown by the worker, it'll be encouraged by giving reinforcement for habit in the right route. Shaping can be employed by managers to teach the employee for complex responsibilities/assignments.

3. 2 Negative Reinforcement

Negative reinforcement is one which involves the removal of undesired patterns of a worker. Negative reinforcement is also known as Avoidance. Quite simply negative reinforcement can be used to increase the desired behavior. Rather than receiving a reward following a suitable behavior, the individual is given the chance to avoid an unpleasant consequence (Griffin W. Rickey 9th release, p no 108).

This also involves removal of objectionable results once desired patterns is demonstrated. Example of common undesired habit of employee in an organization

Employees rushing rather than quality looking at their own work.

Conversing to colleagues rather than giving an answer to customers in a timely manner which hampers the growth of the organization

Being distressing, rude or argumentative to team mates.

Opposing all improvement suggestions created by the professionals.

Repeatedly increasing trivial issues.

Taking increased breaks.

Not showing interest in learning new things related to work.

Managers can apply negative reinforcement theory to control the habit of the employee

Example 1: if the staff is not displaying interest in the task and is showing casual attitude, managers can speak to the staff and decrease the motivation so that deduction may right the behavior of the staff, so here incentive acts as a catalyst to improve the tendencies of the staff.

Example 2: Managers pressurize the worker if the report/project is not completed on time, these leads to employee completing the report/project to avoid pressure from the supervisor.

Negative reinforcement is often mixed up with punishment, but they won't be the same. Punishment attempts to decrease the probability of specific actions; negative reinforcement tries to increase desired action.

Negative reinforcement can be used effectively by managers to reshape the tendencies of the staff in the business and change to desired behavior. So negative reinforcement is one of the typical reinforce that can be used by managers.

3. 3 Abuse

Punishment is another process in reinforcement theory which managers can implement on employee to reduce the frequency of undesirable behaviors.

Punishment is an distressing, or aversive, consequence of a action. Examples of consequence are verbal or written reprimands, pay slice, layoffs, lack of privileges and could be termination. (Griffin W. Rickey 9th edition)

Punishment is different from negative reinforcement, in negative reinforcement is utilized to increase the desired tendencies of the employee whereas in abuse the unpleasant patterns is eliminated with a negative event which follows the action of the worker. Here in abuse the employee stops or avoids unwanted consequences. Punishment must be used as an instrument to improve the behavior of the staff and give worker an opportunity to correct his habit. Besides undesired action may way reach unwanted effects if they go unpunished. (Griffin W. Rickey 9th release, p no 105)

Example 1: Supervisor must punish the employee if he is constantly on the underperform after several warnings and will not show any advancements.

Punishment should be utilized as a last resort to change the tendencies of the staff because it may put great deal of pressure and stress which might result in unstable outcome.

Punishment might not exactly entirely eliminate undesired tendencies because sometimes it'll be not having an alternative solution to the required behavior.

3. 4 Extinction

Extinction is referred as reduction of desired action when managers hold back positive support. If rewards are withdrawn for manners that were recently reinforced, the behaviors will probably become less consistent and perish out. (Griffin W. Rickey 9th model, p no 105)

The patterns of the worker is no longer reinforced which is less inclined to appear in future and could affect the business development, while positive reinforcement contributes to the overall growth of the business extinction can hamper the progress by not knowing worker performance.

Example 1: In the event the employee is constantly praised for the promptness in which he completes his work for a number of months, but will get no reward in subsequent weeks for such action, his desirable behaviours may diminish.

Thus, Extinction is the main part of support theory because it may impact the employee efficiency or creativity which demonstrates in the employee performance. In order to avoid unwanted extinction, professionals may need to continue to offer positive behavioral outcomes and keep maintaining his good performance.

If managers inadvertently or otherwise, stop fulfilling valuable behaviours such nearly as good performance, those behaviours could also become extinct. (Griffin W. Rickey 9th release, p no 105)

Chapter 5

Schedules of Reinforcement

Schedules of support theory derive from when professionals should apply different kinds of support theory to condition or reshape the desired patterns of the employees. Applying different types completely is determined by the problem.

The stand below shows summarizes the five basic encouragement schedules that professionals can use

Source: Organizational Patterns: Handling People and Organizations by Ricky W. Griffin, Gregory Moorhead

The two main types of encouragement schedules are ongoing and intermittent. However the schedule of encouragement often will depend on practical considerations, support is always delivered according to some schedule. (Slocump W. John no 108)

5. 1 Constant Reinforcement

Continuous support rewards behaviour whenever it occurs. Ongoing encouragement is very effective in motivating suitable conducts, especially in the first stages of learning, when the target is to familiarize the staff being conditioned with the basic ground rules of the problem. Continuous support must be provided promptly and consistently in order to work. Professionals must closely keep an eye on the habit of the worker to reward every time he delivers attractive behaviors. Partial encouragement may influence the staff from demonstrating desired habit, if the staff is praised for each time he completes his work and will not receive any acclamation for the next works done, the staff may stop placing the extra work.

Every time support is applied it strengthens patterns, so continuous reinforcement brings about very rapid raises in the speed of behavior. It really is especially useful, then, when the duty is to condition up some new action or behavior chain. (Chance Paul, p no 177)

5. 2 Predetermined Interval Reinforcement

Fixed interval support is defined as the reinforcement agenda where rewards are spaced at standard levels. The critical variable is time, which is held constant. This is the predominant schedule for most salaried employees11.

Examples of permanent interval encouragement may be regular salaries given to employee, pay check given on weekly basis; employees are rewarded on a set interval reinforcement routine. (Robbins, Judge, Millet, p no 59)

In fixed period reinforcement employee aren't rewarded whenever they show desired tendencies, they'll be rewarded on a monthly, every week basis unlike in continuous reinforcement worker will be rewarded whenever a desired action is took place.

Unfortunately, in many situations the fixed interval schedule will not necessarily maintain powerful levels.

Example: if employees know that they will be paid and visited by manager on the weekly basis, they may be encouraged to work hard at that time of time, to gain praise and identification. And other days of the week the employees might not work so difficult because they have discovered that support is unlikely except during the every week visit.

5. 3 Varying Interval Reinforcement

Variable support uses time as the basis for applying encouragement, but it varies the period between reinforcement. This plan is unacceptable for paying salary, but it can work well for other types of positive reinforcement such as compliment and recognition and then for avoidance. (Griffin W. Ricky, 9th Release, p no 105)

Considering the above mentioned example for adjustable reinforcement if managers sessions employees work channels any time through the week, so they will be having no notion of when the administrator will be going to their work stations, so staff will be determined to work hard for a longer time of their time.

5. 4 Fixed Ratio

In a resolved- ratio program, after a fixed or frequent amount amount of responses receive, a reward is set up. (Robbins, Judge, Millet)

With fixed-ratio support, the amount of behaviors needed to obtain support is constant. Set period means it happens at the same rate at the same time. Like an allowance that you receive on the 20th of each month.

5. 5 Variable Ratio

Variable Ratio encouragement, the number of behaviors required for reinforcement varies over time. An employee executing under a adjustable ratio agenda is determined to work hard because each successful habit increases the likelihood that another one will result in support14. (Griffin W. Ricky, 9th Model, p no 106)

Variable ratio reinforcement tends to be the most effective of the entire reinforcement schedules because in variable ratio the number of desired behavior required for reinforcement is not important, intervals between support is very essential, interval between encouragement should not be too long that the worker will be demotivated and prevents striving it.

Example: Variable proportion identifies getting different amount money at different times. This may be seen in someone who is paid in commission - the more vehicles a person markets, the additional money he makes, therefore it is a ratio and he/she doesnt know how many cars they will sell to earn cash, so they must sell as many cars as possible.

Chapter 6

Being a Motivating Manager

In previous chapters we have talked about about the types and schedules of support, in this section we will discuss few details about how supervisor should encourage the employee in order to get the best results out of them
1) Treat personnel well

Manager has to be friendly with the whole employees in the organization and also offers to maintain an even of distance along with his personnel, which is bit complicated. Supervisor should encourage the employee insurance firms timely conversations and group meetings and pushing them for the required tendencies. Small gestures of the type help in building up of a cordial marriage.

(2) Acknowledge the variances

Recognizing the difference is very hard on the directors part, which should be carried out very cautiously because all the employees in the business vibrate to a different tempo, so motivating one worker may influence other employee expansion and can also demotivated him/her. Understanding and knowing the differences between the individual is vital.

(3) Set practical goals

Set moderate goals. Setting too high an activity creates a feeling of non-achievement, right from the beginning itself. The goals set should be such which appear feasible to the employees to be performed. A just a little higher target than expected provides a challenge.

(4) Prevent Demonization

The job of the manager is to inspire the employee working under him, the role of administrator includes both motivating and punishing the worker, but punishment must be used as an final resort to change the action of the worker else it could affect the output of the employees.

(5) Non-financial rewards

Apart from supplying incentives, pay increase, manager must concentrate on non-monetary rewards such as an achievement award or a notice of understanding which improves the efficiency of the staffs to work harder and also gain more accolades in future that may create a competitive environment in the work place.

Chapter 7


Reinforcement theory explains in detail how a person learns behaviour. Professionals who are making try to encourage the employees must be sure that they do not praise all employees together. They must notify the employees what they aren't doing appropriate and guide them properly to ensure that all the employee work towards achieving the business success.

The main aim of reinforcement theory is to ensure that employees perform the duties assigned to them as fast as they can, take new projects and put their maximum attempts in obtaining the duties and increase there efficiency.

Manager must start to see the employees in the individual perspective and not in business point of view, so manager must give chances to the employees to go towards the required action from the undesired, which helps both worker in increasing the regularity of desired habit and managers to reach your goals and build a good rapport with the employees.

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