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MGHB02H3 Lecture Notes - Operant Conditioning Chamber, Social Cognitive Theory, Classical Conditioning

Management (MGH)
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Ted Mock

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Organizational Behavior Ted Mock
Lecture Notes
Chapter Two
Personality and Learning
Personality – the relatively stable set of psychological characteristics that influences
the way an individual interacts with his/her environment – how they feel, think, behave –
personal style of dealing with the world. It is determined by genetic predisposition
(nature) and by long-term learning history (nurture).
Dispositional approach – an approach to OB that believed that individuals display
stable traits and characteristics that influence attitudes and behaviors. Encouraged the
use personality tests to find candidates with the “correct” personality. This approach
has not been completely supported by research.
Situational approach – characteristics of the organizational setting such as rewards
and behaviors influence peoples’ feelings, attitudes and behaviors.
Person–situation debate – on-going debate in OB as to which approach (disposition or
situation) is most effective at predicting and explaining behavior
Interactionist approach (interactionism) – organizational behavior is a function of
both dispositions and situation. Currently the most widely accepted approach to
organizational behavior. The importance of personality or situation in influencing
behavior depends upon the nature of the situation.
The Big Five
The Five Factor Model of Personality
There are five basic but general dimensions that describe personality. Consider each
factor as a spectrum or scale from high to low:
Extroversion – outgoing, sociable and talkative vs. shy, withdrawn, avoids social
Emotional stability – emotional control, self-confidence, self-esteem vs. self-doubt,
anxiety, depression
Agreeableness – friendly, approachable, warm and considerate vs. cold and aloof
Conscientiousness – responsible, achievement oriented, dependable and positively
motivated vs. careless, impulsive and unreliable
Organizational Behavior Ted Mock
Openness to experience – person thinks flexibly, is open to new ideas, curious and
original vs. dull, unimaginative and favors the status quo
Conscientiousness is the strongest predictor of job performance of all the Big Five
Factors. Extroversion has been positively linked to good performance in management
and sales positions.
Conscientiousness positively linked to retention and attendance and negatively related
to theft, absenteeism and disciplinary problems
Extroversion linked to higher absenteeism
Locus of Control - A set of beliefs about whether one’s behavior is controlled mainly by
internal or external forces
High locus of control – belief that one controls their own destiny. Strong belief in
free will and self-initiative
Low locus of control – power in life resides outside self – fate, luck or powerful
People with high locus of control earn more money, are more satisfied with their jobs,
and achieve higher organizational positions. Perceive less stress, cope better with
stress and engage in more careful career planning
Self-Monitoring – the extent to which people observe and regulate how they appear
and behave in social settings and relationships
High self-monitoring employees behave somewhat like actors – they show concern for
socially appropriate behavior, tune in to social and interpersonal cues and regulate their
behavior and self-presentation to these cues. They may have strong communication
and persuasive skills. They may have difficulty in ambiguous situations, may be weak
innovators and have difficulty resisting social pressure.
Self-Esteem – the degree to which a person has positive self-evaluation (how well they
like them self)
Low self-esteem people may be uncertain about the correctness of their
opinions, attitudes and behaviors
Low self-esteem people react poorly to negative feedback – it lowers their
subsequent performance. Therefore managers must be careful about using
negative feedback with low self-esteem employees. Also, don’t assign low self-
esteems to jobs that entail a great deal of negative feedback and rejection eg.
Insurance sales
High self-esteems experience higher job satisfaction, higher work performance
and are more resilient to the strains of work life
Behavioral Plasticity Theory – people with low self-esteem tend to be more
susceptible to external and social influences than those with high self-esteem
Organizational Behavior Ted Mock
Since low self-esteem people may be uncertain about the correctness of their
opinions, attitudes and behaviors, they are more likely to look to others for
information and confirmation
Positive Affectivity (PA) – tendency to view the world, self and others in a positive
light. Generally cheerful, enthusiastic, lively, sociable and energetic. Positively related
to job satisfaction, job performance and creativity
Negative affectivity (NA) - tendency to view the world, self and others in a negative
light. Generally distressed, depressed and unhappy. Associated with lower job
satisfaction, lower job performance and higher levels of workplace stress
Proactive Behavior – taking initiative to improve current circumstances or creating new
Proactive Personality – a stable personal disposition that reflects the tendency to take
personal initiative across a range of activities and situations to affect positive change in
one’s environment.
Individuals with high degree of this characteristic show initiative, take action and
persevere to bring about meaningful change. Prefer to control their environment.
More likely to find a job, earn higher salary, receive more frequent promotions
and have more satisfying careers
Individuals with lower degree of this characteristic are likely to be passive and to
adapt or react to their environment
General Self-Efficacy (GSE) – a general trait that refers to an individual’s belief in
his/her ability to perform successfully in a variety of challenging situations
Considered to be a motivational trait rather than an “affective” trait as it reflects
individual’s belief that he can succeed rather than how he “feels” about him/her
Believed to develop over life as repeated successes or failures are experienced
across a variety of tasks and situations
Core Self-Evaluations – four traits that make up a person’s core self-evaluation
Self-esteem, general self-efficacy, locus of control, emotional stability
Positive self-evaluations are best predictors of job satisfaction and job
performance and positively related to life satisfaction
This ties in with the situational approach to personality (nurture) – in other words,
behaviors can be influenced through learning
Def’n – a relatively permanent change in behavior potential that occurs due to
practice or experience
Early Learning Theory – Operant Conditioning