Business Administration 2295F/G Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Reinforcement, Organizational Learning, Job Performance

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MOS Chapter 2 Reading Notes:
Individual Behavior
The following three specific personality characteristics influence organizational behavior:
1. Locus of Control- a variable that refers to individuals beliefs about the location of the
factors that control their behavior
a. High internals believe that the opportunity to control their own behavior
resides within themselves
b. High externals believe that external forces determine their behavior
2. Self-Monitoring- the extent to which people observe and regulate how they appear and
behave in social settings and relationships
a. Low self-monitors are not concerned with fitting in with those around them
b. High self-monitors take great care to observe the thoughts, actions and
feelings of those around them.
** High self-monitors gravitate toward jobs that require a degree of role-playing (eg.
law, politics), and managers tend to be higher self-monitors as well. They tend to be
more involved in their jobs, perform at a higher level and to be more likely to emerge
as leaders. They also receive more promotions
3. Self Esteem- the degree to which a person has a positive self-evaluation
a. High self-esteem people have favorable self-images
b. Low self-esteem people have unfavorable self-images and tend to be uncertain
about the correctness of their opinions, attitudes and behaviors
*interesting difference between people with high and low self-esteem has to do with
something called the behavioral plasticity theory whereby people with low self-esteem tend
to be more susceptible to external and social influences. Thus events and people in the
organizational environment have more impact on the beliefs and actions of employees with
low self-esteem (they are more likely to look to others for information and confirmation).
Also employees with low self-esteem react badly to negative feedback, which lowers their
performance. They do respond well to mentoring and should not be given jobs that provide a
lot of negative feedback eg. life insurance.
The following are personality variables that are important for organizational behavior:
Positive and Negative Affectivity- people high on positive affectivity experience positive
emotions and moods like joy and excitement and view the world in a positive light. On the
other hand, people high on negative affectivity experience negative emotions and moods like
fear and anxiety.
*NA is associated with counterproductive work behaviors (eg. harassment and aggression)
Proactive Personality- taking initiative to improve one’s current circumstances or creating
new ones is known as proactive behavior. It involves challenging the status quo rather than
passively adapting to the present conditions. People with a proactive personality are actually
better at this because they are unconstrained by situational factors and act to change and
influence their environment.
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General Self-Efficacy- a trait that refers to an individual’s belief in his or her ability to
perform successfully in a variety of challenging situations. It is a motivational trait. It
develops according to a persons experienced success or failures (high success rates = high
Core Self-Evaluations- refers to a broad personality concept that consists of more specific
traits that reflect the evaluations people hold about themselves and their self-worth. The four
traits that make up a persons core self-evaluation are: self-esteem, general self-efficacy, locus
of control, and neuroticism.
Learning occurs when practice or experience leads to a relatively permanent change in
behavior potential.
What do Employees Learn?
Practical skills include job-specific skills, knowledge, and technical competence.
Intrapersonal skills include problem solving, critical thinking, and risk taking.
Interpersonal skills include interactive skills such as communicating, teamwork and
conflict resolution.
Cultural awareness involves learning about social norms of organizations and
understanding company goals
How do Employees Learn?
OPERANT LEARNING THEORY- person learns to operate on the environment to achieve
certain consequences (rats eventually learned to press the lever for food).
Operant Learning is controlled by the consequences that follow it.
Reinforcement is the process by which stimuli strengthen behaviors.
Positive reinforcement increases or maintains the probability of some behavior by the
application or addition of a stimulus to the situation in question. Tend to be pleasant
things such as food, praise, money, business success
Negative reinforcement increases or maintains the probability of some behavior by
removal of a stimulus from the situation in question. Also occurs when a response
prevents some event or stimulus from occurring. Negative reinforces are usually
aversive or unpleasant so we learn to repeat behaviors that remove these stimuli. Eg.
managers who continually nag their employees
Common errors in using reinforcement include: confusing rewards with reinforcers,
neglecting diversity in preferences for reinforcers and neglecting important sources
Two important sources of reinforcement that managers often ignore are:
1. Performance feedback which involves providing quantitative or qualitative
information on past performance for the purpose of changing or
maintaining performance in specific ways. Performance feedback is most
effective when it is (a) conveyed in a positive manner (b) delivered
immediately after the performance (c) represented visually (eg. chart or
graph) and (d) specific to the behavior that is being targeted for feedback.
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