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University of Toronto Scarborough
Management (MGH)

Reducing the Probability of Behaviour Sometimes learned behaviours are detrimental to operation of organization & need to be reduced or eliminated. Two strategies that can reduce probability of learned behaviour: Extinction = the gradual dissipation of behaviour following the termination of reinforcement Behaviours that have been learned under delayed or partial reinforcement schedules are more difficult to extinguish than those learned under continuous, immediate reinforcement (eg. Harder to extinguish the joke-telling behaviour of a committee member who was only partially successful at getting a laugh than of one who was always successful at getting a laugh.) Punishment = the application of an aversive stimulus following some behaviour designed to decrease the probability of that behaviour Can be emotional or physical Should be performed immediately so they know what they did In negative reinforcement, a nasty stimulus is removed following some behaviour, increasing the probability of that behaviour; with punishment, a nasty stimulus is applied after some behaviour, decreasing the probability of that behaviour. Principles that can increase the effectiveness of punishment Provide an acceptable alternative for the punished response (eg. Caught making personal calls using office phone during office hour; scolded; AND given something to do) Limiting the emotions involved in punishment ( managers should be sure that their own emotions about the employee are under control before punishing, and they should generally avoid punishment in front of observers) Make sure the chosen punishment is truly aversive Punish immediately- if immediate punishment is difficult to apply, the manager should delay action until a more
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