Final Exam Textbook Notes

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Management (MGH)
Brian Connelly

January 16, 2011 5:43 PM W8:Ch.8 WhatIsLearning? Previously discussed that peoples personality can influence their work attitudes and behaviours. How- ever, peoples experiences and the work environment also have a strong effect on attitudes and behav- iour. Learning:Arelatively permanent change in behaviour potential that occurs due to practice or experience Types of Skills that are Learned in Organizations by Employees: Practical skills includes job-specific skills, knowledge and technical competence Intrapersonal skills are skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, learning about al- ternative work processes and risk taking Interpersonal skills include interactive skills such as communicating, teamwork, and con- flict resolution Cultural awareness involves learning the social norms of organizations and understanding company goals, business operations and company expectations and priorities Learning Theories - how people learn in organizations Operant Learning Theory: Learning by which the subject learns to operate on the environment to achieve certain consequences Remember, rat in a box experiment. The rat learned to operate the lever to achieve food, thus be- haviour was controlled by the consequences that follow it. IncreasingtheProbabilityofBehaviour One of the most important consequences that influence behaviour is reinforcement. Reinforcement: The process by which stimuli strengthen behaviours.Areinforcer is a stimulus that fol- lows some behaviour and increases or maintains the probability of that behaviour. Types of Reinforcements: Positive Reinforcement: The application or addition of a stimulus that increases or maintains the probability of some behaviour 1 January 16, 2011 5:43 PM Example: the food pellets for the rat were positive reinforcements for the operation of the lever Weather or not something is a positive reinforcement depends only on whether it in- creases or maintains the occurrence of some behaviour by its application Negative Reinforcement: The removal of a stimulus that in turn increases or maintains the probability of some behaviour (also, negative reinforcement occurs when a response pre- vents some event or stimulus from occurring) Negative reinforces are usually unpleasant stimuli and it stands to reason that we will learn to repeat behaviours that remove or prevent these stimuli Example: the rat who experiences a shock will learn to operate the lever to prevent the shock Review pg. 50 Organizational Errors Involving Reinforcement Confusing Rewards with Reinforcement Managers reward employees with pay, promotion, vacation etc., for no specific behaviour - such rewards can fail to serve as reinforcers Neglecting Diversity in Preferences for Reinforcement Organizations fail to appreciate individual difference in preferences for reinforcers For example, workaholics receive extra time off from work for good behaviour Neglecting Important Sources of Reinforcement Managers cannot determine the cause of the behaviour even after the consequences of the behav- iour were communicated An important source of reinforcement that managers often ignore is information that accompanies the successful performance of tasks Performance Feedback: Providing quantitative or qualitative information on past performance for the purpose of changing or maintaining performance in specific ways 2
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