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Chapter 8

Learning and Decision Making - Chapter 8.docx

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Organization Studies
ORGS 1000
Frank Miller

Learning and Decision Making KPMG - Professional firm that provides audit, tax and advisory services to the public and private businesses, not-for- profit and public organizations - Learning how to be a professional accountant requires mastery of many behavioural competencies (can only be acquired through on-the-job experience) Learning and Decision Making - Learning: reflects relatively permanent changes in an employee’s knowledge or skill that results from experience; the more you learn the more you bring to the table - Decision making: process of generating and choosing from set of alternatives to solve a problem - The more you learn and more knowledge you gain = more accurate and sound decisions one can make Why Do Some Employees Learn to Make Decisions Better Than Others? - Expertise: knowledge and skills that distinguish experts from novices and less experienced people - The difference is always a function of learning ass opposed to intelligence or other innate differences - True learning occurs when changes in behaviour becomes relatively permanent and are repeated over time - Need to know what employees learn and how they do it Types of Knowledge 1) Explicit: king of information you are likely to think about when you picture someone sitting down at a desk to learn; refers to knowledge that is easily communicated and available to everyone - It is the kind of information you can put down in a manual or write down for someone else - Minor portion of what is expected of professionals to know - Always conscious and accessible information 2) Tacit: is knowledge that employees can learn only through experiences - Not easily communication but can be most important aspect of what we learn in organizations - 90% of knowledge contained in organization occurs in tacit form - Separates experts from common people - It is the know-how, know what and know who type of knowledge - Highly personal in nature; holder’s may not know they possess it; job or situation specific Methods of Learning 1) Reinforcement (Rewards and Punishment): essential to observe link between voluntary behaviour and consequences that follow it (operant conditioning) - People exhibit specific behaviours if rewarded or punished for doing so o Antecedents: events that precede or signal certain behaviours; goals, rules, instructions or other information helping employees know what is expected of them o Behaviour: action performed by the employee; employee meets the assigned goal o Consequences: result that occurs after behaviour; employee receives a bonus - Contingencies of reinforcement: four specific consequences used by organizations to modify employee behaviour; designed to increased desired and decrease undesired behaviours Increasing Desired Behaviour I. Positive reinforcement: occurs when a positive outcome follows a desired behaviour - Increase pay, promotions, praise, providing feedback, small celebrations and public recognition are associated - Employee must see direct link between his/her behaviour and desired outcome (motivation) II. Negative reinforcement: occurs when an unwanted outcome is removed following a desired behaviour - Employee may not like certain job tasks so manager removes these responsibilities so that one can perform well in other aspects of your job - Using negative reinforcement to perform certain behaviours when performing a task solely to not get yelled at by the boss Decreasing Unwanted Behaviour I. Punishment: when an unwanted outcome follows and unwanted behaviour; employee is given something he or she does not like as a result of performing a behavior that the organization doesn’t like - Suspending an employee, assigning job tasks generally seen as demeaning for not following safety procedures, or firing someone II. Extinction: removal of a positive outcome following an unwanted behaviour - If employee works late during busy weeks, manager must reinforce that behaviour otherwise it may not be repeated - Extinction and positive reinforcement deliver intended results without creating feelings of hostility and conflict Schedules of reinforcement - Timing of when contingencies are applied or removed I. Continuous: happens when a specific consequence follows each and every occurrence of a desired behaviours; as soon as consequence stops, the desired behaviour stops with it; difficult to maintain; praise is an example II. Fixed-Interval: workers are rewarded after certain amount of time; length of time between reinforcement periods stays the same; getting a paycheque is an example III. Variable-Interval: designed to reinforce behaviour at more random points in time; supervisor making random work checks is an example (employees must exhibit good behaviour throughout the day) IV. Fixed-Ratio: reinforces behaviours after certain number of them have been exhibited; piece rate pay is an example V. Variable-Ratio: rewards people after varying number of exhibited behaviours; commission pay is an example; slot machines do good job reinforcing behaviour that casinos like you to have (do not win on every pull) - Variable schedules lead to higher performance; people do better in classes with pop quizzes than three tests - Continuous/fixed schedules better for reinforcing new behaviours or behaviours that don’t occur on frequent basis 2) Observation: - Social Learning theory: theory that argues that people in organizations learn by observing others - People look around to figure out appropriate behaviours on the job; they can observe behaviours and consequences of others - Behaviours remodelling: when employees observe actions of others learn from what they observe and repeat the observed behaviour - It is a continual process used at all levels of many organizations and single best way to acquire tacit knowledge o Attentional process: learner focuses attention on critical behaviours exhibited by the model  Model can be supervisor, co-worker or subordinate o Retention Process: learned must remember the behaviours of the model once he model is no longer present o Production process: learner must have appropriate skill set and be able to reproduce the behaviour o Reinforcement: learner must view the model receiving reinforcing for the behaviour and then receive it themselves 3) Goal Orientation: capture the kinds of activities and goals that people prioritize - Learning orientation: predisposition/attitude according to which building competence is deemed more important by an employee than demonstrating competence; o Working on new tasks even if failure arises; seen as a means of increasing knowledge and skills o Improves self-confidence, feedback seeking behaviour, learning performance and strategy development - Performance-prove orientation: focus on demonstrating competence so that others will think favourably of them - Performance-avoid orientation: focus on demonstrating their competence so that others will not think poorly of them o Employees display higher levels of anxiety and tend to learn less - Performance oriented people tend to work on tasks they are mainly good at or prevent them from failing in front of others Methods of Decision Making
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