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LEARNING All organizational behavior is affected directly or indirectly by LEARNING. i.e.

modification of behavior through practice , training and experience Any relatively permanent change in behaviour that occurs as a result of experience. Changes in behaviour indicate that learning has taken place. It is a continuous process. We can see changes taking place but not learning. Learning involves : Change ( good or bad) Relatively permanent Learning must be reflected in behaviour Some form of experience is necessary for learning There is no single perfect learning theory which is applicable to all e.g. students, managers, children or workers etc.

Organizations & businesses keep changing due to the dynamic nature of the environment. In order to survive organizations like individuals must learn new skills & acquire knowledge about skills through study, practice or experience. The skills of workers, the attitude of managers, dressing style are all learned behaviour. Most important learning theories are: Behaviouristic Theories Cognitive Theories Social learning Theories

BEHAVIOURISTIC THEORY: These theories are derived out of the behaviouristic school of thought in psychology. Under Behaviouristic theory two theories were given which as follows: Theory of Classical Conditioning Theory of Operant Conditioning THEORY OF CLASSICAL CONDITIONING :

This theory was propounded by Russian behaviourist Ivan Pavlov & American John Watson, They attributed learning to the connection between Stimulus & Response (S-R).C-C is a type of conditioning in which an individual responds to some stimulus that would not ordinarily produce such a response Pavlov conducted his famous experiment, involving dog. He tried to relate dogs salivation with a bell Step-1 In the experiment Pavlov presented meat powder (unconditioned Stimulus) to the dog, he noticed a great deal of salivation(unconditioned response) Step-2 He merely rang a bell (neutral stimulus) the dog had no salivation. Step-3 Pavlov accompanied the meat powder with the ringing of bell. After doing this several times, Pavlov rang the bell without presenting the meat powder, this time the dog salivated to the bell alone. Thus, salivation is conditioned response sound of bell conditioned stimulus. Learning a conditioned response involves building up an association b/w conditioned an unconditioned stimulus

Classical conditioning is defined as a process in which a formerly neutral stimuli, when paired with an unconditioned stimulus, becomes a conditioned stimulus that elicits ( leads to ) a conditioned response thus S-R connection is learnt. This classical theory by Pavlov was criticized, as Skinner felt that C.C. only explained reflexive behaviour, he felt that human behaviour is more complex than to be explained by S-R connection.


O-C is a type of conditioning in which desired voluntary behaviour leads to a reward or prevents a punishment The Stimulus serve as a 'cue' in operant conditioning, to limit the response. The strength & weakness of the operant conditioned behaviour are determined by the consequences (reward). In O.C., the reward is presented only if the organism gives the correct response. \ Ex: C.C. (S) Stimulus (R) Response

The Individual: is struck by pin - Flinches is shocked by current Jumps/screams is surprised by loud sound Jumps/screams

O.C. (R) Response The Individual: works enters restaurant enters library Works hard (S) Stimulus - is paid - obtains food - finds books - receives praise promotion

PRINCIPLES OF LEARNING Learning becomes more effective when it is based on certain principles. REINFORCEMENT & PUNISHMENT Reinforcement & Punishment are main principles of the learning process. Experts believe that Reinforcement is more important than punishment. LAW OF EFFECT : ( By Thorndike) It states that 'Of several responses made to the same situation, those which are accompanied or closely followed by satisfaction (Reinforcement) will be more likely to occur, those which are accompanied or closely followed by discomfort (punishment) will be less likely to occur'.

MEANING OF REINFORCEMENT: It is anything which the person finds rewarding. Reinforcement- anything that increases the strength of the response and also increases the repetition of behaviour. Reward- is simply something that the person who presents it deems to be desirable. Ex: A manager rewards an employee who found an error in a report by publicly praising the employee, yet it has been found that the employee is embarrassed and harassed by co-workers, and his error finding behaviour decreases in future. This shows that 'reward' is not 'reinforcing'. POSITIVE & PUNISHMENT




Both (+)tive or (-)tive reinforcement strengthens the response and increase the probability of repetition. Positive reinforcement Strengthens and increases behaviour by the presentation of a reward or desirable consequence. Negative reinforcement Strengthens and increases behaviour by the termination or withdrawl of Punishment of undesirable consequences. Ex: Giving praise to an employee for successful completion of a work can be an example of +tive reinforcement. Negative Reinforcement is more complex but it should not be equated with punishment.

Negative Reinforcement strengthens and increases behaviour, while punishment decrease the behaviour. PUNISHMENT: Is anything that weaken behaviour, and tends to decrease its subsequent frequency One way to punish a person is to apply a negative consequence called punishers following an undesirable behaviour . Ex: Taking away certain organizational privileges from a manager who has a poor performance record could be thought of as punishment. A professional athelete who is excessively offensive to an official ( undesirable behaviour ) maybe ejected from the game( punished) Punishment also can mean withdrawal of some desirable consequences. Ex. A sales rep. who makes few visits to companies ( undesirable behaviour) is likely to receive less commission ( positive reinforcer) at the end of the month. REINFORCERMEN T (DESIRABLE BEHAVIOUR) APPLY WITHHOLD PUNISHMENT (UNDESIRABLE BEHAVIOUR) WITHHOLD APPLY


Punishments may end up in unintended results mainly negative outcomes .Even though punishment may stop an undesirable behaviour ,the potential negative outcome maybe greater than the cost of undesirable behaviour. Ex: Supervisor calls Ramesh and gives him tongue lashing, Ramesh goes back and again starts talking to his co-worker, thus supervisor thinks that by tongue-lashing he is punishing him, whereas he is only reinforcing his bad behaviour by giving him attention. Neither children nor adults like to be punished. Punishment temporarily suppresses behaviour but cannot change it permanently, as the person becomes more resistant towards the punisher. HR Manager or any other Manager should always attempt to reinforce instead of punishment in order to change behaviour. ORGANIZATIONAL REWARDS: Reward system is very important for employee performance & orgn. success. There are monetary & non-monetary rewards.


Despite the fact that the money as rewards over the years has come down, yet the importance of money can never be undermined, as it can be positively reinforced for most of the people. For money to be effective in the organizational reward system. i) It Must be as objective and fair as possible ii) Should be administered when the employee exhibit desirable performance behaviour.

NON FINANCIAL REWARDS: Various Non-financial rewards can be administered for raising efficiency and work motivation of employees. The so called N.F.R. can also cost money to the organization, yet out of the many NFR - Social Rewards such as Recognition, Attention, Praise tend to be very powerful rewards for some people. Social rewards should be contingency based otherwise they have a boom-rang effect.

Ex: A pat on the back or verbal praise that is insincere or randomly given may have no effect. Cost of Social reward is nothing in comparison to monetary rewards. FEEDBACK AS REWARDS Right feedback is very important for the work performance of an employee. People have an intense desire to know how they are doing, especially it they have some degree of achievement motivation. Objective feedback has a very positive effect. Feedback should be POSITIVE, IMMEDIATE, GRAPHIC & SPECIFIC Researches have suggested that source of getting feedback is also very important, as also the amount & frequency of feedback given. Employees viewed feedback from Organization least positive, from co-worker next, then from supervisors, with the best being self-generated feedback.

CONCLUSION Any observable change in behaviour is prima facie evidence that learning has taken place. Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool for modifying behaviour. By identifying and rewarding performance enhancing behaviours, management increases the likelihood that they will be repeated. Reinforcement is a more effective tool than punishment as punished behaviour tends to be only temporarily suppressed rather than permanently changed . Also punishment tends to produce unpleasant side effects .Managers are therefore advised to use reinforcement rather than punishment. A review of research findings on the impact of reinforcement on behaviour concluded that : 1. Some type of reinforcement is necessary to produce a change in behaviour 2.Some types of rewards are more effective than others for use in an organization 3.The speed with which learning takes place and the permanence of its effects will be determined by the timing of the reinforcement Finally , managers should expect that employees will look at them as models . Managers who are constantly late for work , or take a long lunch break ,help themselves to office supplies for personal use should expect employees to read the message they are sending and model their behaviour accordingly.