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Individual Behaviour and Learning in Organizations
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Customer Service at Reno Depot
Reno Depot, Quebec’s leading hardware retailer, recruits applicants with technical knowledge and customer service skills.
A. McInnis. Montreal Gazette

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Model of Individual Behaviour
Role Perceptions Motivation Individual Behaviour and Performance Situational Contingencies

Ability

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Types of Work-Related Behaviour
Joining the Organization Exhibiting Organizational Citizenship Remaining with the Organization

Types of Work-Related Behaviour

Performing Required Tasks

Maintaining Work Attendance

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Definition of Learning
A relatively permanent change in behaviour (or behaviour tendency) that occurs as a result of a person’s interaction with the environment.

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Behaviour Modification
• We “operate” on the environment
– alter behaviour to maximize positive and minimize adverse consequences.

• Operant versus respondent behaviours • Law of effect
– likelihood that an operant behaviour will be repeated depends on its consequences

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A-B-Cs of OB Modification
Antecedents
What happens before behaviour

Behaviour
What person says or does

Consequences
What happens After behaviour

Example
Attendance bonus system is announced Employee attends scheduled work
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Employee receives attendance bonus

Contingencies of Reinforcement
Consequence is Introduced Behaviour Increases/ Maintained Positive reinforcement No Consequence Consequence is Removed Negative reinforcement

Behaviour Decreases

Punishment

Extinction

Punishment

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Schedules of Reinforcement
Behaviours
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Continuous Fixed ratio Variable ratio
Time (Days)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Fixed interval Variable interval

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Behaviour Mod at Nova Chemicals
Nova Chemicals’ million dollar “recruitment and retention program” cut absenteeism rates by 25 percent and improved long-term employment at its Joffre, Alberta construction site.
Courtesy of Nova Chemicals

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OB Modification Limitations
• Can’t reinforce nonobservable behaviour • Reinforcer tends to wear off • Variable ratio schedule is a form of gambling • Ethical concerns about perceived manipulation

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Learning through Feedback
• Any information about consequences of our behaviour • Clarifies role perceptions • Corrective feedback improves ability • Positive feedback motivates future behaviour

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Multi-Source (360 Degree) Feedback
Supervisor Customer Project leader

Co-worker

Evaluated Employee

Co-worker

Subordinate Subordinate

Subordinate

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Giving Feedback Effectively
Specific Relevant Frequent

Effective Feedback

Credible

Timely

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Social Learning Theory
• Behavioural modelling
– Observing and modelling behaviour of others

• Learning behaviour consequences
– Observing consequences that others experience

• Self-reinforcement
– Reinforcing our own behaviour with consequences within our control
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Experiential Learning at Interfor
At International Forest Products Ltd. (Interfor), employees receive hands-on, just-in-time learning from coworkers on the job site, not just in the classroom.
Courtesy of International Forest Products Ltd.

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Learning Through Experience
• Benefits of experiential learning
– Helps acquire tacit knowledge/skills – Allows implicit learning

• Practicing experiential learning
– Reward experimentation – Recognize mistakes as part of learning – Action learning -- investigating a real problem

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