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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
Ability
Situational
Contingencies

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Types of Work-Related Behaviour

Joining the
Organization

Exhibiting Remaining
Organizational Types of with the
Citizenship Work-Related Organization
Behaviour
Performing Maintaining
Required Work
Tasks 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 Behaviour Consequences

What happens What person What happens


before behaviour says or does After behaviour

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

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Contingencies of Reinforcement

Consequence No Consequence
is Introduced Consequence is Removed

Behaviour
Increases/ Positive Negative
Maintained reinforcement reinforcement

Behaviour Punishment Extinction Punishment


Decreases

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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
Project
Customer
leader

Co-worker
Evaluated Co-worker
Employee

Subordinate Subordinate
Subordinate

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Giving Feedback Effectively

Specific

Relevant Effective Frequent


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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