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Role Of Behavioral Reinforcement and Uses Of Punishment As a Motivational Tool

Referencing Styles : APA | Pages : 3

Describe The Role Of Behavioral Reinforcement In Organizational Management.

Behavioral reinforcement is the concept under behavioral psychology that depicts the consequences applied for the purpose of strengthening the future behavior of the organisms at the situation of particular antecedent stimulus. Higher frequency in the behavior acts as a measurement for strengthening effect. The other parameters of measured values can be shorter latency, longer duration and greater magnitude. The behavioral reinforcement can be divided into two categories, negative reinforcement and positive reinforcement. The process of receiving reward on expression regarding wanted behavior is known as positive behavioral reinforcement. The negative reinforcement is the process of eliminating undesirable constituents in environment of people, when the desired level of behavior is accomplished. In the behavioral reinforcement, rewards are utilized for changing the behavior and punishment for controlling behavior. Extinction can be understood as the process of stopping an action from learned behavior. The term depicting these systems is known as operant conditioning. Negative reinforcements is however not the same as that of punishment. Punishment is something that is given in order to bring about a reduction in an undesirable and unwanted behavior. Punishment can involve steps like demoting the employees or even suspending them for a long period of time. Another specific reinforcement strategy that the managers use is the extinction that refers to the elimination of certain behavioral patterns. It simply means the absence of any reinforcements. When the management wants an immediate stop to certain unwanted actions, this behavioral action can be taken. One example for the same can be firing of the employee because of sexual harassments.  These behavioral reinforcements play important role in managing the organization properly. The human beings within the organization becomes aware of what can be a probable result of a certain behavior being shown by them and the employees therefore start to think a number of times before acting abruptly. Every organization demands for greater profitability with better efficiency. Human behavior varies from person to person and the human involvement in achieving the organizational goals therefore also varies. Some people can be motivated enough and can be punctual whereas some people may be demotivated and can show some undesirable behaviors. Reinforcement helps in controlling these human behaviors. Reinforcements are one of the principal motivational factors that helps the employees stick to the organization and become more efficient. The process helps in developing and strengthening the human behavior. The theory of reinforcement focuses on the relationship between the behavior of the operant and the consequences related to it. It helps in shaping the behavior of the employees and enables them to provide with better contributions for the company. The reinforcement theory emphasizes more on the external organizational environment rather than on the individual’s internal feelings. The theory therefore does not award all the employees of the organization at the same time. It awards those employees that are doing great and correct and at the same time raises concerns for those who are performing poorly and incorrectly. This helps in boosting the minds of those who are doing well and providing pressure to those who are doing poorly. This help in molding the employee behavior to a greater extent.  The reinforcement theory therefore helps the employee in attaining more skills and increasing their self-confidence. It helps them in understanding the type of the behavior that the organization wants from them, which in turn helps in improving the organizational productivity and profitability.  

List the uses of punishment as a motivational tool in the context of organizational behavior.

Any undesirable outcome that the employee of the organization faces because of some unwanted behavior is termed as punishment. It refers to imposing a negative consequence on the employees in order to stop any undesirable behavior. The basic purpose of punishment is to prevent the repetition of any undesirable behavior and events in the coming future. The mere awareness of the employees about the employees will help the employees to prevent from performing the undesirable behavior. This is called as the deterrence theory. It helps in reducing the incidence of a behavior that is measurable. Punishments can be positive punishments and negative punishments. When the target behavior rate is being reduced by providing any negative consequence, it is termed as a positive punishment and when the target behavior rate is being reduced by removing a desired stimulus in a short time, it is termed as a negative punishment. For example - Scolding a maze runner for running in the wrong direction is positive punishment and taking away the toy of a child who hits his friend with that toy is a negative punishment. When any person performs any wrongdoing, that person can be immediately punished or can be warned by educating them about the punishments that can be imposed. This helps in shaping the organizational culture to be in proper alignment with its expectations. If the employees are well aware about the things that they are not supposed to perform and at the same time they are also aware of the consequences of doing that, they usually avoid doing such activities. Punishment helps in rectifying the poor employee habits. Punishments too some extent helps in controlling the human behavior but it does not necessarily provide a positive effect every time. The employee being punished may rather possess a different behavior rather than rectifying himself. In certain cases punishment does not reduce the undesirable behavior of the human beings. A punished employee may get angry and can affect the business goals by not performing properly and spreading wrong messages externally. It will also result into increased anxiety and concealment of self behavior as well as the behavior of the others. Growth can also be inhibited because of punishment. A discouraged employee will lack motivation and innovation. This will create a lethargic working environment that will reduce the organizational productivity. The employees will start to isolate themselves from groups and others in fear of becoming a target and being punished again. Punishments are effective only when they are consistent and implemented properly. Regular punishments without proper judgment affect motivation.    

Explain the managerial importance of understanding motivational theories as they pertain to an organization’s employees.

The performance of all the employees depends on the motivational level of the employees. Better motivation results to increased efficiency, productivity and profitability. Several theories have therefore been developed to understand what drives the motivational factors of the people within the organization and these theories are termed as the motivational theories. These theories helps in better understanding of what drives the employees to work towards the achievement of the organizational goals. Motivated employees lead to more economic and efficient utilization of the scarce resources. These theories focus on intrinsic and extrinsic human factors. Intrinsic factors are those associated with the interest of individuals, the willingness to do a set of task self-confidence, self-reliance and enjoyment. Extrinsic factors are associated with the expected outcomes from the activity instead of the activity itself. There are several theories of motivation and they are all related to the needs and preferences of the employees within the organization. Some of the famous and important motivational theories are –

  1. Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory.
  2. McClelland’s Need Theory.
  3. Herzberg’s Motivation Hygiene Theory.
  4. Urwick’s Theory.
  5. Vroom’s Expectancy Theory.
  6. McGregor’s Participation Theory.

Almost all these theories are related to the expectations of the employees from the organization in terms of self-satisfaction, working environment, financial and non-financial incentives. Motivation is directly related to performance and productivity and hence it is very important. The managers must be well aware of the motivational theories in order to get the things done properly through the others. In the current scenario changes are taking place rapidly and it has become more important for the managers to motivate the employees and help them in coping up with sudden changes. A proper knowledge and understanding of the motivational theories will help in understanding the employee needs properly and hence the actions can be taken smoothly and quick decisions can be taken and implemented. Optimal results can be achieved and a competitive edge over the others can be gained by proper implementation of the motivational theories. Proper understanding of the motivational theories will help in the following –

  1. It will help in bringing the idle human resources into action. If the organization can align with the employees’ expectations, it will build the willingness to work properly.
  2. It helps in improving the efficiency of the employees and the overall organization as well. Proper understanding of the theories will help in bridging the gap between the employee’s ability and the employee’s willingness to do a work. This will help in increasing productivity and reducing operational costs.
  3. It helps in quick and easy achievement of the organizational goals as proper management helps in creating cooperative working environment and there is optimum utilization of the resources.
  4. It helps in building a cordial and friendly relationship and leads to the formation of a stable workforce.     



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