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BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION The models of motivation that have been discussed up to this point are known as content theories of motivation because they focus on the content (nature) of items that may motivate a person. They relate to the person’s inner self and how that person’s internal sate of needs determine behavior. The major difficulty with content models of motivation is that the needs people have are not subjected to observation by managers or to precise measurements from monitoring processes. Organizational behavior modification, or OB Mod, is the application in organizations in the principles of behavior modification, which evolved from the work of B.F. Skinner. OB Mod and the next several models are process theories of motivation, since they provide perspective on the dynamics by which employees can be motivate`.

LAW OF EFFECT OB Mod is based on the idea that depends on its consequence; therefore, it is possible for managers to control, or at least affect, a number of employees behavior by manipulating their consequence. OB Mod relies heavily on the law effect, which state that a person tends to repeat behavior that is accompanied by favorable consequence (reinforcement) and tends no to repeat behavior that is accompanied by unfavorable. Two conditions are required for successful application of OB Mod—the manager must be able to identify some powerful consequence (as perceived by the employees) and then must be able to admire them in such a way that the employees will see the connection between the behavior to be affected and the consequence. The law of effect comes from learning theory, which suggests that we lean best under pleasant surroundings. Whereas content theories argue that internal needs lead to behavior, OB Mod state that external consequence tend to determine behavior. The advantage of OB Mod is that is places a greater degree of control, and responsibility, in the hands of the manager. Several firms, including Frito-Lay, Weyerhaeuser, and B.F. Goodrich, have used various forms of behavior modification successful.

ALTERNATIVE CONSEQUENCE Before using OB Mod, however, managers must decide whether they wish to increase the probability of a person’s continued behavior or to decrease it. Once they have decided on their objective, they have two further choices to make which determine the type of consequence to be applied. First, should they use a positive or a negative consequence? Second, should they apply it or withhold it? The answers to those two questions result in four unique alternative consequence, as shown in figure 5-5 and in the discussion that follows. Behavior is encouraged primarily through positive reinforcement. POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT provides a favorable consequence that encourages repetition of a behavior.

SHARING is a systematic and progressive application of positive reinforcement. It occurs when more frequent, or more powerful, reinforcement are successively given as the employee comes closer to the desired behavior. Even though the completely correct behavior does not yet occurs, it is encouraged by giving reinforcement for behavior in the desired direction. Shaping is especially useful for teaching complex tasks.

NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT occurs when behaviors is accompanied by removal of an unfavorable consequence; therefore, it is not the same as punishment, which normally adds something unfavorable. Consistence with the law effect, behavior responsible for the removal of something unfavorable is repeated when that unfavorable state is again encountered.

PUNISHMENT is the administration of an unfavorable consequence that discourages a certain behavior. Although punishment may be occasionally to discourage an undesirable behavior, it needs to be used with caution because it has certain limitations. It does not directly encourage any kind of desirable behavior unless the person receiving it is clearly aware of the alternative path to follow; it my cause managers acting as punishers to become disliked for their disciplinary actions; and it could happen that people who are punished may be unclear about what specific part of their behavior is being punished.

EXTINCTION is the withholding of significant positive consequence that was previously provided for a desirable behavior. Such desirable learned behavior need to be reinforced to encourage the person to repeat the action in the future. If no reinforcement by the mangers, the employee, or anyone else occurs, the behavior tends to diminish (become extinguished) through lack of reinforcement.

SCHEDULE OF REINFORCEMENT Before various types of consequence can be applied, managers should monitor employee behavior to learn how often, or hoe well, employees are performing. The frequency of the behavior creates a baseline, or standard, against which improvements can be compared. Then the managers can select a reinforcement schedule, which is the frequency with which the chosen consequence accompanied a desired behavior.
Reinforcement may be either continuous or partial. Continuous reinforcement occurs when a reinforce accompanies each correct behavior by an employee. In some instance, this level of reinforcement may be desirable to encourage quick learning, but in the typical work situation it usually is not possible to reward even one employees for every correct behavior, much less several employees.

PARTIAL REINFORCEMENT occurs when only some of the correct behaviors are reinforced. Learning is slower with partial reinforcement that with continuous reinforcement. However, a unique feature of partial reinforcement is that learning tends to be retained longer when it is secured under conditions of partial reinforcement. There are four types of partial reinforcement schedules, fixed-interval, variable-interval, fixed-ratio, and variable ratio schedule, which offer a variety of reinforcement approaches.

FIXED-INTERVAL schedule provides reinforcement after a certain period of time.
VARIABLE-INTERVAL schedule give reinforcement after a variety of time periods. Usually the variations are grouped around some target, or average, period of reinforcement.
FIXED-RATIO schedules occurs when there is reinforcement after a certain number of correct responses.
VARIABLE-RATIO schedule is reinforcement after a variable, but undisclosed, number of correct responses, such as reinforcement after nineteen, then fifteen, then twelve, then twenty-four, and then seventeen responses. This type of reinforcement schedule provokes much interest and is preferred by employees for some task. It tends to be most powerful of all the reinforcement schedules.

The major benefits of behavior modification are that it makes managers becomes conscious motivators. It encourages managers to analyze employee behavior, explore why it occurs and how often, and indentify specific consequence that will help change it when those consequence are applied systematically. Application of this process often encourages effective supervisors to devote more time to monitoring employee behaviors. Performance feedback and recognition are often parts of his strategy because they tend to be widely desired and therefore are strong reinforcement. General guidelines for a behaviors modification strategy are shown in figure 5-5.

Rizal Technological University
Boni Avenue, Madaluyong City
College of Engineering and Industrial Technology



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