Saturday, December 21, 2013

Learning - Operatant Conditioning

In the last byte, we looked at classical conditioning as a means to learning. In today's byte, we look at operant conditioning as a means to learn!

The beginning would be apt if we first define what operant conditioning means before we proceed. Operant conditioning is the process of modifying behavior through the use of positive or negative consequences following specific behavior. The underlying belief is that behavior is a function of its consequences; it could be positive or negative. These consequences could be positive or negative and essentially leads to 3 possible strategies of creating the consequences:
  1. Reinforcement
  2. Punishment
  3. Extinction
These three types of consequences used in organizations to modify or influence the behavior people are: financial reinforcement, non-financial reinforcement and social reinforcement. Recent research has indicated that financial reinforcement is a stronger mode than a pay for performance and social reinforcement mechanism or even performance feedback.

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