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Difference Case

Essay by   •  February 6, 2012  •  Essay  •  992 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,442 Views

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First Situation

When Andrea started work, she had very little knowledge of the people she was asked to call, the tasks she had to do or even the general basics of how things are running in the organization. Andrea was thrown out into this cruel new position with very much to do and close to no knowledge at all about how to do her job. There were no training sessions involved, no method or descriptive statements provided to her in order to learn by herself. The only training she got was the few words with her colleague Emily, the first assistant, on her first day or the rushed orders provided by Miranda. In other terms, Andrea was thrown into the wild with no firm ground to stand on and no previous knowledge to build on. Andrea lacked the skills and experience required to do the job

Operant learning theory:

Before we start defining and explaining all about the theory and how it could be applied in practice it is best to define "Learning". "Learning is a relatively permanent change in behavior potential that occurs due to practice or experience." The real question is "what" can be learned? There are four primary sectors in learning: the first being practical skills (the basics needed to achieve the elementary processes in a work place, they include: technical competence and job-specific skills).the second is intrapersonal skills (skills such as problem solving, critical thinking and dealing with alternative processes in work). The third is interpersonal skills (covers most soft skills like communication, conflict resolving teamwork based skills to interactive skills, in general skills that deal with interaction with other organizational members). The last learned skill is Cultural awareness (which overlooks the organization's operations, what is best for the company and what it requires to reach its farthest goal. This involves understanding the company's goals and learning the social norms of the organization).

Now that we know "what" can be learned, we start discussing the methods of learning or "how" these skills can be taught to organizational members. Operant learning theory is all about teaching the subject (employee in our case) how to operate in the environment to achieve certain consequences. This type of learning can be used to increase the probability of desired behaviors or reduce or eliminate the probability of undesirable behaviors. The methods of learning covered by this theory are positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, punishment, and extinction.

"Positive reinforcement is the application or addition of a stimulus that increases or maintains the probability of a behavior." The appearance of the reinforcement (positive outcome in this case) is contingent on the occurrence of that behavior. A good example is giving the employee of the month a bonus contingent to the good work (behavior) he provided.

"Negative reinforcement is the removal of a stimulus that, in turn, increases or maintains the probability of some behavior." A good example is a nagging boss. The boss will keep on nagging about a specific task until the employee will perform the task, when

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