Rewards and Punishments Essay Assignment
Actions Positive Negative
Addition Positive reinforcement Punishment Pleasurable and increases Unpleasant (for example, an probability of repeat ‘good’ electric shock) leading to behaviour decrease in repeat ‘bad’
Subtraction Extinction Negative reinforcement Removal of an unpleasant Removal of a pleasant stimulus stimulus increases the decreases the likelihood of likelihood of repeat ‘good’ repeat ‘bad’ behaviour behaviour
When generating reward strategies at Step 4 above, the following possi- bilities should be borne in mind.
Traditionally financial reinforcement is the most explicit of the reinforce- ment mechanisms used in organizations today, particularly in sales oriented cultures. The use of bonus payments, prizes and other tangible rewards is common. To be effective the financial reinforcement needs to be clearly, closely and visibly linked to the behaviours and performance that the organization requires.
A reward to an outbound call centre employee for a specific number of appointments made on behalf of the sales force would be an example of a reinforcement closely linked to a specified behaviour. A more sophisti- cated system might link the reward to not only the number of appoint- ments but also the quality of the subsequent meeting and also the quality of the customer interaction.
An organization-wide performance bonus unrelated to an individual’s contribution to that performance would be an example of a poorly linked reinforcement.
Feedback Non-financial reinforcement tends to take the form of feedback given to an individual about performance on specific tasks. The more specific the feedback is, the more impactful the reinforcement can be. This feedback can take both positive and negative forms. This might well depend on the organizational culture and the managerial style of the boss. This feedback perhaps could take the form of a coaching conversation, where specific effective behaviours are encouraged, and specific ineffective behaviours are discouraged and alternatives generated.
Social reinforcement Social reinforcement takes the form of interpersonal actions: that is, communications of either a positive or negative nature. Praise, compli- ments, general recognition, perhaps greater (or lesser) attention can all act as a positive reinforcement for particular behaviours and outcomes.
The underpinning theory
Similarly social reinforcement could also take the form of ‘naming and shaming’ for ineffective performance.
Social reinforcement is not only useful for performance issues, but can be extremely useful when an organizational culture change is under way. Group approval or disapproval can be a determining factor in defining what behaviours are acceptable or unacceptable within the culture. New starters in an organization often spend quite some time working out which behaviours attract which reactions from bosses and colleagues.
Motivation and behaviour
The pure behaviourist view of the world, prevalent in industry up to the 1960s, led to difficulties with motivating people to exhibit the ‘right’ behaviours. This in turn led researchers to investigate what management styles worked and did not work.
In 1960 Douglas McGregor published his book The Human Side of Enterprise. In it he described his Theory X and Theory Y, which looked at underlying management assumptions about an organization’s workforce, as demonstrated in Table 1.2.
Theory X was built on the assumption that workers are not inherently motivated to work, seeing it as a necessary evil and therefore needing
Table 1.2 Theory X and Theory Y
Theory X assumptions Theory Y assumptions
People dislike work People regard work as natural and normal They need controlling and They respond to more than just control direction or coercion, for example recognition and They require security encouragement They are motivated by threats They commit to the organization’s of punishment objectives in line with the rewards They avoid taking responsibility offered They lack ambition They seek some inner fulfilment from work They do not use their Given the right environment people imagination willingly accept responsibility and
accountability People can be creative and innovative
Source: McGregor (1960)
The underpinning theory
close supervision. Theory Y stated that human beings generally have a need and a desire to work, and given the right environment are more than willing to contribute to the organization’s success. McGregor ’s research appeared to show that those managers who exhibited Theory Y beliefs were more successful in eliciting good performance from their people.
Frederick Herzberg also investigated what motivated workers to give their best performance. He was an American clinical psychologist who suggested that workers have two sets of drives or motivators: a desire to avoid pain or deprivation (hygiene factors) and a desire to learn and develop (motivators). (See Table 1.3.) His work throughout the 1950s and 1960s suggested that many organizations provided the former but not the latter.
An important insight of his was that the hygiene factors did not motivate workers, but that their withdrawal would demotivate the workforce. Although later research has not fully replicated his findings, Herzberg’s seminal One more time: How do you motivate employees? (1968) has generated more reprints than any other Harvard Business Review article.
STOP AND THINK! Q 1.3 What are the underlying assumptions built into the behaviourist
philosophy, and how do they compare to McGregor’s theories?
Q 1.4 In a change programme based on the behaviourist approach, what added insights would Herzberg’s ideas bring?
Q 1.5 If one of your team members is not good at giving presentations, how would you address this using behaviourist ideas?
Table 1.3 Herzberg’s motivating factors
Hygiene factors Motivators
Pay Achievement Company policy Recognition Quality of supervision/management Responsibility Working relations Advancement Working conditions Learning Status The type and nature of the work Security
Source: adapted from Herzberg (1968)
Summary of behavioural approach
If you were to approach change from a behaviourist perspective you are more likely to be acting on the assumption of McGregor ’s Theory X: the only way to motivate and align workers to the change effort is through a combination of rewards and punishments. You would spend time and effort ensuring that the right reward strategy and performance manage- ment system was in place and was clearly linked to an individual’s behaviours. Herzberg’s ideas suggest that there is something more at play than reward and punishment when it comes to motivating people. That is not to say that the provision of Herzberg’s motivators cannot be used as some sort of reward for correct behaviour.
THE COGNITIVE APPROACH TO CHANGE
Cognitive psychology developed out of a frustration with the behaviourist approach. The behaviourists focused solely on observ- able behaviour. Cognitive psychologists were much more interested in learning about developing the capacity for language and a person’s capacity for problem solving. They were interested in things that happen within a person’s brain. These are the internal processes which behavioural psychology did not focus on.
Cognitive theory is founded on the premise that our emotions and our problems are a result of the way we think. Individuals react in the way that they do because of the way they appraise the situation they are in. By changing their thought processes, individuals can change the way they respond to situations.
People control their own destinies by believing in and acting on the values and beliefs that they hold.
R Quackenbush, Central Michigan University
The underpinning theory
Much groundbreaking work has been done by Albert Ellis on rational- emotive therapy (Ellis and Grieger, 1977) and Aaron Beck on cognitive therapy (1970). Ellis emphasized:
[T]he importance of 1) people’s conditioning themselves to feel disturbed (rather than being conditioned by parental and other external sources); 2) their biological as well as cultural tendencies to think ‘crookedly’ and to needlessly upset themselves; 3) their uniquely human tendencies to invent and create disturbing beliefs, as well as their tendencies to upset themselves about their disturbances; 4) their unusual capacity to change their cognitive, emotive and behavioural processes so that they can: a) choose to react differently from the way they usually do; b) refuse to upset themselves about almost anything that may occur, and c) train themselves so that they can semi-automatically remain minimally disturbed for the rest of their lives. (Ellis, in Henrik, 1980)
If you keep doing what you’re doing you’ll keep getting what you get.
Beck developed cognitive therapy based on ‘the underlying theoretical rationale that an individual’s affect (moods, emotions) and behaviour are largely determined by the way in which he construes the world; that is, how a person thinks determines how he feels and reacts’ (A John Rush, in Henrik, 1980).
Belief system theory emerged principally from the work of Rokeach through the 1960s and 1970s. He suggested that an individual’s self concept and set of deeply held values were both central to that person’s beliefs and were his or her primary determinant. Thus individuals’ values influence their beliefs, which in turn influence their attitudes. Individuals’ attitudes influence their feelings and their behaviour.
Out of these approaches has grown a way of looking at change within individuals in a very purposeful way. Essentially individuals need to look at the way they limit themselves through adhering to old ways of thinking, and replace that with new ways of being.
This approach is focused on the results that you want to achieve, although crucial to their achievement is ensuring that there is alignment throughout the cause and effect chain. The cognitive approach does not refer to the