REINFORCERS AND BEHAVIOR CHANGES
Reinforcers induce and enhance the association between the cue and the expectancy. This leads to increased performance levels and positive attitude development. This is an effective and efficient strategy that has been proved to be successful. Reinforcement is inevitable for learning process and in a dynamic corporate business environment, unlearning the old things and learning and adapting oneself to satisfy the needs of the changing environmental and economic factors is the critical success factor that serves as the backbone of the success of the company.
Significance of Learning:
Learning is not the only attribute that gets enhanced by reinforcers; as a result there is a repetition of desirable behavior that helps in maintaining the consistency, cordiality and climate of the organization. Reinforces increase the strength of response leading to desirable or undesirable consequences depending upon the kind of reinforcer, which might be a reward or a punishment. Either way it elicits response that gets strengthened in course of time.
Mindset of People:
The management side that is the deciding authority has to come to clear terms with the kind of treatment applicable on specific situations; say for instance when there is a need to complete a project in the stipulated time or achieve quantifiable targets which may prove very challenging or increase the production capacity in order to retain a major market share. Whatever be the case, the morale of the workers down the line, executives who coordinate the process, the managers who manage and report has to be maintained in the highest order. The mind set of the people working for you is very important as it encompasses the quality of work done, commitment to duty and determination to reach the target on time.
Rewards always make people happy and are found to be positively reinforcing. If you feel that monetary rewards are always a better stimulus, you are wrong. Money is always considered to be a reward; to consider it as a reinforcer cannot be neglected but at the same time it definitely is not a positive reinforcer.Feedback on performance is rated high on the reinforcer scale which takes you to the next level as a performer.
Modern organizations have understood the system’s anomaly that gives undue importance to the huge amount of data that speaks volumes about people and their merits and achievements. Is it really enough to know things about people? People expect feedback about their performance and people with some degree of achievement definitely have an intense desire to know how they are doing? The more specific your feedback is, better the impact and greater the delay between the performance and feedback, the less the effect.
The work environment itself can serve as a very good positive reinforcer provided there is freedom of expression, liberty to participate and an open door policy adopted by the managers and superiors. The top level management must take utmost care to design the reward system in such a way that it warrants fairness and equity. Employees are motivated to go for self appraisals with goal setting that is the biggest reinforcer of all times.
Recognition, rewards and praise tend to boost the ego of individuals which you can work it up to your advantage. Punishment is one of the most used and convenient but least understood and badly administered aspect of learning and reinforcing. Punishment equally alters the behavior of your subordinates which becomes more complex in course of time. Positively dealing with your subordinates by giving them one more chance, of course with a warning might serve the purpose. If punishments modify the behavior of a person and make him go for the alternate desirable behavior, well and good. If it provokes anxiety or temporarily suppresses the undesirable behavior, what is the point?
We see this trait in children, who readily respond to positive reinforcement, even a smile and a hug make them cheerful and show volunteership in their attitude. But punishments are actually effective when applied at the time the undesirable behavior or act is performed rather than at a later date.
What is the Thumb Rule?
So the thumb rule for the managers would be, always keep positive reinforcers working for you and get rid of extinction strategies that might create some ill effects that are not good for the company in the long run. Developing a unique climate for the organization by building a positive framework of mind and behavior of the employees is the key to definite success for the evolution as an efficient manager as well as the overall development of the management area.