A highly useful learning concept which is valid for a wide range of situation is the learning curve, a diagrammatic presentation of the amount learned in relation to time. A typical learning curve will show on the Y-axis the amount learnt and the X-axis the passage of time.
Certain characteristics are common to all learning curves. One such feature is the initial spurt. At the beginning, it is natural that the rate of learning exhibits spurt. Usually, the graph levels off at some stage, indicating that maximum performance has been achieved. Apparently at the beginning of the learning process, the subject is highly motivated and seems to exhibit a significant surge of effort. Many experienced trainers exploit this initial spurt by selecting the most important items to be communicated and presenting them as a package to the students at the beginning of the training unit. In many ways, it is possible to exemplify the initial spurt with the aphorism “the first step is the best step”
Another feature of the curve is the learning plateau.…
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Reinforcement is the attempt to develop or strengthen desirable behavior. There are two types of reinforcements in organizational behavior: positive and negative.
Positive reinforcement strengthens and enhances behavior by the presentation of positive reinforcers. There are primary reinforcers and secondary reinforcers. Primary reinforcers satisfy basic biological needs and include food and water. However, primary reinforcers don not always reinforce. For instance, food may not be a reinforcer to someone who has just completed a five course meal. Most behaviors in organizations are influenced by secondary reinforcers. These include such benefits as money, status, grades, trophies and praise from others. These include such benefits as money, status, grades, trophies and praise from others. These become positive reinforcers because of their associations with the primary reinforcers and hence are often called conditioned reinforcers.
It should be noted that an event that functions as a positive reinforce at one time or in one context may have a different effect at another time or in another place.…
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Perception is an important mediating cognitive process. Through this complex process, people make interpretations of the stimulus or situation they are faced with. Both selectivity and organization go into perceptual, interpretations. Externally, selectivity is affected by intensity, size, contrast, repetition, motion and novelty and familiarity. Internally, perceptual selectivity is influenced by the individual’s motivation, learning and personality. After the selective process filters the stimulus situation, the incoming information is organized into a meaningful whole.
Individual differences and uniqueness are largely the result of the cognitive processes. Although there are a number of cognitive processes, it is generally recognized that the perceptual process is a very important one. It is a process that takes place between the situation and the behavior and is most relevant to the study of organizational behavior. For example, the observation that a department head and a subordinate may react quite differently to the same top management directive can be better understood and explained by the perceptual process.
In the process of perception, people receive many different kinds of information through all five senses, assimilate them and then interpret them.…
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Learning is an important psychological process that-determines human behavior. Learning can be defined as “relatively permanent change in behavior that occurs as a result of experience or reinforced practice”.
There are four important points in the definition of learning:
- Learning involves a change in behavior, though this change is not necessarily an improvement over previous behavior. Learning generally has the connotation of improved behavior, but bad habits, prejudices, stereotypes, and work restrictions are also learned.
- The, behavioral change must be relatively permanent. Any temporary change in behavior is not a part of learning.
- The behavioral change must be based oh some form of practice or experience.
- The practice or experience must be reinforced in order so as to facilitate learning to occur.
The components of learning process are: drive, cue stimuli, response, reinforcement and retention.
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- Drive: Learning frequently occurs in the presence of drive – any strong stimulus that impels action. Drives are basically of two types -primary (or physiological); and secondary (or psychological).
Personality is a complex, multi-dimensional construct and there is no simple definition of what personality is. Salvatore R. Maddi defines personality as, “A stable set of characteristics and tendencies that determine those commonalities and differences in the psychological behavior and that may not be easily understood as the sole result of the social and biological pressures of the moment”.
All individuals have some universally common characteristics. Yet they differ in some other specific attributes. This makes it difficult for the managers to assume that they can apply same reward types or motivation techniques to modify different individual behaviors. The definition, however, does not mean that people never change. In simple terms, it asserts that individuals do not change all at once. Their thoughts, feelings, values and actions remain relatively stable over time. Changes in individual’s personality can, however, occur gradually over a period of time. The managers should, therefore, attempt to understand certain dimensions of personality. This can enable them to predict the behavior of their employees on a daily basis.…
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This approach to motivation has been pioneered in the USA by Edwin Locke and his associates in 1960s and refined in 1980s. Goal-setting theory suggests that managers and subordinates should set goals for an individual on a regular basis, as suggested by Management by Objectives (MBO). These goals should be moderately difficult and very specific and of type that an employee will accept and make a commitment to accomplishing them. Rewards should be tied directly to accomplished goals. When involved in goal-settings, employees see how their effort will lead to performance, rewards and personal satisfaction.
Salient features of Goal-setting theory are as follows:
- Specific goal fixes the needs of resources and efforts.
- It increases performance.
- Difficult goals result higher performance than easy job.
- Better feedback of results leads to better performances than lack of feedback.
- Participation of employees in goal has mixed result.
- Participation of setting goal, however, increases acceptance of goal and involvements.
The mere act of goal setting does not ensure higher levels of motivation among employees.…
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