OBch2INDIVIDUAL BEHAVIOR

OBch2INDIVIDUAL BEHAVIOR - Robbins: Organizational Behavior...

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Robbins: Organizational Behavior Chapter Two FOUNDATIONS OF INDIVIDUAL BEHAVIOR LEARNING OBJECTIVES After studying this chapter, students should be able to: 1. Define the key biographical characteristics. 2. Identify two types of ability. 3. Shape the behavior of others. 4. Distinguish between the four schedules of reinforcement. 5. Clarify the role of punishment in learning. 6. Practice self-management. 7. Exhibit effective discipline skills. CHAPTER OVERVIEW This chapter looks at three individual variables—biographical characteristics, ability, and learning. Biographical characteristics are readily available to managers. Generally, they include data that are contained in an employee’s personnel file. The most important conclusions are that age seems to have no relationship to productivity; older workers and those with longer tenure are less likely to resign; and married employees have fewer absences, less turnover, and report higher job satisfaction than do unmarried employees. But what value can this information have for managers? The obvious answer is that it can help in making choices among job applicants. Ability directly influences an employee’s level of performance and satisfaction through the ability-job fit. Given management’s desire to get a compatible fit, what can be done? First, an effective selection process will improve the fit. A job analysis will provide information about jobs currently being done and the abilities that individuals need to perform the jobs adequately. Applicants can then be tested, interviewed, and evaluated on the degree to which they possess the necessary abilities. Second, promotion and transfer decisions affecting individuals already in the organization’s employ should reflect the abilities of candidates. With new employees, care should be taken to assess critical abilities that incumbents will need in the job and to match those requirements with the organization’s human resources. Third, the fit can be improved by fine-tuning the job to better match an incumbent’s abilities. Often modifications can be made in the job that, while not having a significant impact on the job’s basic activities, better adapts it to the specific talents of a given employee. Examples would be to change some of the equipment used or to reorganize tasks within a group of employees. A final alternative is to provide training for employees. This is applicable to both new workers and present job incumbents. Training can keep the abilities of incumbents current or provide new skills as times and conditions change. Any observable change in behavior is prima facie evidence that learning has taken place. What we want to do, of course, is ascertain if learning concepts provide us with any insights that would allow us to explain and predict behavior. Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool for modifying behavior. By identifying and rewarding performance-enhancing behaviors, management increases the likelihood that they will be repeated. Our
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OBch2INDIVIDUAL BEHAVIOR - Robbins: Organizational Behavior...

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