calls to secure a sale. The reward, then, is variable in relation to the number of successful calls the salesperson makes. Ironically, organizations with paid sick leave programs experience almost twice the absenteeism of organizations without such programs. Most organizations provide their salaried employees with paid sick leave as part of the employee’s fringe
benefit program. The reality is that sick leave reinforces the wrong behavior, which is absence from work. When employees receive ten paid sick days a year, it is the unusual employee who isn’t sure to use them all up, regardless of whether or not he or she is sick. This suggests that organizations should reward attendance, not absence. Organizational applications of learning concepts are not restricted to managing the behavior of others. These concepts can also be used to allow individuals to manage their own behavior. This is called Self-management. Self-management requires an individual to deliberately manipulate stimuli, internal processes, and responses to achieve personal behavioral outcomes. The basic processes involve observing one’s own behavior, comparing the behavior with a standard, and rewarding oneself if the behavior meets the standards. Perception can be defined as a process by which individuals organize and interpret their sensory impressions in order to give meaning to their environment. What one perceives can be substantially different from objective reality. For example, it is possible that all employees in a firm may view it as a great place to work-—favorable working conditions, interesting job assignments, good pay, an understanding and responsible management, but it is very unusual to find such agreement. People’s behavior is based on their perception of what reality is, not on reality itself. A number of factors shape and sometimes distort perception. When an individual looks at a target and attempts to interpret what he or she sees, that interpretation is heavily influenced by personal characteristics of the individual perceiver. For example, have you ever bought a new car and then suddenly noticed a large number of cars like yours on the road? It’s unlikely that the number of such cars suddenly increased. Rather, the purchase has influenced your perception so you are now more likely to notice them. Among the most personal characteristics affecting perception are attitudes, motives, interests, past experience, and expectations. Just as interests can narrow one’s focus, so do one’s past experiences. People perceive those things to which they can relate. However, in many instances, a person’s past experiences will act to nullify an object’s interest. Objects or events that have never been experienced before are more noticeable than those that have been experienced in the past. For example, a person is more likely to notice the operations along an assembly line if this is the first time they had seen an assembly line.
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