Reinforcement Theory Implications for Managers

Published: 17th August 2006
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Reinforcement Theory Implications for Managers

Reinforcement theory provides implications for managers. 1st managers should keep in mind that motivated behaviour is influenced by employee's learning what is acceptable / unacceptable to the organization,

When working with employees to develop motivation, managers should do the following:

- Tell individuals what they can do to get positive reinforcement: the work standard lets all employees know what kind of behaviour is acceptable;
- Tell individuals what they are doing wrong: if rewards are not coming, the employee must know why. Providing feedback/information will allow the employee to improve motivated behaviour;
- Base rewards on performance: managers should not reward individuals in the same way. The higher the performance the better the reward should be;
- Administer the reinforcement as close in time to the related behaviour as possible: to achieve maximum impact, the reinforcement should immediately follow the good performance;
- Recognize that failure to reward can also modify behaviour: if a manager does not praise for good performance, the employee will not know what behaviour the manager wants.

By applying these guidelines managers help employees to focus on the organizational objectives while at the same time modifying employee behaviour.

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