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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
knowledge about learning further suggests that reinforcement is a more effective tool than punishment. Although
punishment eliminates undesired behavior more quickly than negative reinforcement does, punished behavior
tends to be only temporarily suppressed rather than permanently changed. Punishment may produce unpleasant
side effects such as lower morale and higher absenteeism or turnover. In addition, the recipients of punishment
tend to become resentful of the punisher. Managers, therefore, are advised to use reinforcement rather than
punishment.

Finally, managers should expect that employees will look to them as models. Managers who are constantly late to
work, or take two hours for lunch, or help themselves to company office supplies for personal use should expect
employees to read the message they are sending and model their behavior accordingly.




                                                           26
Robbins: Organizational Behavior                                                                    Chapter Two

WEB EXERCISES

          At the end of each chapter of this instructor’s manual, you will find suggested exercises and ideas for
          researching the WWW on OB topics. The exercises ―Exploring OB Topics on the Web‖ are set up so
          that you can simply photocopy the pages, distribute them to your class, and make assignments
accordingly. You may want to assign the exercises as an out-of-class activity, or as lab activities with your class.
Within the lecture notes the graphic will note that there is a WWW activity to support this material.



The chapter opens introducing Kevin Nguyen is a flight attendant for Continental Airlines. He had just won one of
two new Ford Explorers given away as part of Continental’s attendance-reward program. The program is working.
It has saved the company more than $20 million by reducing the airlines absenteeism rate. More than 14,000, or
one third of the employees, qualified for the Explorer giveaway. The program has had other benefits in addition to
improving attendance—morale has improved and customers ranked Continental higher than ever on satisfaction
surveys.


CHAPTER OUTLINE

Biographical Characteristics                                                            Notes:

1. Finding and analyzing the variables that have an impact on employee
   productivity, absence, turnover, and satisfaction is often complicated.
2. Many of the concepts—motivation, or power, politics or organizational
   culture—are hard to assess.

3. Other factors are more easily definable and readily available—data that can be
   obtained from an employee’s personnel file and would include characteristics
   such as:
        Age
        Gender
        Marital status
        Length of service, etc.

A. Age

1. The relationship between age and job performance is increasing in importance.
      First, there is a widespread belief that job performance declines with
       increasing age.
      Second, the workforce is aging; workers over 55 are the fastest growing
       sector of the workforce.
      Third, U.S. legislation largely outlaws mandatory retirement.
2. Employers’ perceptions are mixed.

      They see a number of positive qualities that older workers bring to their
       jobs, specifically experience, judgment, a strong work ethic, and
       commitment to quality.
      Older workers are also perceived as lacking flexibility and as being
       resistant to new technology.
      Some believe that the older you get, the less likely you are to quit your job.
       That conclusion is based on studies of the age-turnover relationship.




                                                         27
Robbins: Organizational Behavior                                                              Chapter Two

A. Age (cont.)                                                                       Notes:

3. It is tempting to assume that age is also inversely related to absenteeism.
       Most studies do show an inverse relationship, but close examination finds
        that the age-absence relationship is partially a function of whether the
        absence is avoidable or unavoidable.
       In general, older employees have lower rates of avoidable absence.
        However, they have higher rates of unavoidable absence, probably due to
        their poorer health associated with aging and longer recovery periods
        when injured.
4. There is a widespread belief that productivity declines with age and that
   individual skills decay over time.
       Reviews of the research find that age and job performance are unrelated.
       This seems to be true for almost all types of jobs, professional and
        nonprofessional.
5. The relationship between age and job satisfaction is mixed.
       Most studies indicate a positive association between age and satisfaction,
        at least up to age 60.
       Other studies, however, have found a U-shaped relationship. When
        professional and nonprofessional employees are separated, satisfaction
        tends to continually increase among professionals as they age, whereas it
        falls among nonprofessionals during middle age and then rises again in the
        later years.

B. Gender

1. There are few, if any, important differences between men and women that will
   affect their job performance, including the areas of:
                     Problem-solving
                     Analytical skills
                     Competitive drive
                     Motivation
                     Sociability
                     Learning ability
2. Women are more willing to conform to authority, and men are more aggressive
   and more likely than women to have expectations of success, but those
   differences are minor.
3. There is no evidence indicating that an employee’s gender affects job
   satisfaction.
4. There is a difference between men and women in terms of preference for work
   schedules.

       Mothers of preschool children are more likely to prefer part-time work,
        flexible work schedules, and telecommuting in order to accommodate their
        family responsibilities.
5. Absence and turnover rates
       Women’s quit rates are similar to men’s.
       The research on absence consistently indicates that women have higher
        rates of absenteeism.
       The logical explanation: cultural expectation that has historically placed
        home and family responsibilities on the woman.


                                                        28
Robbins: Organizational Behavior                                                                   Chapter Two

C. Marital Status                                                                         Notes:

1. There are not enough studies to draw any conclusions about the effect of
   marital status on job productivity.
2. Research consistently indicates that married employees have fewer absences,
   undergo less turnover, and are more satisfied with their jobs than are their
   unmarried coworkers.
3. More research needs to be done on the other statuses besides single or
   married, such as divorce, domestic partnering, etc..

D. Tenure

1. The issue of the impact of job seniority on job performance has been subject to
   misconceptions and speculations.
2. Extensive reviews of the seniority-productivity relationship have been
   conducted:
        There is a positive relationship between tenure and job productivity.
        There is a negative relationship between tenure to absence.
        Tenure is also a potent variable in explaining turnover.
        Tenure has consistently been found to be negatively related to turnover
         and has been suggested as one of the single best predictors of turnover.
        The evidence indicates that tenure and satisfaction are positively related.

E. Ability

1. We were not all created equal; most of us are to the left of the median on some
   normally distributed ability curve.
2. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses in terms of ability in performing
   certain tasks or activities; the issue is knowing how people differ in abilities and
   using that knowledge to increase performance.
3. Ability refers to an individual’s capacity to perform the various tasks in a job. It
   is a current assessment of what one can do.
4. Individual overall abilities are made up of two sets of factors: intellectual and
   physical.


F.   Intellectual Abilities

1. Intellectual abilities are those needed to perform mental activities.
2. IQ tests are designed to ascertain one’s general intellectual abilities. Examples
   of such tests are popular college admission tests such as the SAT, GMAT, and
   LSAT.
3. The seven most frequently cited dimensions making up intellectual abilities
   are: number aptitude, verbal comprehension, perceptual speed, inductive
   reasoning, deductive reasoning, spatial visualization, and memory. (See
   Exhibit 2-1).




                                                           29
Robbins: Organizational Behavior                                                                  Chapter Two

F. Intellectual Abilities (cont.)                                                        Notes:

4. Jobs differ in the demands they place on incumbents to use their intellectual
   abilities. For example, the more information-processing demands that exist in a
   job, the more general intelligence and verbal abilities will be necessary to
   perform the job successfully.
5. A careful review of the evidence demonstrates that tests that assess verbal,
   numerical, spatial, and perceptual abilities are valid predictors of job
   proficiency at all levels of jobs.
6. The major dilemma faced by employers who use mental ability tests is that
   they may have a negative impact on racial and ethnic groups.
7. New research in this area focuses on ―multiple intelligences,‖ which breaks
   down intelligence into its four sub-parts: cognitive, social, emotional, and
   cultural.

G.   Physical Abilities

1. Specific physical abilities gain importance in doing less skilled and more
   standardized jobs.
2. Research has identified nine basic abilities involved in the performance of
   physical tasks. (See Exhibit 2-2).
3. Individuals differ in the extent to which they have each of these abilities.
4. High employee performance is likely to be achieved when management
   matches the extent to which a job requires each of the nine abilities and the
   employees’ abilities.

     H. The Ability-Job Fit

1. Employee performance is enhanced when there is a high ability-job fit.
2. The specific intellectual or physical abilities required depend on the ability
   requirements of the job. For example, pilots need strong spatial-visualization
   abilities.
3. Directing attention at only the employee’s abilities, or only the ability
   requirements of the job, ignores the fact that employee performance depends
   on the interaction of the two.
4. When the fit is poor employees are likely to fail.
5. When the ability-job fit is out of sync because the employee has abilities that
   far exceed the requirements of the job, performance is likely to be adequate,
   but there will be organizational inefficiencies and possible declines in
   employee satisfaction.
6. Abilities significantly above those required can also reduce the employee’s job
   satisfaction when the employee’s desire to use his or her abilities is particularly
   strong and is frustrated by the limitations of the job.

Learning                                                                                 Notes:

        All complex behavior is learned.
        If we want to explain and predict behavior, we need to understand how
         people learn.




                                                          30
Robbins: Organizational Behavior                                                                  Chapter Two

A.   Definition of Learning                                                              Notes:

1. What is learning? A generally accepted definition is ―any relatively permanent
   change in behavior that occurs as a result of experience.‖
2. The definition suggests that we shall never see someone ―learning.‖ We can
   see changes taking place but not the learning itself.
3. The definition has several components that deserve clarification:
        First, learning involves change.
        Second, the change must be relatively permanent.
        Third, our definition is concerned with behavior.
        Finally, some form of experience is necessary for learning.

A. Theories of Learning

There are three theories—classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and social
learning.
Classical Conditioning
1. Classical conditioning grew out of experiments conducted at the turn of the
   century by a Russian physiologist, Ivan Pavlov, to teach dogs to salivate in
   response to the ringing of a bell.
2. Key concepts in classical conditioning [Pavlov’s experiment]
    The meat was an unconditioned stimulus; it invariably caused the dog to
      react in a specific way.
    The bell was an artificial stimulus, or what we call the conditioned stimulus.
    The conditioned response. This describes the behavior of the dog; it
      salivated in reaction to the bell alone.
3. Learning a conditioned response involves building up an association between
   a conditioned stimulus and an unconditioned stimulus.
4. When the stimuli, one compelling and the other one neutral, are paired, the
   neutral one becomes a conditioned stimulus and, hence, takes on the
   properties of the unconditioned stimulus.
5. Classical conditioning is passive—something happens, and we react in a
   specific way. It is elicited in response to a specific, identifiable event.
Operant Conditioning
1. Operant conditioning argues that behavior is a function of its consequences.
   People learn to behave to get something they want or to avoid something they
   do not want.
2. The tendency to repeat such behavior is influenced by reinforcement or lack of
   reinforcement.
3. Harvard psychologist B.F. Skinner’s research on operant conditioning
   expanded our knowledge.
4. Tenets of Operant Conditioning are:
        Behavior is learned.
        People are likely to engage in desired behaviors if they are positively
         reinforced for doing so.
        Rewards are most effective if they immediately follow the desired
         response.
        Any situation in which it is either explicitly stated or implicitly suggested
         that reinforcements are contingent on some action on your part involves
         the use of operant learning.


                                                            31
Robbins: Organizational Behavior                                                                      Chapter Two

A. Theories of Learning (cont.)                                                          Notes:

Social Learning
1. Individuals can also learn by observing what happens to other people, by being
   told about something, as well as by direct experiences.
2. Learning by observing is an extension of operant conditioning; it also
   acknowledges the existence of observational learning and the importance of
   perception in learning.
3. The influence of models is central to social learning.
4. Four processes determine the influence that a model will have on an individual.
       Attentional processes. People learn from a model only when they
        recognize and pay attention to its critical features.
       Retention processes. A model’s influence will depend on how well the
        individual remembers the model’s action after the model is no longer
        readily available.
       Motor reproduction processes. After a person has seen a new behavior by
        observing the model, the watching must be converted to doing.
       Reinforcement processes. Individuals will be motivated to exhibit the
        modeled behavior if positive incentives or rewards are provided.

Instructor Note: At this point in the lecture you may want to introduce the exercise found in the MYTH OR
SCIENCE?: You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks! box found in the text. The purpose of the exercise is to
replace popularly held notions with research-based conclusions. It is suggested that you conduct the exercise
prior to discussing the findings discussion within the boxed text. Additionally, you may want to introduce the Case
Exercise: Bonne Bell Factory Employees Average Age 70.

                             MYTH OR SCIENCE? – “You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks!”

            This statement is false. This statement reflects a widely held stereotype. Studies consistently
demonstrate that older employees are perceived this way, but the evidence indicates that older workers (typically
defined as people aged 50 and over) want to learn and are just as capable of learning as any other employee
group. Older workers do seem to be somewhat less efficient in acquiring complex or demanding skills. That is,
they may take longer to train. But once trained, they perform at comparable levels to younger workers.

Trainability has been the subject of much research. There are differences between people in their trainability. A
number of individual-difference factors (such as ability, motivational level, and personality) do influence it; age,
however, has not been found to influence these outcomes.

Class Exercise

Conduct this exercise before discussing this MYTH OR SCIENCE box.
1 Ask students to describe how people, over 50, are different from them or a recent college graduate. Record
   their ideas on the board. [To prime the pump, ask them to compare themselves to their parents or
   grandparents.]
2 After generating a list of at least 20 characteristics, ask them to help you sort the characteristics into two sets:
   positives regarding work, negatives regarding work.
3 Discuss with students two ideas: 1) Why are older people different in these ways than younger—i.e., older
   people tell stories about the good old days, and 2) If they were a manager, would the list of positives or
   negatives weigh more heavily in their hiring decision?
4 Discuss the material above (also found in the student’s text).
5 Conclude by asking students to research this issue on the WWW (a suggested exercise can be found in the
   WEB EXERCISES found at the end this chapter, or you can photocopy an article on this issue and hand it out
   in class). Have them report back in the next class about how the article affected their thinking. Start the next
   class with 15 minutes on discussion of their research.



                                                          32
Robbins: Organizational Behavior                                                                Chapter Two

C. Shaping: A Managerial Tool                                                          Notes:

1. When we attempt to mold individuals by guiding their learning in graduated
   steps, we are shaping behavior.
2. It is done by systematically reinforcing each successive step that moves the
   individual closer to the desired response.
3. Methods of Shaping Behavior.
        Positive reinforcement—following a response with something pleasant
        Negative reinforcement—following a response by the termination or
         withdrawal of something unpleasant
        Punishment is causing an unpleasant condition in an attempt to eliminate
         an undesirable behavior
        Extinction—eliminating any reinforcement that is maintaining a behavior.
         When the behavior is not reinforced, it tends to gradually be extinguished.
4. Both positive and negative reinforcement result in learning. They strengthen a
   response and increase the probability of repetition. Both punishment and
   extinction, however, weaken behavior and tend to decrease its subsequent
   frequency.
5. Reinforcement, whether it is positive or negative, has an impressive record as
   a shaping tool.
6. A review of research findings:
        Some type of reinforcement is necessary to produce a change in behavior.
        Some types of rewards are more effective for use in organizations than
         others.
        The speed with which learning takes place and the permanence of its
         effects will be determined by the timing of reinforcement. This point is
         extremely important and deserves considerable elaboration.

D.   Schedules of Reinforcement

1. The two major types of reinforcement schedules are: 1) continuous and 2)
   intermittent.
2. A continuous reinforcement schedule reinforces the desired behavior each and
   every time it is demonstrated.
3. In an intermittent schedule, not every instance of the desirable behavior is
   reinforced, but reinforcement is given often enough to make the behavior worth
   repeating.
        It can be compared to the workings of a slot machine.
        The intermittent payoffs occur just often enough to reinforce behavior.
4. Evidence indicates that the intermittent, or varied, form of reinforcement tends
   to promote more resistance to extinction than does the continuous form.
5. An intermittent reinforcement can be of a ratio or interval type.
6. Ratio schedules depend upon how many responses the subject makes; the
   individual is reinforced after giving a certain number of specific types of
   behavior.




                                                         33
Robbins: Organizational Behavior                                                                  Chapter Two

D: Schedules of Reinforcement (cont.)                                                    Notes:

1. Interval schedules depend upon how much time has passed since the last
   reinforcement; the individual is reinforced on the first appropriate behavior after
   a particular time has elapsed.
2. A reinforcement can also be classified as fixed or variable.
3. Intermittent techniques be placed into four categories, as shown in Exhibit 2-4.
4. Fixed-interval reinforcement schedule—rewards are spaced at uniform time
   intervals; the critical variable is time, and it is held constant. Some examples:
       This is the predominant schedule for most salaried workers in North
        America—the paycheck.
5. Variable-interval reinforcements—rewards are distributed in time so that
   reinforcements are unpredictable.
       Pop quizzes
       A series of randomly timed unannounced visits to a company office by the
        corporate audit staff
6. In a fixed-ratio schedule, after a fixed or constant number of responses are
   given, a reward is initiated.
       A piece-rate incentive plan is a fixed-ratio schedule.
7. When the reward varies relative to the behavior of the individual, he or she is
   said to be reinforced on a variable-ratio schedule.
       Salespeople on commission


Instructor Note: At this point in the lecture you may want to introduce the TEAM EXERCISE: Positive
Reinforcement vs. Punishment found in the text (and at the end of the lecture notes). (Allow 20-25 minutes for
the exercise).

E. Reinforcement Schedules and Behavior (Exhibit 2-5)

1. Continuous reinforcement schedules can lead to early satiation. Under this
   schedule, behavior tends to weaken rapidly when reinforcers are withheld.
       Continuous reinforcers are appropriate for newly emitted, unstable, or low-
        frequency responses.
2. Intermittent reinforcers preclude early satiation because they do not follow
   every response.
       They are appropriate for stable or high-frequency responses.
3. In general, variable schedules tend to lead to higher performance than fixed
   schedules.
4. Variable-interval schedules generate high rates of response and more stable
   and consistent behavior because of a high correlation between performance
   and reward. The employee tends to be more alert since there is a surprise
   factor.




                                                          34
Robbins: Organizational Behavior                                                                     Chapter Two


Instructor Note: At this point in the lecture you may want to introduce the OB IN THE NEWS: The High-Tech
Stock Bubble and Reinforcement Schedules box found in the text. The purpose of the exercise is to help
students better understand how learning theory is applied to situations which occur in daily business life. A
suggestion for a class exercise follows the introduction of the material in the box below.



                       OB IN THE NEWS – The High-Tech Stock Bubble and Reinforcement Schedules

             The Nasdaq stock index, which is heavily laden with the stocks of high-tech and Internet related
companies, soared to over 5000 in March 2000. In 1998 and 1999, this index had been raising at better than 80
percent. In spite of stratospheric price earnings ratios (many of the fastest rising stock, in fact, had no earnings
and were losing tens of millions of dollars a month), most stock analysts continued to recommend that investors
buy stocks in companies like Cisco Systems, Oracle, Pets.com and Amazon.com because of the analysts’ belief
that the price of these stocks would go a whole lot higher. They were wrong (in the Spring of 2002, the Nasdaq
index was below 2000), but millions of investors bought into the analysts’ irrational exuberance.

With the rally in technology stocks in the late 1990s came a change in the way that many people looked at their
investment portfolios. Instead of passively handing their money over to a traditional stockbroker and pursuing a
long-term strategy, many people became aggressive traders. They opened up on-line brokerage accounts and
relied on real time quotes and CNBC to provide them with a daylong supply of market news and stock
recommendations. They actively bought and sold stocks, in some cases selling a stock within minutes of buying it
if they could lock a quick profit.

In retrospect, the explosive run-up in the Nasdaq index was an example of the power of intermittent reinforcement
schedules. Many of the investors who bid up Internet shares were happy to admit they knew nothing about
business, technology or valuation theories. Like a slot machine addict in Las Vegas, they just wanted in on the
game. Ironically, for many traders during 1998 and 1999, trading in technology stocks actually looked more like
continuous reinforcement than intermittent. Everything they bought went up in price. A large number of investors
who stood on the sidelines, chastising the foolishness of buying ―Internet dreams,‖ eventually began to consider
themselves fools for not playing the game. Why stand on the sidelines, watching everyone else make money,
when they could play too? By spring of 2000, millions of historically conservative investors had been sucked into
the Internet bubble and ended up losing a large part of their savings and retirement portfolios.

Class Exercise:

1.   Have students break into small groups.
2.   Assign a learning theory to each group and ask them to apply the theory to the facts of the case.
3.   Ask them to use a learning theory to explain the behavior of investors during this time period.
4.   Have a spokesperson from each group outline their application of the theory.
5.   Ask the class to decide which theory has the strongest possibility for this situation.




                                                         35
Robbins: Organizational Behavior                                                                Chapter Two

F. Behavior Modification                                                               Notes:

1. A classic was study conducted at Emery Air Freight (now part of Federal
   Express):
       Emery’s management wanted packers to use freight containers for
        shipments whenever possible.
       Packers intuitively felt that 90 percent of shipments were containerized.
        An analysis showed that it was only 45 percent.
       Management established a program of feedback and positive
        reinforcements by asking each packer to keep a checklist of his or her
        daily packings, both containerized and noncontainerized.
       At the end of each day, the packer computed his or her container utilization
        rate.
       Container utilization jumped to more than 90 percent on the first day of the
        program and held.
       This simple program of feedback and positive reinforcements saved the
        company $2 million over a three-year period.
2. This program at Emery Air Freight illustrates OB Modification.
3. The typical OB Mod program follows a five-step problem-solving model:
       Identifying critical behaviors
       Developing baseline data
       Identifying behavior consequences
       Developing and implementing an intervention strategy
       Evaluating performance improvement
4. Critical behaviors make a significant impact on the employee’s job
   performance; these are those 5–10 percent of behaviors that may account for
   up to 70 or 80 percent of each employee’s performance.
5. Developing baseline data determines the number of times the identified
   behavior is occurring under present conditions.
6. Identifying behavioral consequences tells the manager the antecedent cues
   that emit the behavior and the consequences that are currently maintaining it.
7. Developing and implementing an intervention strategy will entail changing
   some elements of the performance-reward linkage-structure, processes,
   technology, groups, or the task—with the goal of making high-level
   performance more rewarding.
8. Evaluating performance improvement is important to demonstrate that a
   change took place as a result of the intervention strategy.
9. OB Mod has been used by a number of organizations to improve employee
   productivity and to reduce errors, absenteeism, tardiness, accident rates, and
   improve friendliness toward customers.


Instructor Note: At this point in the lecture you may want to introduce the ETHICAL DILEMMA: Is OB Mod a
Form of Manipulation? as a class discussion.




                                                        36
Robbins: Organizational Behavior                                                              Chapter Two

G. Specific Organizational Applications                                              Notes:

1. Using lotteries to reduce absenteeism
       In the opening case study Continental Airlines has created a lottery that
        rewards its 40,000 employees for attendance.
       Twice a year, Continental holds a raffle and gives away eight new sport
        utility vehicles.
       Only employees who have not missed a day of work during the previous
        six months are eligible.
       This lottery follows a variable-ratio schedule.
       Management credits the lottery with significantly reducing the company’s
        absence rate.
2. Well pay vs. sick pay
       Organizations with paid sick leave programs experience almost twice the
        absenteeism of organizations without such programs.
       One Midwest organization implemented a well-pay program. It paid a
        bonus to employees who had no absence for any given four-week period
        and then paid for sick leave only after the first eight hours of absence

        a. The well-pay program produced increased savings to the organization,
           reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, and improved employee
           satisfaction.
        b. Forbes magazine used the same approach to cut its health care costs.

       It rewarded employees who stayed healthy and did not file medical claims
        by paying them the difference between $500 and their medical claims, then
        doubling the amount. Forbes cut its major medical and dental claims by
        over 30 percent.
3. Employee discipline
       Every manager will, at some time, have to deal with problem behaviors.
       Managers will respond with disciplinary actions such as oral reprimands,
        written warnings, and temporary suspensions.
       The use of discipline carries costs. It may provide only a short-term
        solution and result in serious side effects.
       Disciplining employees for undesirable behaviors tells them only what not
        to do. It does not tell them what alternative behaviors are preferred.
       Discipline does have a place in organizations.
       In practice, it tends to be popular because of its ability to produce fast
        results in the short run.
4. Developing training programs
       Most organizations have some type of systematic training program.
       In one recent year, U.S. corporations with 100 or more employees spent in
        excess of $58 billion on formal training for 47.3 million workers.
5. Social-learning theory suggests that training should:
       Offer a model to grab the trainee’s attention.
       Provide motivational properties.
       Help the trainee to file away what he or she has learned for later use and
        provide opportunities to practice new behaviors.
       Offer positive rewards for accomplishments.
       If the training has taken place off the job, allow the trainee some
        opportunity to transfer what he/she learned to the job.



                                                        37
Robbins: Organizational Behavior                                                                      Chapter Two

G. Specific Organizational Applications (cont.)                                          Notes:

6.    Self-management
         Organizational applications of learning concepts can also be used to allow
          individuals to manage their own behavior.
         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
          standard.

Instructor Note: At this point in the lecture you may want to introduce the class exercise FROM CONCEPTS TO
SKILLS: Effective Discipline Skills found below. (Allow 40-45 minutes for the exercise). Or you may choose to
conduct the TEAM EXERCISE: Positive Reinforcement vs. Punishment found at the end of this chapter.

                             FROM CONCEPTS TO SKILLS – Effective Discipline Skills

The essence of effective disciplining can be summarized by the following eight behaviors:

1.   Respond immediately                                            5.   Keep discussion impersonal
2.   Provide a warning                                              6.   Be consistent
3.   State the problem specifically                                 7.   Take progressive action
4.   Allow the employee to explain his or her position              8.   Obtain agreement on change

This is a moderate risk activity but really brings home the learning about the difficulty of employee discipline.

Class Exercise:

1. Set up two chairs facing each other in the front of the room. Explain that one will be for a manager and one for
    the employee.
2. Ask for two student volunteers. Explain that they will be the ―disciplined‖ people in a brief role-play.
3. Have the volunteers step out of the room. Tell them they may have to wait up to 10 minutes.
4. Offer the class the following situation. As a manager, they have an employee who repeatedly comes to work
    late. The company policy is that after three times of being more than 45 minutes late (cumulative) the
    manager must put the employee on progressive discipline. Have the class brainstorm how they would handle
    the discipline interview. Ask for two volunteers to be the managers. [If your class has a history of being
    reluctant to volunteer, discuss the exercise with at least two students separately, and ask them to be prepared
    to volunteer if no one does so.] Select your managers. Have one take the manager’s chair, the other just
    stand next to the chair for the moment.
5. Step out into the hall and explain to the two volunteers that they will have a discipline meeting with their
    ―manager.‖ Volunteer number one is to admit to the problem, offer a relatively lame excuse, and accept
    whatever discipline is given. Volunteer number two is to offer a story about being a single parent, having child
    care problems, having a mother who needs chemotherapy weekly and having to drive her in the morning,
    etc., etc. Pile it on.
6. Have volunteer number one enter the class and take the ―employee‖ seat. Ask the standing manager to step
    into the hall. Explain to both the manager and the employee in the hall they are not to discuss the exercise
    while they are waiting.
7. Return to the classroom; ask the class to note what happens in the interview and be prepared to discuss it.
    Then have manager number one begin the discipline interview, telling him/her that he/she has only 10
    minutes. At the end of the interview, have the students take their seats.
8. Bring in the second pair of employee and manager. Repeat your instructions, and let them role-play. Have
    them take their seats when done.
9. Discuss and record on the board how the interviews were conducted, what was done well, and what could
    have been done better. Start by letting the managers self-report; make sure they talk first about what they did
    well. Then discuss as a class.
10. Note if the difference in circumstances resulted in a different outcome. Ask each manager how he/she felt
    disciplining his/her particular employee. Use the discussion to point out the need for consistency and the
    difficulty of the discipline interview process for manager and employee.
                                                          38
Robbins: Organizational Behavior                                                                       Chapter Two

QUESTIONS FOR REVIEW

1. Which biographical characteristics best predict productivity? Absenteeism? Turnover? Satisfaction?
   Answer – Finding and analyzing the variables that have an impact on employee productivity, absence,
   turnover, and satisfaction is often complicated.
   Age – The relationship between age and job performance is increasing in importance. Also, the older you get,
   the less likely you are to quit your job. The age-absence relationship is partially a function of whether the
   absence is avoidable or unavoidable. In general, older employees have lower rates of avoidable absence.
   Reviews of the research find that age and job performance are unrelated. Most studies indicate a positive
   association between age and satisfaction, at least up to age 60. Other studies, however, have found a U-
   shaped relationship. When the two types, professional and nonprofessional employees, are separated,
   satisfaction tends to continually increase among professionals as they age, whereas it falls among
   nonprofessionals during middle age and then rises again in the later years.
   Gender – The evidence suggests that there are few, if any, important differences between men and women
   that will affect their job performance. There are no consistent male-female differences in problem-solving
   ability, analytical skills, competitive drive, motivation, sociability, or learning ability. There is a difference in
   terms of preference for work schedules. Some studies have found that women have higher turnover rates;
   others have found no difference. There does not appear to be enough information from which to draw
   meaningful conclusions. The research on absence consistently indicates that women have higher rates of
   absenteeism than men do.
   Marital Status – There are not enough studies to draw any conclusions about the effect of marital status on
   productivity. Research consistently indicates that married employees have fewer absences, undergo less
   turnover, and are more satisfied with their jobs than are their unmarried coworkers.
   Tenure – Studies consistently demonstrate seniority to be negatively related to absenteeism. Tenure is also a
   potent variable in explaining turnover. ―Tenure has consistently been found to be negatively related to
   turnover and has been suggested as one of the single best predictors of turnover.‖ The evidence indicates
   that tenure and satisfaction are positively related.

2. Assess the validity of using intelligence scores for selecting new employees.
   Answer – IQ tests are designed to ascertain one’s general intellectual abilities. The seven most frequently
   cited dimensions making up intellectual abilities are number aptitude, verbal comprehension, perceptual
   speed, inductive reasoning, deductive reasoning, spatial visualization, and memory. Jobs differ in the
   demands they place on incumbents to use their intellectual abilities. The more information-processing
   demands that exist in a job, the more general intelligence and verbal abilities will be necessary to perform the
   job successfully. A careful review of the evidence demonstrates that tests that assess verbal, numerical,
   spatial, and perceptual abilities are valid predictors of job proficiency at all levels of jobs. The major dilemma
   faced by employers who use mental ability tests is that they may have a negative impact on racial and ethnic
   groups.

3. Describe the specific steps you would take to ensure that an individual has the appropriate abilities to
   satisfactorily do a given job.
   Answer – Managers should conduct a careful job assessment so that they can identify key abilities, and then
   screen applicants for their fit to those job-related needs. The ability-job fit is critically important to employee
   satisfaction and longevity.

4. Explain classical conditioning.
   Answer – Classical conditioning grew out of experiments conducted at the turn of the century by a Russian
   physiologist, Ivan Pavlov, to teach dogs to salivate in response to the ringing of a bell. Learning a conditioned
   response involves building up an association between a conditioned stimulus and an unconditioned stimulus.
   Classical conditioning is passive—something happens and we react in a specific way. It is elicited in response
   to a specific, identifiable event.

5. Contrast classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and social learning.
   Answer – Classical conditioning grew out of experiments conducted at the turn of the century by a Russian
   physiologist, Ivan Pavlov, to teach dogs to salivate in response to the ringing of a bell. Key concepts are
   unconditioned stimulus; conditioned stimulus; and conditioned response. Learning a conditioned response
   involves building up an association between a conditioned stimulus and an unconditioned stimulus. Classical
   conditioning is passive. Something happens, and we react in a specific way. It is elicited in response to a
   specific, identifiable event.
                                                          39
Robbins: Organizational Behavior                                                                   Chapter Two

QUESTIONS FOR REVIEW (cont.)

    Operant conditioning argues that behavior is a function of its consequences. People learn to behave to get
    something they want or to avoid something they do not want. The tendency to repeat such behavior is
    influenced by reinforcement or lack of reinforcement. Harvard psychologist B.F. Skinner’s research on
    operant conditioning extensively expanded our knowledge. Any situation in which it is either explicitly stated
    or implicitly suggested that reinforcements are contingent on some action on your part involves the use of
    operant learning.
    Social learning individuals can also learn by observing what happens to other people, by being told about
    something, as well as by direct experiences. It is an extension of operant conditioning, it also acknowledges
    the existence of observational learning and the importance of perception in learning. People respond to how
    they perceive and define consequences, not to the objective consequences themselves. The influence of
    models is central. There are four processes: attentional processes, retention processes, motor reproduction
    processes, and reinforcement processes.

6. How might employees actually learn unethical behavior on their jobs?
   Answer – Probably the biggest issue is that of the role model set by managers and executives. Plus,
   employees see people all around them engaging in unethical practices. They hear these people, when
   caught, giving excuses such as ―everyone does it,‖ or ―you have to seize every advantage nowadays,‖ or ―I
   never thought I’d get caught.‖

7. Describe the four types of intermittent reinforcers.
   Answer – In an intermittent schedule, not every instance of the desirable behavior is reinforced, but
   reinforcement is given often enough to make the behavior worth repeating. The intermittent payoffs occur just
   often enough to reinforce behavior. Intermittent techniques be placed into four categories, as shown in Exhibit
   2-4. 1) In a fixed-interval reinforcement schedule, rewards are spaced at uniform time intervals. 2) In a
   variable-interval reinforcement, rewards are distributed in time so that reinforcements are unpredictable. 3) In
   a fixed-ratio schedule, after a fixed or constant number of responses is given, a reward is initiated. 4) In a
   variable-ratio schedule, when the reward varies relative to the behavior of the individual, he or she is said to
   be reinforced.

8. What are the five steps in behavior modification?
   Answer – The typical OB Mod program follows a five-step problem-solving model:
    Identifying critical behaviors
    Developing baseline data
    Identifying behavioral consequences
    Developing and implementing an intervention strategy
    Evaluating performance improvement.

9. If you had to take disciplinary action against an employee, how, specifically, would you do it?
   Answer – Every manager will, at some time, have to deal with problem behaviors. Disciplining employees for
   undesirable behaviors tells them only what not to do. It does not tell them what alternative behaviors are
   preferred. Appropriate discipline is clear on what is desired as well as having elements of positive
   reinforcement for doing what is desired. Discipline needs to balance strategies to extinguish undesired
   behavior with strategies to encourage desired behavior.

10. Describe the four processes in successful social learning.
    Answer – Social learning involves learning by observing what happens to other people, by being told about
    something, as well as by direct experiences. Four processes determine the influence that a model will have
    on an individual.
     Attentional processes. People learn from a model only when they recognize and pay attention to its
        critical features.
     Retention processes. A model’s influence will depend on how well the individual remembers the model’s
        action after the model is no longer readily available.
     Motor reproduction processes. After a person has seen a new behavior by observing the model, the
        watching must be converted to doing.
     Reinforcement processes. Individuals will be motivated to exhibit the modeled behavior if positive
        incentives or rewards are provided.

                                                        40
Robbins: Organizational Behavior                                                                       Chapter Two

QUESTIONS FOR CRITICAL THINKING

1. “All organizations would benefit from hiring the smartest people they can get.” Do you agree or disagree with
   this statement? Support your answer.
   Answer – This is clearly the philosophy of Microsoft, and it seems to be working. Most other organizations
   focus on experience. Microsoft gives extraordinary attention to one single factor—intelligence! This has
   resulted in greater diversity as well. Microsoft believes its greatest asset is the collective intellectual resources
   of its employees.

2. What do you think is more likely to lead to success on a job—a good ability-job fit or personality-organization
   fit? Explain.
   Answer – Research seems to indicate the personality-organization fit is critical for managers and executives
   to be successful. The key to ability-job fit is knowing how people differ in abilities and using that knowledge to
   increase the likelihood that an employee will perform his or her job well. The answer is not really either/or but
   both/and.

3. Besides past work history and an employee’s job performance, what other mitigating factors do you think a
   manager should use in applying discipline? And doesn’t the mere attempt to use mitigating circumstances
   turn disciplinary action into a political process?
   Answer – This is an important question because of the issues of fairness and the legal requirement of
   impartiality. On one hand, it is important that discipline is administered fairly and equitably and that discipline
   is consistent across individuals for similar offenses. At the same time, even our court system recognizes that
   there are mitigating circumstances that sometimes need to be considered. Managers need to use a consistent
   process—all employees go through the entire process that does include consideration of mitigating
   circumstances. Having senior managers review any employee discipline case also provides for confirmation
   or adjusting of the manager’s original decision. Many large companies require certain levels of review of any
   employee discipline issue depending on the seriousness of the violation and consequence of the discipline.
   Finally, as we will see in later chapters, almost anything, almost any decision within an organization can be
   made a political decision. Uniform processes and training help minimize that eventuality.

4. What abilities do you think are especially important for success in senior-level management positions?
   Answer – Student’s answers will vary. Some ideas they may have regarding abilities should include:
   leadership, problem solving, critical thinking skills, excellent communication skills, decision making, etc. They
   may want to specify level of education and training as well, such as an MBA, etc.

5. What have you learned about “learning” that could help you to explain the behavior of students in a classroom
   if (a) the instructor gives only one test—a final examination at the end of the course? (b) the instructor gives
   four exams during the term, all of which are announced on the first day of class? (c) the student’s grade is
   based on the results of numerous exams, none of which are announced by the instructor ahead of time?
   Answer – The instructors are using different schedules of reinforcement which may cause the students to
   react according to the type of reinforcement provided. In (a) the instructor is using fixed-interval, but only once
   at the end of the course. Because the students are not getting any reinforcement throughout the term, they
   may not be learning the material as the class progresses. Some students may become anxious and ―want to
   know how they are doing,‖ and others may simply wait to the end of the term to study since it ―doesn’t make
   any difference anyway.‖ In (b) the instructor is using continuous reinforcement at fixed intervals. This
   provides students with frequent feedback on performance in the class. Students can adjust their inputs
   (studying, class attendance, etc.) based on the feedback the tests provide. In (c) the instructor is using
   variable-interval type of reinforcement. Because the course performance measurements are unpredictable,
   students would need to stay on top of the material to be ready for a test or quiz.




                                                           41
Robbins: Organizational Behavior                                                                                       Chapter Two

                                 POINT-COUNTERPOINT – All Human Behavior Is Learned
POINT

Human beings are essentially blank slates that are shaped by their environment. B.F. Skinner, in fact,
summarized his belief in the power of the environment to shape behavior when he said, ―Give me a child at birth
and I can make him into anything you want.‖

We have a number of societal mechanisms that exist because of this belief in the power of learned behavior. Let
me identify some of them:

Role of parenting: We place a great deal of importance on the role of mothers and fathers in the raising of
children. We believe, for instance, that children raised without fathers will be hindered by their lack of a male role
model. Parents who have continual run-ins with the law risk having government authorities take their children
from them. The latter action is typically taken because society believes that irresponsible parents do not provide
the proper learning environment for their children.
Importance of education: Most advanced societies invest heavily in the education of their young. They typically
provide ten or more years of free education. In countries like the United States, going on to college after finishing
high school has become the norm rather then the exception. This investment in education is undertaken because
it is seen as a way for young people to learn knowledge and skills.
Job training: For those individuals who do not go onto college, most will pursue job training programs to develop
specific work-related skills. They will take courses to become proficient as auto mechanics, medical assistants,
and the like. Similarly, people who seek to become skilled trades workers will pursue apprenticeships as
carpenters, electricians, or pipe fitters. In addition, business firms invest billions of dollars each year in training
and education to keep current employee skills up-to-date.
Manipulating of rewards: Complex compensation programs are designed by organizations to fairly reward
employees for their work performance, but these programs are also designed with the intention to motivate
employees. They are designed to encourage employees to engage in behaviors that manage desires and to
extinguish behaviors that management wants to discourage. Salary levels, for instance, typically reward
employee loyalty, encourage the learning of new skills, and motivate individuals to assume great responsibilities
in the organization.

The above mechanisms all exist and flourish because organizations and society believe that people can learn and
change their behavior.


COUNTER POINT

1. Discuss with students how and why they choose courses within their major. (Caution students at the
   beginning not to name professors teaching the various sections.)
2. Have students create their own individual lists of criteria. Give them five minutes to create their lists.
3. Ask for volunteers to record their reasons on the board.
4. Discuss the reasons, creating a composite list that supports Point and one that supports Counter Point.
5. Which position is more thoroughly supported by students’ experiences with choosing classes?
6. Do they think their class-choosing experience would be paralleled in the real work world? Why or why not?
[Some points in this argument are based on B.M. Staw, ―Dressing Up Like an Organization: When Psychological Actions Can Explain
Organizational Action,‖ Journal of Management, December 1991, pp. 805-19. Also from J. Pfeifer, ―Organization Theory and Structural
Perspectives on Management,‖ Journal of Management, December 1991, pp. 789-803.]




                                                                    42
Robbins: Organizational Behavior                                                                                   Chapter Two

                                 TEAM EXERCISE – Positive and Negative Reinforcement

Purpose – To demonstrate the power of power and negative reinforcement.
Time required – Approximately 20 minutes
Participant roles – Select two volunteers.

The Task

1. The two volunteers are selected to receive reinforcement from the class while performing a particular task.
   The volunteers leave the room.
2. Identify an object for the student volunteers to locate when they return to the room. (The object should be
   unobtrusive but clearly visible to the class.) Examples that have worked well include a small triangular piece
   of paper that was left behind when a notice was torn off a classroom bulletin board, a smudge on the
   chalkboard, and a chip in the plaster of a classroom wall.
3. The instructor specifies the reinforcement contingencies that will be in effect when the volunteers return to the
   room.
    For negative reinforcement, students should hiss or boo when the first volunteer is moving away from the
        object.
    For positive reinforcement, they should cheer and applaud when the second volunteer is getting closer to
        the object.
4. The instructor should assign a student to keep a record of the time it takes each of the volunteers to locate
   the object.
5. Volunteer 1 is brought back into the room and told,
    ―Your task is to locate and touch a particular object in the room, and the class has agreed to help you.
        You cannot use words or ask questions. Begin.‖
    Volunteer 1 continues to look for the object until it is found, while the class assists by giving negative
        reinforcement.
6. Volunteer 2 is brought back into the room and told,
    ―Your task is to locate and touch a particular object in the room, and the class has agreed to help you.
        You cannot use words or ask questions. Begin.‖
    Volunteer 2 continues to look for the object until it is found, while the class assists by giving positive
        reinforcement.
7. Conduct a class discussion. Have the timekeeper present the results on how long it took each volunteer to
   find the object.
8. Then discuss:
    What was the difference in behavior of the two volunteers?
    What are the implications of this exercise to reinforcement schedules in organizations?

Teaching Notes:

1. In the discussion of the results, raise the issue of the ethicality of shaping behavior with negative and positive
   reinforcement. ―Is it right for a manager to use these techniques to direct the behavior of an employee?‖
2. Students may need help making the mental transition from being individual contributors (they are responsible
   only for themselves and their own goals as students) to the position of a manager (responsible for others and
   getting things done through others). What they see as manipulation as students may be perfectly legitimate
   as someone who works through others.
3. Discuss specific contexts where negative reinforcement would be best and situations where positive would be
   best. Students may well feel that only positive reinforcement should be used, particularly if they come out of a
   public school system with a heavy emphasis on self-esteem.
[Source: Adapted from an exercise developed by Larry Michaelson of the University of Oklahoma. With permission.]




                                                                   43
Robbins: Organizational Behavior                                                                   Chapter Two

                            ETHICAL DILEMMA – Is OB Mod a Form of Manipulation?

Two questions: Is OB Mod a form of manipulation? If it is, is it unethical for a manager to manipulate the
behavior of a employee?

Critics of OB Mod say that it manipulates employees. They argue that when managers purposely select
consequences to control employee behavior, they rob workers of their individuality and freedom of choice. For
instance, an auto parts plant in Kentucky reinforces safe working conditions through a game called safety bingo.
Every day that the plant has no accidents, employees can draw a number of their bingo card. The first employee
to fill a bingo card wins a television set. This program, critics might argue, pressures employees to behave in
ways they might no other wise engage in. It make these human beings little different from the seal in the circus
who, every time it does its assigned trick, is given a fish by its trainer. Only instead of getting a fish, some
employee walks off with a television.

On the same question regarding the ethics of manipulation, the answer typically surrounds what the term
―manipulation‖ means to you. Some people believe the term has a negative connotation. To manipulate is to be
devious or conniving. Others, however, would argue that manipulation is merely the thoughtful effort to control
outcomes. In fact, one can say that management is manipulation because it is concerned with planned efforts to
get people to do what manages wants them to do.

What do you think?

Instructor Note:

These questions can be used as a group Q & A in class, or in conjunction with the Case Exercise – Bonne Bell
Factory Employees Average Age 70 found below. Another idea would be to assign the following questions as a
journal entry or short homework assignment.

Questions:

    1.   Do OB Mod interventions rob workers of their freedom of choice?
    2.   What is management’s responsibility to its workers?
    3.   What does the term manipulation mean to you?
    4.   If using OB Mod interventions make it a better place for workers, is that ok in your opinion? If they are
         only used for productivity increases, is that ok? Is one reason different than the other in your mind? Why
         or why not?


                       CASE EXERCISE – Bonne Bell Factory Employees Average Age 70

The morning shift at the Bonne Bell plant in Lakewood, Ohio—composed of 86 assembly line workers—packed
and boxed 10,800 tubes of lip stick. Anything over 10,000 is considered good. In addition to meeting their
production goals, what’s unique on this assembly line is that the average age of these workers is 70. The oldest
just turned 90.

This seniors-only production department was launched in 1997, not as some grand social experiment, but as a
practical business decision. The company needed workers, labor markets were tight, and seniors were available.
The company’s president, who himself was 76, suggested the idea. His executives in charge of manufacturing
and packaging were skeptical. They thought older workers would be too slow and costly or be misfits in a high-
tech world. They worried that seniors would complain they could not do the work or that they needed breaks or
were not felling well. The company’s president refused to accept these stereotypes. Although he did not know of
another company that had a senior department, she said, ―Let’s try it an see if it works.‖

Work it did. Retirees now account for close to 20 percent of Bonnie Bell’s work force of 500. The group handles
work that once was outsourced, saving the company more than $1 million in its first four years and effectively
silencing the skeptics. Shipment goals are set and met. Turnover is almost nil, and the company has a sizeable
waiting list of seniors who are interested in taking jobs when future ones become available. Seniors have proven
to be an ideal source for new employees. (cont.)

                                                         44
Robbins: Organizational Behavior                                                                 Chapter Two

Not only have seniors proven to be productive and loyal, they also help keep costs down. Since most receive
Social Security, they do not rely on their jobs to fully support themselves. They do not need $15 or $20 an hour
jobs to make ends meet. They seem more than happy to accept pay rates that start at $7.50 an hours and move
to $8 after a year. Additionally, the company saves by providing these employees with no health benefits. Most
of these workers are covered by a spouse’s medical plan or Medicare and say they do not need extra coverage.


Questions

Note to Instructor: Student answers will vary, but could include the elements bulleted below each question.

    1. How do the facts in this case align with research on age in the chapter?
        Older workers are the fastest segment of the workforce—it just makes sense to include them.
        The workers have a high degree of productivity.
        There is low absenteeism and low turnover—both are supported by the research on older workers.

    2. Is this factory engaging in reverse age-discrimination?
        Only if they are receiving different treatment based solely on age. If they are prohibited from working
            elsewhere in the company, are denied promotions or other opportunities based on age, are paid at a
            lower rate, then yes, they are being discriminated against. Working on a special team does not
            necessarily mean they are being discriminated against.

    3. Do you think these older workers would perform as well if they were integrated into a department with
       younger workers? Support your position.
           They probably have many years of labor force participation where they have developed their
           communication skills, and other performance related behaviors.
        However, sometimes discrimination can be powerful and may inhibit older workers precluding them
           from doing their best.

    4. Do you think that success that Bonne Bell has had with hiring older workers is transferable to other
       companies? Why or why not?
        Yes, however, they would need to rethink their assumptions of older workers and look closely at their
           work processes. Additionally, there would need to be a pool of potential older workers to draw from.
           The cost savings that Bonnie Bell experienced makes it worth the time exploring the issue.




                                                       45
Robbins: Organizational Behavior                                                         Chapter Two


                               Exploring OB Topics on the World Wide Web
                          Search Engines are our navigational tool to explore the WWW. Some
                          commonly used search engines are:

                                   www.excite.com                 www.google.com
                                   www.yahoo.com                   www.lycos.com
                                   www.hotbot.com               www.looksmart.com

   1. Do a WWW search on age discrimination. Choose three sites that each deal with a different
      aspect of age discrimination. For example: discrimination in High Tech industries, preventing
      discrimination, AARP’s involvement with the issue, etc. Write a one page paper outlining the
      key points of the information obtained and how it confirms or disconfirms what we learned about
      older workers in this chapter.

   2. Find a current article of an organization that has been involved in an age discrimination suit.
      What were the specific issues involved? If resolved, what was the outcome? Bring a copy of the
      web page to class and be prepared to discuss it. In addition to searching, here are some places
      to start digging:
                              www.aarp.com
                              www.bizjournals.com (there is a free registration process for this site)
                              www.hrlawindex.com (there is a free registration process for this site)

   3. Shaping as a tool for changing behavior and outcome is used in a wide variety of ways.
      Perform a search on ―shaping behavior‖ or similar other key words and analyze the results.
      Write a list of all the ways this strategy is used—and who is using it (businesses, occupations,
      etc.). Bring your list to class to discuss.

   4. Visit http://sun.science.wayne.edu/~wpoff/cor/mem/operschd.html to learn more about the
      ―Skinner Box‖ and schedules of reinforcement. While there click on the other links to learn more
      about reinforcers, operant conditioning, and a definition of behavior. Then visit
      http://www.pigeon.psy.tufts.edu/eam/eam2.htm for more information on schedules of
      reinforcement and how it applies to humans and animals.

   5. Top executives and tough jobs. Learn more about the skills and abilities managers need, like
      intelligence, leadership, motivation, etc., to be successful. Visit the About.com site and learn
      more. Print and bring an article to class for discussion. Try these pages or do your own search
      on About.com. Be sure to select links that look interesting found in the left frame.

                              www.learning.about.com
                              www.psychology.about.com

   6. There is lots of advice about controlling absenteeism in the workplace. Read the advice given
      at the four sites below. Use what you have learned from the chapter and these sites and write a
      short description of the method you would use as a manager for controlling absenteeism.

                              http://www.employer-employee.com/absent.html
                              http://www.applesforhealth.com/absentee1.html
                              http://www.benefits.org/interface/cost/absent2.htm
                              http://www.careerknowhow.com/absenteeism.htm

7. Take this quiz: Do you like to be reinforced to learn more about performance management?
                             http://www.p-management.com/question/quesante.htm
                                                    46

				
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