LEARNING AND BEHAVIOUR

Learning is considered vital for understanding human behaviour at work in organizations. Let us try to understand in an orderly manner how learning helps managers change human behaviour in different organizational situations such as:

  1. Reducing absenteeism through learning: Learning can help managers evolve programmes to reduce absenteeism. An example of such a programme may be rewarding employees for their satisfactory attendance. The management of a private software enterprise introduced lottery system to reward its employees with attractive prizes. Only employees with perfect attendance were eligible to contest for prizes. This lottery programme was a rousing success as it resulted in lower absence rates (about 30%) among employees.
  2. Substituting well-pay for sick-pay: Paid sick leave is one of the fringe benefits provided to salaried employees by most of the organizations. However, research studies indicate that paid sick leave programmes reinforce the undesirable behaviour that is, absence from work. The reality is that employees use sick leaves all up, regardless of whether they are sick.
  3. Improving employee discipline: Managers, at times, have to deal with employees' undesirable behaviour, such as drinking at work place, insubordination, stealing company property, arriving continuously late etc. Usually managers respond to these with punishment like oral reprimands, written warnings and even suspension. Punishment, however, provides only a short-term solution and has ill effect on the punished employee.
  4. Developing training programmes: Learning also helps managers develop effective training programmes. Particularly social-learning theory serves as a guide for this purpose. It suggests that the training programme should offer a model to grab the trainee's attention, provide required motivational properties, provide adequate opportunities to practice the new behaviours and also offer due reward to employees for accomplishment of tasks.

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Principles of Management and Organisational Behaviour Topics