Core Concepts of Reinforcement


In addition to the best-suited learning style, the next important aspect that may support and promote the training methods is behavior. A known Behaviorist, Mr. B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) - A pioneer in the subject of reinforcement has set some forms and theories, which are now-adays being used as the basis of work techniques.

There are two types of stimuli which affect behavior −

  • Reinforcer − Any stimulus desired by a candidate in order to seek experience.

  • Aversive Stimulus − Any stimulus not desired by a candidate in order to avoid.

Here, an important note must be taken that the same stimulus may be a reinforcement for a candidate, while it can be an aversive stimulus for the other. It is all dependent to the behavioral nature of the candidate.

Stage Addressing

An individual might like to be on a stage addressing a huge gathering (reinforcer), while another may find it embarrassing (aversive stimulus). Pairing of two different stimuli can change the behavior of the candidate from being a reinforcer to an aversive stimulus person or vice versa.

Example

“Very good! Akash! It is a good sales proposal, but why have you not completed the soft-copy of it yet?”

Here a praising stimulus is changed to a criticizing one by pairing. Being a manager, it is your duty to understand well, the behavior of your salesperson and make the necessary training arrangements to balance the negative ones with the positive ones.

Let us take a look at another instance – a sales person is presenting new products to a particular client, without doing prior analysis of the needs of the customer. This may get the customer irritated. In this situation, the manager must arrange training to teach the candidate how to ask and analyze the needs of a customer beforehand.

Reinforcement

You may act as a reinforcement to your subordinate by getting personally involved in his work. Therefore, it is important to recognize on an individual basis, what is reinforcing and what is aversive for that individual. Attention must be focused on the individual's action or reaction to any outside influences that seem to be affecting them in a reinforcing or aversive manner.

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