Individual Behaviours

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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.

I. Biographical Characteristics
A. Introduction
1. Finding and analyzing the variables that have an impact on employee productivity, absence, turnover, and satisfaction is often complicated. a) Many of the concepts—motivation, or power, politics or organizational culture—are hard to assess. 2. Other factors are more easily definable and readily available—data that can be obtained from an employee’s personnel file. a) Characteristics, such as employee’s age, gender, marital status, and length of service, etc.


B. Age
1. The relationship between age and job performance is increasing in importance. a) First, there is a widespread belief that job performance declines with increasing age. b) Second is the reality that the workforce is aging.

2. Employers perception are mixed.
a) 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. b) Older workers are also perceived as lacking flexibility and as being resistant to new technology. c) The older you get, the less likely you are to quit your job.

3. It’s tempting to assume that age is also inversely related to absenteeism. a) In general, older employees have lower rates of avoidable absence. b) However, they have higher rates of unavoidable absence, probably due to their poorer health.

4. There is a widespread belief that productivity declines with age and that individual skills decay over time.

5. Relationship between age and job satisfaction.
Most studies indicate a positive association between age and satisfaction, at least up to age 60.

C. Gender
1. The evidence suggests that there are few, if any, important differences. a) No consistent male-female differences in problem-solving ability, analytical skills, competitive drive, motivation, sociability, or learning ability. b) 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. c) There is no evidence indicating that an employee’s gender affects job satisfaction.

2. There is a difference in terms of preference for work schedules. a) Working mothers are more likely to prefer part-time work, flexible work schedules, and telecommuting in order to accommodate their family responsibilities.

3. Absence and turnover rates
a) Evidence is mixed.
b) Some studies have found that women have higher turnover rates; others have found no difference. 1) There doesn’t appear to be enough information from which to draw meaningful conclusions.

D. Marital Status
1. There are not enough studies to draw any conclusions about the effect of marital status on productivity. a) Research consistently indicates that married employees have fewer absences, undergo less turnover, and are more satisfied with their jobs than are their unmarried coworkers. b) The question of causation is not clear.

c) Research has not pursued other statuses besides single or married.

E. Tenure
1. Extensive reviews of the seniority-productivity relationship have been conducted. a) Define seniority as time on a particular job—most recent evidence demonstrates a positive relationship between...
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