Professional Sports

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Professional Sports: Rewarding and Punishing the Same Behavior? The type of reinforcement schedules that random drug testing represent is the variable interval type. This type of schedule is done randomly and unexpected. It is typically effective because athletes are unaware of when these tests will be taken place. Therefore, athletes are unprepared. This is unlike a fixed variable reinforcement schedule. Athletes have a fixed time of when the tests will be scheduled so they can prepare and make sure their systems are clean before the test takes place.

An example of a behavior in a typical organization that supervisors reward but may actually be detrimental to others or to the organization as a whole is baseball players taking steroids. When baseball players take steroids to enhance their performance abilities, they are misleading their managers and their fans. Initially, it may be rewarding because everyone involved gains from the profitability, i.e. revenue from increased game attendance, sports merchandise, increased popularity and success. But in the end, when it is discovered that the baseball player achieved recognition with the aid of steroids he destroys the teams reputation and the loyalty the fans had for the team. As a manager, in order to avoid this quandary, if I was made aware of someone using steroids, I would do a random drug testing as soon as possible instead having the whole team suffer for that one insubordinate team player.

If I was the commissioner of baseball, there are several steps that I would take to try to reduce the use of steroids in baseball. First of all, I would reinforce to all the athletes that if someone is caught using steroids they will be thrown off the team. Second, I would continue to do random drug testing. Punishment is not likely to be the most effective deterrent. This will only cause athletes to stop playing and taking steroids for a certain period of time. But it will not teach them that they should not use it again.

No, it is not ever “okay” to allow potentially unethical behaviors, which on the surface may benefit organizations to persist. For example, if a baseball player is taking steroids, doing exceptionally well on the team and if the team is aware he is taking steroids, even though the team will not do well without this player they should ban that player from the team. It is the right thing to do. Even though the player is causing harm to the team, the player is causing even more harm to himself. If the player does get caught doing steroids, it may be publicized and it will give the fans a bad perception of the team.

I found this article on steroids very interesting. It talked about a “secret steroid” which drug testers discovered later after the steroid was used by many athletes. No one knows who made this steroid (THG). “Secret steroids” are one of the sports physicians’ biggest fears. Everyday more and more athletes are taking steroids and when a steroid cannot be detected this causes problems. Luckily, the drug testers were able to develop a test that can detect this steroid. Athletes believe they can get away by either not taking steroids months before a testing or just using a steroid that cannot be detected but there are new developments everyday for steroids. I believe that this is not the only “secret steroid” used among athletes but if an athlete is using a non detectable steroid I recommend they stop before they get caught.

Professional Sports: Rewarding and Punishing the Same Behavior?

Random drug testing represents the ‘variable-interval’ type of reinforcement schedule. This type of reinforcement schedule is unpredictable and therefore may occur without warning or announcement. The variable-internal type of reinforcement schedule typically has a higher success rate in comparison to the ‘fixed-interval’ type of reinforcement schedule. The fixed-internal schedule operates on uniform time intervals that are equally spaced out and known...
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