DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR FINAL EXAM
Instructions: Fully discuss each question. Each question is worth 10 points each. This final is due by Tuesday, Dec. 16 at 10 am. Good luck.
1) Do you think it is better for a manager to use positive reinforcement instead of negative reinforcement? Always? Explain your answer.
Positive reinforcement gives people outcomes they desire when they perform organizationally functional behaviors. These desired outcomes, called positive reinforcers, include any outcomes that a person desires, such as pay, praise, or a promotion. Organizationally functional behaviors are behaviors that contribute to organizational effectiveness; they can include producing high-quality goods and services, providing high-quality customer service, and meeting deadlines. By linking positive reinforcers to the performance of functional behaviors, managers motivate people to perform the desired behaviors.
Negative reinforcement also can encourage members of an organization to perform desired or organizationally functional behaviors. Managers using negative reinforcement actually eliminate or remove undesired outcomes once the functional behavior is performed. These undesired outcomes, called negative reinforcers, can range from a manager’s constant nagging or criticism to unpleasant assignments or the ever-present threat of losing one’s job. When negative reinforcement is used, people are motivated to perform behaviors because they want to stop receiving or avoid undesired outcomes. Managers who try to encourage salespeople to sell more by threatening them with being fired are using negative reinforcement. In this case, the negative reinforcer is the threat of job loss, which is removed once the functional behavior is performed. Whenever possible, managers should try to use positive reinforcement. Negative reinforcement can create a very unpleasant work environment and even a negative culture in an