MGMT 3300 – PRINCIPLES OF MANAGEMENT
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 organization. No one likes to be nagged, threatened, or exposed to other kinds of negative outcomes. The use of negative reinforcement sometimes causes subordinates to resent managers and try to get back at them. Even managers who use positive reinforcement, and refrain from using negative reinforcement, can get into trouble if they are not careful to identify the right behaviors to reinforce—behaviors that are truly functional for the organization. Doing this is not always as straightforward as it might seem. First, it is crucial for managers to choose behaviors over which subordinates have control; in other words, subordinates must have the freedom and opportunity to perform the behaviors that are being reinforced. Second, it is crucial that these behaviors contribute to organizational effectiveness.
2) What makes up a good leader? What are the qualities of a good leader? Give an example of someone you consider to be a good leader and why.
Leadership is the process by which a person exerts influence over other people and inspires, motivates, and directs their activities to help achieve group or organizational goals. Leaders can influence others because they possess power. The five types of power available to managers are legitimate power, reward power, coercive power, expert power, and referent power. Many managers are using empowerment as a tool to increase their effectiveness as leaders. The person who exerts such influence is a leader. When leaders are effective, the influence they exert over others helps a group or organization achieve its performance goals. When leaders are ineffective, their influence does not contribute to, and often detracts from, goal attainment. A manager’s personal leadership style, the specific ways in which a manager chooses to influence other people, shapes how that manager approaches planning, organizing, and controlling (the other principal tasks of managing). Managers at all levels and in all...
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