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Topics: Operant conditioning, Reinforcement, Reward system / Pages: 3 (757 words) / Published: Mar 30th, 2015
Tina Scott

Discussion Board II

RE: Organizational Behavior Modification

Definition: “The Organizational behavior modification theory deals with changing behaviour through rewards or punishments that are essentially contingent on performance. It is primarily based on the following two principles.
1. A behavior that leads to a positive consequence (reward) tends to be repeated, while a behavior that leads to a negative consequence (punishment) tends not to be repeated.
2. Managers can influence and change an employee’s behavior through properly scheduled rewards or punishment” (cited:

Summary: The article entitled “An Organizational Behavior Modification of Absenteeism”, written by, Fred Luthans and Mark Martinko, discusses several behavior problems within organizations today with absenteeism. The A-B-C’s of Organizational Behavior Modification (OB Mod) are antecedent, behavior, and consequences. There are four types of consequences the author discusses for OB Mod, positive reinforcement, punishment, negative reinforcement and extinction.

Discussion: How many times have you called in sick just because, you did not feel like going to work? I truly cannot name the amount of times I personally have done this, within the last 30 years of employment. However, absenteeism cost industries billions of dollars in operational cost a year. There are reported causes/reasons of absenteeism such as; job dissatisfaction, alcoholism, poor leadership/supervision, home problems, sickness and various other reasons (ref: F. Luthans & M. Martinko). Of course when there is a problem, we need solutions that can try and resolve the problem of absenteeism, such as counseling, incentive/reward system and discipline. OB Mod attempts to change behavior by antecedents and consequences. Do these methods really work?

An antecedent is; “events preceding the behavior, informing employees that a particular action will take produce specific consequence” (cited: Mcshane, V. Glinow, 2013; p.150). A positive reinforcement will strengthen the behavior increasing the frequency of occurrence. An example of positive reinforcement is your boss saying thank you for coming to work. As far as absenteeism a positive reinforcement of not coming to work will increase the frequency of this behavior. Punishment for this behavior is supposed to decrease the frequency of absenteeism. For example, a lot organizations have sick policies, if you abuse the sick policy, there are consequences, and maybe every time you call in sick, you must have a doctor’s slip. If you know you have to get a doctors slip, you may not call in that day, which will decrease the probability of you calling in from work. Negative reinforcement leads to increases in behavioral frequency, this is not a punishment. For example, I worked in a prison, and the Warden would call the time on the phone, and put it on speaker phone, and we would have to be in lineup/roll call at a certain time. If we passed the time, we could hear what time it was, when we walked by. She would not punish us, she just let us know, we better do better. Of course, our behavior improved. We knew we could get written up for being late, but the Warden saw a major improvement on lateness therefore, she did not do the calling the time thing anymore, and we were not scolded, because of change of behavior. Extinction is when a behavior decreases and has no consequences. An example would be if you come to work all the time, rain, sleet or hail and the supervisor says absolutely nothing, the behavior of coming to work will decrease. Would you think your boss does not appreciate your efforts of coming to work in bad weather? Yes, because the supervisor did not say thank you for coming in, we really needed you, or you do such a great job.

Behaviors can be controlled by, antecedent cues in order to improve attendance behavior. Awareness of any consequence would be good such as; meeting, memo’s, orientation, and advertising. There are things you can do to improve your absenteeism behavior such as; go to bed on time, set your alarm, lay your clothes for work out the night before, and get up earlier. The consequences of absenteeism could lead to dismissal of employment for people who continue to be a problem, which is an undesirable consequence. Punishments only work if the behavior is decreased.


Luthans, F., & Martinko, M. (1976). AN ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION ANALYSIS OF ABSENTEEISM. Human Resource Management, 15(3), 11. Retrieved from

McShane, S., & Von Glinow, M.A. (2013). Organizational behavior (6th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

References: Luthans, F., & Martinko, M. (1976). AN ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION ANALYSIS OF ABSENTEEISM. Human Resource Management, 15(3), 11. Retrieved from McShane, S., & Von Glinow, M.A. (2013). Organizational behavior (6th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

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