Workplace Learning Term Paper

Pages: 15 (4210 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Psychology

Workplace Learning

The subject of behaviorism, being a very complex phenomenon, is still in its infancy. Therefore, the characteristics of human behavior are still being studied and many theses and antitheses are being presented by modern day theorists. Initially, many theorists believe that there are two inescapable disparities and holes in every behavioral explanation: one amid the energizing act of the surroundings and the reaction of the organism and the other one amid repercussions and the consequential transformation in behavior. These theorists believe that these disparities and holes can only be eliminated and filled by the expansion of brain science (Stephen B. Klein and Robert R. Mowrer, 2001).

On the other hand, modern theorists of behaviorism believe that brain science will not be able to fill the holes and end the disparities in the behavioral science. They believe that it is the connection amid information and expression organized in the brain and the behavioral knowledge that is required (Stephen B. Klein and Robert R. Mowrer, 2001).

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Since the purpose of this paper is to assess the behaviorist perspective on learning and its capacity to explain the human learning within the workplace, this paper will present the importance of learning and how learning can be enhanced in a workplace environment from a behaviorist's perspective. This is important because after clearly understanding the significance of learning and enhancement theories in a workplace from a behaviorist's perspective, one will clearly understand the capacity of behaviorism to explain human learning in a workplace environment.

Behaviorism as a learning Process in a work place environment

Term Paper on Workplace Learning Assignment

The influence of the phenomenon of behaviorism on the human learning process in a work place environment is a relatively new concept. Nonetheless, theorists have arrived at certain noteworthy explanations and techniques to alter and enhance the human behavior, which will productively assist the learning process in a workplace environment. David C. Leonard (2002) writes, "One of the four major learning theory schools, behaviorism is the belief that instruction is achieved by observable, measurable, and controllable objectives set by the instructor and met by the learners who elicit a specific set of responses based upon a controlled set of stimuli. Based upon B.F. Skinner's initial research work with mice in the 1930s, behaviorism made the assumption that by controlling the lab environment of mice, they could be trained to behave consistently. Humans also, if provided with a correct stimulus, would be able to be trained to respond in a particular manner exhibited by a set of behavioral outcomes (David C. Leonard, 2002)." At present, it is clear that behavioral scientists have been successful in proving Skinner's theory of behaviorism. This paper will now evaluate the significance of learning within a workplace environment from a behaviorist's perspective.

Importance of Behaviorism in human learning in a workplace

Autoclitic Behavior

Behaviorists believe that managers trying to enhance workforce productivity have got to understand the imperative role of communication in the learning process. Both, talking and listening plays an important role in influencing others to take appropriate actions. Communication not only helps the managers convey their perspective to the employees but also assists employees in understanding each other and the dynamics of the organization. David C. Leonard, (2002) writes, "Both human talking and listening are actions that are directly influenced, just like any other behavior, by reinforcement from the environment (David C. Leonard, 2002)."

Furthermore, behaviorists assert that managers need to create an environment where the workforce feels challenged and motivated so that they work hard towards achieving their organizations objective. It is necessary to create a proper environment to acquire the desired results because majority of the humans are entirely dependent on their environment to motivate them. The challenges and motivation will present the workforce with newer opportunities to enhance their knowledge about all aspects of their organization. Discussing human behavior David C. Leonard (2002) writes, "It is based entirely upon the environment and environmental responses." And that it is, "entirely dependent upon other verbal behavior to qualify responses, to express relationships, and to provide a grammatical frame to the verbal behavior." Therefore, communicating and creating a suitable environment is absolutely vital for organizations to enhance not only the learning process of their workforce but also the productivity of the organization (David C. Leonard, 2002).

Behavior Control

Behaviorists believe that managers need to understand the basic human behavior so that they can create suitable organizational policies. To be more precise, they need to understand the motivating factors, the demoting factors, the ambitions, goals and objectives of their workforce. Learning these aspects about their employees will allow the managers to control their behavior through reward and punishment policy. Describing the effectiveness of the behavior control technique, David C. Leonard, (2002) writes, "This is the control of an individual's entire physical existence through rewards and punishments. With behavior control, the coercive agent seeks to control all aspects of the person's life: where one lives; what one eats, wears, sleeps; duties performed, etc. It typically involves a set of coercive techniques used to alter both the behavior and the attitude of the subject. Critics of behaviorism claim that those who seek to manipulate individuals through behavior-control techniques are using behavior-modification and operant-conditioning methods to accomplish their mission. Leon Festinger in the 1950s argued that to avoid cognitive dissonance, humans will sometimes subject themselves to behavior control, thought control (i.e., control of an individual's thought processes), and emotion control (i.e., the control of an individual's emotional life) (David C. Leonard, 2002)."

Behavior Modification

Furthermore, behaviorists believe that the employers need to understand their employees' behavioral patterns and tune them in line with the organizations mission and values. While the behaviorist's perspective does not support Fail-Fire policy, it does believe in reward and punishment strategy, as explained above. Behaviorists explain that while modifying the behavior of the employees in a very complicated process, it can be a very speedy process, if the employers are able to understand their behavior patterns. Similarly the employees need to understand the behavior of their clients, and other stakeholders so that they can effectively deal with critical situations before these situations turn into a crisis. Discussing behavior modifications David C. Leonard, (2002) writes, "Also referred to as behavior therapy, behavior modification is a discipline that focuses on methods of changing human behavior, in particular, dysfunctional behavior. Behavior modification is based upon a series of assumptions regarding human behavior. These include the following: We can predict human behavior because it follows certain laws and patterns and we can change human behavior through operant conditioning and other behavioral science techniques. Other assumptions of behavior modification are that the mechanisms of human behavior are the same for both functional and dysfunctional human action and that the internal state or thoughts of the individual are not the concern of the behavioral scientist seeking to alter the dysfunctional behavior (David C. Leonard, 2002)."

Behavioral Repertoire

Behaviorists believe that the all individuals have his/her own behavioral patterns of learning. These patterns have to be understood before they are used to enhance productivity through learning. This is important because no human being will be able to perform activities, which are not in line with his behavior patterns. If these behavior patterns are not understood, then it will negatively influence the organization's capability to achieve its goals. Discussing behavior Repertoire David C. Leonard, (2002) writes, "Animals are limited by their specific range of actions they can perform (their behavioral repertoire), which is predominantly based upon the structure and function of their bodies. For example, no matter how much coaxing or conditioning, elephants cannot be taught to fly nor can birds be taught to swim given their body structures. In operant conditioning, animals are limited by their behavioral repertoire to be taught and to perform particular sets of actions. A behavioral scientist sets up a stimulus-response association within the constraints of the behavioral repertoire of the species. However, no amount of coaxing, cajoling, conditioning, or training will yield the result of the animal performing actions it is incapable of doing given its physiological makeup. The more closely a desired response can be connected to the natural behavior and motion of the animal (its behavioral repertoire), the more likely the behavioral scientist will achieve a positive result (David C. Leonard, 2002)."

Learning enhancement theories

Classical Conditioning

Living in a dynamic world where the only thing stable is change, organizations are confronted with numerous challenges and these challenges have to be met on a daily basis. Therefore, they would want their employees to be responsive to their instructions and effectively carry out their orders without questioning them. This can be achieved through what is called "classical conditioning" by behaviorists. David C. Leonard, (2002) writes, "The most basic and simple type of behavioral conditioning is classical conditioning. Classical conditioning occurs when two unrelated stimuli are provided simultaneously to a subject, whereby the subject begins to associate the two stimuli together and the subject provides an involuntary, reflexive response (elicited behavior) without being mentally aware of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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