Reinforcement Theory - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Management

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Reinforcement theory is the process of shaping behavior by controlling the consequences of the behavior. In reinforcement theory a combination of rewards and/or punishments is used to reinforce desired behavior or extinguish unwanted behavior. Any behavior that elicits a consequence is called operant behavior, because the individual operates on his or her environment. Reinforcement theory concentrates on the relationship between the operant behavior and the associated consequences, and is sometimes referred to as operant conditioning.

Background and Developmentof Reinforcement Theory

Behavioral theories of learning and motivation focus on the effect that the consequences of past behavior have on future behavior. This is in contrast to classical conditioning, which focuses on responses that are triggered by stimuli in an almost automatic fashion. Reinforcement theory suggests that individuals can choose from several responses to a given stimulus, and that individuals will generally select the response that has...

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This section contains 1,303 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)
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Reinforcement Theory from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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