Thorndike's Reinforcement Theory: Using Consequences to Motivate Employees


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Which of these techniques is used to reward desirable behavior with the intent of increasing the likelihood that the pleasing behavior will be repeated?

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1. All of the workers at Ted's Emporium have been shown the cold warehouse where employees who break any of the company rules are sent to work. Just thinking about the possibility of being sent into such a bleak work setting keeps most new employees from even considering breaking a rule. In this situation, management is successfully using the technique of _____ in order to encourage good behavior.

2. Jim's manager catches Jim breaking one of the company rules. He decides that the best course of action will be to take away one of Jim's company privileges as a response. In terms of Thorndike's theory, how is Jim's manager responding to the incident?

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About This Quiz & Worksheet

Edward Thorndike first introduced the theory of reinforcement back in 1911. Students will be given examples of how reinforcement theory is applied by managers in the workplace and quizzed on its principles and the definition of terms associated with its application.

Quiz & Worksheet Goals

In this assessment, you'll be tested on the techniques and definitions of the following terms and how they are used by managers to lessen the probability of inappropriate behavior in the workplace:

  • positive reinforcement
  • negative reinforcement and avoidance
  • punishment through negative consequence
  • extinction

Skills Practiced

This quiz and worksheet allows students to test the following skills:

  • Interpreting information - verify that you can read information regarding how reinforcement theory is applied in the workplace and interpret it correctly
  • Distinguishing differences - compare and contrast topics from the lesson, such as positive and negative reinforcement
  • Information recall - access the knowledge you've gained regarding Thorndike's Law of Effect

Additional Learning

Deepen your knowledge about reinforcement theory by reviewing the lesson on Thorndike's Reinforcement Theory for Employees: Using Consequences to Motivate Employees. This lesson covers the following objectives:

  • Understanding Edward Thorndike's Law of Effect and the theory of reinforcement
  • Defining positive reinforcement and giving an example of its application in the workplace
  • Contrasting negative reinforcement and avoidance
  • Identifying workplace examples of punishment through negative consequence
  • Defining and explaining extinction