Reinforcement Theory


Reinforcement theory can be applied by managers in the workplace to produce better performance and behaviour among employees. The strengths and weaknesses of reinforcement principles are discussed and case evidence and advice on practical implementation is provided.

Technique Overview

Reinforcement Theory

Reinforcement Theory Definition

Reinforcement theory, an important concept in the branch of psychology known as 'behaviourism', describes "a contingency between an operant behaviour and an environmental consequence, suggesting that the response and the consequence are two distinct classes of events" (Pierce & Epling, 1999).

Reinforcement Theory Description *

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Business Evidence

Reinforcement Theory Strengths *

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Examples of Reinforcement Theory *

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Business Application

Reinforcement Theory Implementation *

Success Factors of Reinforcement Theory *

Measures of Reinforcement Theory *

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Professional Tools

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Further Reading

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Reinforcement Theory Print Resources *

Reinforcement Theory References (4 of up to 20) *

  • Akers, R., Marvin, L., Krohn, D., Lanza-Kaduce, L. and Radosevich, M. (1979) ‘Social learning and deviant behavior: A specific test of a general theory’, American Sociological Review Vol.44(4) pp.635–55.
  • Arvey, R. D., & Ivancevich, J. M. (1980). Punishment in organizations: A review, propositions and research suggestions. Academy of Management Review, Vol.5, pp.123-132.
  • Chance, P. (2003) Learning and Behaviour, Fifth Edition. Wadsworth Thomas Learning Inc.
  • Deci, E. L. (1972). The effects of contingent and non-contingent rewards and controls on intrinsic motivation. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, Vol.8, pp.217-229.

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