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Do you think behavior is a function of its consequences and why or why not?

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lilylee | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted August 8, 2013 at 3:32 PM via web

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Do you think behavior is a function of its consequences and why or why not?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 8, 2013 at 3:43 PM (Answer #1)

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Since you have tagged this question with “management,” I will answer in those terms.  In general, I would argue that behavior within a business firm is partly a function of its consequences and partly a function of the motivations of those who are acting.

A manager should understand that the consequences set up for behaviors will have a great deal of impact on those behaviors.  People will, for example, often work harder if there are bonuses for completing a task exceptionally well or completing it in a timely manner.  They will avoid certain behaviors if there are sanctions for those behaviors.  Setting up the right incentives and sanctions is an important aspect of management.

However, behavior is also conditioned by the motivations and the attitudes of the actors.  Mangers must keep this in mind as well.  They must try to create workplaces in which their employees can feel motivated.  They must try to treat the employees in ways that will make the employees feel good about the work that they are doing.  If managers can do this, they can encourage better behaviors without the use of incentives and sanctions.

Thus, behaviors are conditioned both by consequences and by motivations.  Mangers must keep this in mind as they do their jobs and try to elicit better behaviors and more productivity from their employees.

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