Edward L Thorndike Law of Effect | Thorndike Theory of Learning
What is Edward L Thorndike Law of Effect?
Edward L Thorndike’s law of effect states that behaviors are modified by their positive or negative consequences. The Law of Effect says that behaviors that lead to satisfaction in a specific situation are likely to be repeated when the situation recurs, and behaviors that lead to discomfort in a specific situation are less likely to be repeated when the situation recurs.
Essentially, it is a way in which motivation can be brought into existence on sustained on what are the factors that lead to it.
Edward L Thorndike’s law of effect theory focuses on behavior and consequences based on certain behavior. It looks at individuals’ behavior and what determines that behavior and what maintains the behavior or what diminishes behavior.
Essentially, rewarded behaviors are often repeated, and those behaviors that are not rewarded are less likely to occur in the future. This law of effect was later translated into a theory of employee motivation known as reinforcement theory. The theory can be used in the work environment today.
The theory looks into reward and punishment in order to modify behavior to meet management expectations.
In the context of business management, have certain expectations of the employees and behavior, which is good, productive, or innovative or contributes to the functioning of the business. Good behavior could be rewarded. Bad behavior, which is counterproductive, could be punished.
Ways in which management may respond to changes and may encourage changes or may discourage changes.
The theory focuses on modifying and employees on the job behavior through the appropriate use of one of the following techniques;
- Positive Reinforcement
- Avoidance(negative reinforcement)
Employees are rewarded for behaving, behaving acceptably. Employees who behave in a way that is deemed good will be rewarded, and that the reward is positive reinforcement.
Positive Reinforcement is a way of management saying, Well done; please do more.
Rewards could include a pay rise or promotion or general recognition. Employees will be aware that this behavior is favorable and should be repeated, so whatever they did was seen as good behavior.
The employees know in particular they’re happy because they have received the pay rise or recognized publicly for whatever behavior they had, which will be encouraged.
Avoidance (Negative Reinforcement)
Avoidances certain behavior is about behavior discouraged because it’s counterproductive or not in the business’s interest.
In this case, punishment may be used until the desired behavior is achieved, and punishment, maybe a reduction in salary or a demotion or movement, moving the person to a different part of the organization to work, or some way of discouraging certain behavior.
The use of punishment is to try and reduce that particular type of behavior.
Extinction is a form of ignoring the behavior of employees. There’s no negative or positive reinforcement here is it’s just a question of ignoring whatever was proposed or whatever.
Action is being taken theatrics of ignoring it, neither reinforcing it nor punishing it. There’s no positive or negative reinforcement, and it is simply ignoring it like it never happened.
It could only really apply if the behavior is temporary. If this behavior is long-run thin, there must be some response by management.
If it’s ignored, then it is ignored in the short run or in the temporary timescale, because if it’s left in the long run, it’s not recognized then if it’s positive, it may die out because the employees think, well, management doesn’t care.
If it’s negative, then the employees may think, Well, I got away with it, so I’ll continue doing it.
Therefore, behavior extinction can only happen in the short run when management ignores something completely, hoping that it will sort itself out.
Management applies a negative consequence to unacceptable behavior, hoping that this will prevent the behavior from recurring. Thus, it may be that management sees something negative and imposes some sort of punishment.
This could be a reduction in salary or a demotion, a person’s movement to another part of the business, the working life of the person taken away, some of the perks perhaps they’ve earned over the years.
This, in a way, is meant to encourage positive action.