Positive and Negative Reinforcement in the Work Place

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Date Submitted: 10/17/2011 11:47 AM

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Brandon Ross

Nowadays, people are ecstatic just to be employed. The idea of feeling good while not having a job than being stressed while being employed just does not sit well with people in these rough economic times. Still, very few people – if any – want to go to work feeling unwanted and unaccomplished. Primarily, money (i.e. big salaries) is the best way to properly assuage one’s workplace inequities. But as companies struggle to stay afloat, positive and negative reinforcement is an inexpensive alternative, in saving money and jobs, in creating workplace peace and harmony.

Positive reinforcement at work occurs when a person is rewarded to encourage a behavior. In the workplace, positive reinforcement can occur in the form of praise, awards and recognition, bonuses and promotions. The most common, simplest form of positive reinforcement is commending someone for a job well done (Kunz, 2011). As employees feel more disgruntled and disenfranchised, it can create a work atmosphere that decreases output and raises tensions among co-workers and between employees and supervisors. By simply recognizing ones effort or achievement through positive reinforcement, the sting of doing more for less can be lessened.

With so many companies downsizing through layoffs or position eliminations, many employees are often asked to take on more jobs than what was in their initial job descriptions. It often leads to people feeling overworked but underpaid. Still, people who are satisfied with their work rarely sabotage their employer's property. Employees who enjoy positive relationships with their leaders rarely intimidate or harass other employees with whom they work. Likewise, they provide excellent customer service because they are happy with themselves, their future, their leader, and their organization (Grimes, 2003). This is why positive reinforcement is necessary. It not only increases morale among the workers, it...