For these aspects to translate into successful lean production it would be supportive for goals to be set for individuals and the firm as a whole to ensure that they are streamlined towards the same result, as can be seen in the situation for the discussion in section 4 (both employees and management strive towards collective goals). For any group to be successful it is crucial how they behave as a group as equally as they do as individuals, this guides our discussion into the role of behaviour modification and its importance in any collective structure.
A behaviour modification programme in trying to make students more productive in study two will involve the direction of behaviour via the focus of attention on the students’ collective behaviour. Behaviour modification arises from the behavioural theories contemplated primarily by Pavlov (1903) and Skinner (1957); a variety of factors are given or taken out of the situational context in order to mould, and hence ‘modify’ behaviour towards specific qualities favourable for the organisation.
Details of these behavioural theories are beyond this report, but for our purposes, the methods in which behaviour modification (OBMod henceforth) is used in organisations includes the utilisation of reinforcement regimes (positive or negative reinforcement, punishment and extinction) in addition to reinforcement schedules (continuous, fixed or variable ratios and fixed or variable intervals), concerning frequency of the reinforcement.
Srijayan N Iyer (2006) identifies what is needed for a successful OBMod programme namely identification, measure, analysis, intervention and evaluation with the implication that following these five steps will lead to the behaviours desired. Nevertheless despite this view the behaviours identified as follows for such a programme is subject to limitation, discussed later.
For poor lecture attendance a suitable regime may be one of negative reinforcement where negative factors are taken away, for example a system of blackboard learning would provide the students with an alternative method of getting the same information available in the lectures without having to attend the lecture itself. Hence the removal of blackboard will persuade students to attend the lectures and display a greater degree of positive behavior, although admittedly the reinforcement schedule needed for this to be of success would need to be continuous to keep attracting students towards lecture attendance.
Indeed, this highlights the problem with OBMod also identified by Buchanan and Huczynski (2004)in that it is highly dependent on there being a link between the reinforcement and the behavior, i. e. this intervention would depend on the reason for poor lecture attendance being the availability of blackboard; if not, the link collapses and the intervention i. e. negative reinforcement fails. The students’ late and noisy arrival to lectures may well benefit from a process of shaping using both positive and negative reinforcement.
According to Skinner (1957), shaping requires chosen behaviors to be selectively reinforced in a way to achieve a pattern of desired behavior (in this case, quiet and orderly arrival). In applying this concept, Lesley could provide the opportunity for students to achieve a reward (positive reinforcement) and isolate noisy students in a full lecture theatre for embarrassment (negative reinforcement).
However, the latter risks going on the verge of punishment which is generally accepted (Nord, 1970) as not being effective in changing behaviour. Of course Skinner himself has critiqued Pavlov by suggesting that shaping does not change the behaviour itself rather, the timing of the behaviour is changed. If true, for our situation the students’ inclination towards late and noisy behaviour will not be modified rather they will just take greater care in not displaying this behaviour towards Lesley’s lectures.
Arguably this is still an acceptable outcome. The possibility of punishment for lack of tutorial preparation on a fixed interval schedule may persuade the students to ensure they have done the work required of them but this again is subject to the problem described above (positive reinforcement may work better). Again the link between the reinforcement and behaviour is imperative, as the behaviour may be due to external factors not contemplated by the reinforcement.
For example these may include heavy workload from other modules, anxiety as to their future and also financial worries; the suggestion here then is that students themselves need to understand their own behaviours and underlying reasons to enhance performance. For the next section of this report there is a discussion on motivating in terms of giving feedback based on work by Herzberg (1959) where Pavlov even recognised that this would play the part of positive reinforcement in trying to get students to contribute more in tutorials, where their lack of doing so could be attributed to shyness.
Another view may be the area of communication where Larsson et al. (2009) have found that three successful organisations, amongst other things thrived on effective communication for their success. Hence, rather than the introduction of a positive reinforcement for better performance, methods to increase communication may prosper; methods through goal setting (Locke, 1968) may be employed in accordance with the process suggested by Sutherland et al. (1995) where, in the context of safety in organisations it was shown that goal-setting lead to a progressively higher quality of performance.
Consequently students, by setting progressive goals move towards redefined behaviours beneficial for them as well as Lesley and may produce better results than an OBMod programme. The latter suggestion is pivotal on a point raised previously on external reasons for behaviour and this is where ‘socialisation’ proves a good alternative to OBMod. Yet again based on the work of a psychologist, Bandura (1977, 1986) proposed conformity of roles by which the individual is influenced to behave similarly to others who display desirable behaviours.
Applicable to both the next and last sections of this report, latterly where the group’s behaviour may be so explained, utility of this theory would not require intervention like OBMod but Lesley could initiate a ‘buddy scheme,’ pairing one of these students with another who displays desirable behaviours, as well as avoiding the problems of OBMod (the necessity of continuous reinforcement, if withdrawn, undesirable behaviours are once again displayed) the student can come to terms with resolving external factors as well as actually modifying own behaviour without an interventionist programme.
Referring above to a ‘reward’ as positive reinforcement, we in fact evoke Taylor (1911) in assuming money motivates although in this context this would depend on personality types as described by Jung (1970). This in turn raises questions as to whether instead of trying to modify students; their lack of positive behaviour may be a result of Lesley’s approach in effect being their manager. She may have indulged in ‘Fundamental Attribution Error’ (Heider, 1958) where she may have wrongly attributed the negative behaviour solely to students’ inherent behaviour.
Another determinant of their behaviour maybe the management style of Lesley. In relation to McGregor’s (1960) ‘X and Y Theories’ of management , a Theory Y approach may need to be adopted in order to see changes in behaviour which are more productive. The manager is seen as ‘fun’ and employees (students) show a high degree of imagination, ingenuity and creativity and we can see how this would link in with their apparent ‘creative’ personalities. This point leads the report into an extensive argument of modern motivational theories and their relevance in the workplace, using task three as an example.
Herzberg’s (1959) research however shows that extrinsic factors such as these are merely ‘hygiene factors’; that is, that they do not motivate workers but de-motivate them if they are not present. When analysing the case study this theory explains the reasoning behind the staffs lack of motivation, and is therefore a theory we agree with; however only to an extent, and the more problematic issue is how the staff are treated as one, as opposed to individuals, meaning they are not receiving fair and appropriate treatment.
According to the work of Vroom (1964) the combination of an individual’s perceived value of a particular outcome (valence), their perceived probability that effort will result in good performance (expectancy) and, that good performance will lead to valued rewards (instrumentality), determines one’s strength of motivation. Therefore for an individual’s motivation to be high, they must see productive work as the path to achieving their goals.
The equation F = E x V x I (in Vroom’s expectancy theory) shows how if just one variable is low, or even negative, then motivation (F) will be zero. For motivation to be strong, each of the variables must be positive and high. If managers of the firm take the process model into account, it should encourage them to take each individuals needs more seriously and as more of a priority; superiors must realise how fundamental workers are and how they should be valued.
The current ‘payment by results’ system is one which is directly linked to output and thus theoretically should increase overall productivity; however it does unfortunately mean that productivity is not consistent across board and some members of staff abuse the system, acting as ‘free riders ‘ and surviving off the work of others. This was particularly apparent in the interviews with some of the staff, which showed their expectancy and instrumentality levels are awfully low.
Theoretically it is not the system itself which appears to be hindering efficiency and disgruntling the workers, but the approach some of them take towards the system. This of course causes animosity and tension amongst staff, which in turn dissatisfies their ‘social needs’ (Maslow, 1943). Maslow believed if one level is unobtainable in the hierarchy it prevents an individual’s motivational requirements advancing, remaining at that particular level.
However according to the more recent theorist Alderfer (1969), these social needs being dissatisfied does not mean that one cannot miss out a level and advance onto esteem and self-actualisation needs. This theory of course is dependent on what is considered most important to the worker; someone who is more socially driven may find it difficult to get past such a hurdle; whereas a more independent, achievement motivated person would find the situation easy to ignore and continue their progression.
We must analyse what the staffs’ general attitude is in the workplace i. e. affiliation driven, power driven etc, to enable us to make the necessary judgments about how to motivate them effectively and what systems should be enforced. The work of Herzberg (1966) acknowledges people are motivated by job content as opposed to organisational content; that is to say, they focus on intrinsic rewards such as self- growth, advancement and achievement as opposed to extrinsic rewards such as pay, working conditions and company policy.
This outlines the focal problems for the firm, as they are concentrating on the extrinsic rewards they make available to their staff as opposed to intrinsic rewards. It must be noted however, these theories are Western theories of motivation; the need for achievement is more prominent in the Western, rather than Eastern societies for whom a stable socialising environment is a bigger motivational factor (Whiting and Whiting 1975). Perhaps, the firm needs to focus on individual motivation needs rather than applying the same motivation solution to all employees?