Using Operant Conditioning to Increase Productivity Among Workers

1 January 2017

If I would be a manager of a large automobile factory, I would be interested in increasing the productivity among all workers. A good tool for this is Operant Conditioning. I would have 3 types of workers: white collar office employees, factory line workers, and quality control employees. I would use different techniques for each type. For quality control workers I would use punishment. If they didnโ€™t notice a defect in the product that they were supposed to check, they would get a fine taken off their paycheque. I would use fixed ration scheduling for punishment, so that every mistake is noticed and punished.

This will make them extra careful, and will increase the quality of the product on the market. This form of treatment โ€“ punishment โ€“ might make them angry. But they canโ€™t express their anger on me because Iโ€™m their manager and I might fire them. So they will be angry with workers and will be checking product for defects with special passion.

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For white-collar office employees and for factory line workers I would use Positive reinforcement. This technique will bring enthusiasm and optimism to workers, will create positive environment, and will increase their productivity.

If I will reword workers for extra work done, or for being done the assignment before the due date, I will strengthen their motivation for work because it is followed by the presentation of reward (money added to the pay check). I would use variable ratio schedule for the rewords to be given out, meaning that on average I will reward every 5th outstanding achievement. I would not choose variable interval, because giving reward simply after a period of time wouldnโ€™t bring the response as fast and efficient as I want.

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