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Learning in OB: Importance, Process, Components, Theories, Factors Influencing, Principles

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Meaning/Concept of Learning in Organizational Behavior (OB)

Learning is natural act of living creature in which each change personality, performance and behavior. It is the process of acquiring new knowledge, skills and values which relatively changes the behavior of individual. In organization, various people with varieties of skills, knowledge and perception need to work jointly. They learn from each other. Managers, supervisors, lower level employees and even organization should learn. Learning is usually a need based activity. Learning is relatively permanent change in human behavior which can be measured. People can learn through formal or informal programs. In organizational behavior, it is taken as vital process as without learning people resist changes in the organization. This means, to make employees ready to change, learning is essential.


In conclusion, learning is a process of acquiring knowledge, skills or technique through experience, practice or instruction. It changes behavior of individual more permanently. Managers in organization, concern regarding the tendency of individual for learning new knowledge and skills so that they can easily accept any changes in organization. It can be planned or unplanned. Productivity, profitability, quality of work life, modified attitude, acceptable behavior, readiness to change, etc. are consequence of learning. Learning ensures that employees behave, react or respond positively and more formally as per expectation.

Significance or importance of learning in OB

Learning has strategic importance in every organization as it directly related to their survival and prosperity. It is not only important to organization, but equally important to individual as it also serves personal growth. For people, learning changes the behavioral orientations such as knowledge, skills, values, personality and competency. In organizational setting, importance of learning can be justified with the following reasons:

Also read: Individual Behavior: Concept, Input Output System, Determinants , Mental Process

1. Helps to understand and predict human behavior at work

Different roles, skills, and knowledge in the organization are acquired through learning. Managerial skills such as technical, human and conceptual are, however, learned and these skills are paramount for understanding and predicting behaviors of subordinates. Learning is essential to understand how other people behave in organization. This is equally important to middle level and operating level employees.

2. Helps to manage diversity

Diversity in human resources in terms of their gender, socio-economic background, social and national culture, physical abilities, level of skills and knowledge, etc. The issue of diversity has emerged in political as well as legal concern. Such diversities in people at work place create differences in their needs, attitudes, level of motivation and workplace behaviors. Such diversities are most essential to manage to increase productivity or organization and morale of employee. For this, learning is initiated to the managers and workers through training.

Also read: Organizational Behavior (OB): Motivation Theories

3. Helps to adapt changing technology

Frequently changing technology has not only changed the processing of converting input into output but also has affected the patterns of industrial relations. This is being one of the vital sources for resistivity to change. To work with a new technology, we need to learn new skills. Similarly, it is necessary to redefine workplace relations along with decentralization in work system, telecommuting, and virtual teams. Learning is important to manage knowledge workers, computer programmers, computer scientists and other processional workers in organizational settings. Learning boosts up the level of confidence of employees to adapt change. Thus, to initiate change, learning is essential.

4. Helps to maintain TQM

The objective of TQM can be achieved only by involving people concerned with quality management which is possible through adapting new knowledge continuously. In the process of implementing TQM, the role of leader is dominant to involve employees and enhance their sense of ownership and commitment at work. Moreover, in the process of implementing TQM and work processes successfully, behavioral dimensions such as leadership behavior, workplace decentralization, group dynamics, empowerment, communication and interpersonal relations are to be properly implemented. All these things are possible through learning.

Also read: Organizational Behavior: Assumptions, Levels, Challenges and Opportunities, Emerging trends, System/Model, Outcomes  

5. Facilities organizational change and development

Learning facilitates organizational change and development. Some of these forces for organizational change and development are globalization, technology and demographics. Such change compel managers to reconfigure organizations processes. Technological changes in transportation and telecommunication have change job responsibilities and authority. Learning and understanding of such forces will help managers to enhance commitment. Learning is also important for managing planned changes (organizational development) in the organization.

Learning Process in OB

Learning is a process of acquiring skills, knowledge, attitude and behavior. It takes following four stages.

1. Stimulus

In learning process, there should be stimulus to the learner. Stimulus is the source of motivation or incentives. Learner should be clear about stimulus. There will be no learning takes place if there is no stimulus or learner has not understood the stimulus. Such stimulus can be -

  • expansion of knowledge, skills and abilities, 
  • improving quality of work life, 
  • productivity and profitability, 
  • effectiveness, 
  • career advancement, 
  • financial and non financial rewards. 

2. Response

Response is the reaction of learner towards the stimulus. This means, response in learning process is the outcome of first step. To take place the learning, learner should have positive response. Only if learner is convinced for positive changes in behavior, s/he responds positive otherwise negative response. Thus, organization management must encourage employees for learning with ensuring the rewards. Employees should be allowed and encouraged to practice the performance response. 

3. Motivation

Motivation is the drive to encourage individual to learn. Without drive or motivation, learning cannot take place. This provides interest and attitude to learn. Whatever learning and understanding ability of the person, without motivation, none of the person can learn.

Also read: Group in OB: Characteristics, Reasons, Stages, Types, Behavior, Nature, Importance, Issues

4. Rewards

Rewards are incentives satisfying the motive. There should be proper reward system in learning process. It should be transparent and predictive. Employees should know what will be their return or rewards when they learn at different levels. For examples, praise is the incentive which satisfies the motive of social approval. Salary increment is the incentive which satisfies the motive of financial security. Rewards can be financial as well as non financial. 

Components of Learning in OB

Learning becomes complete if it comprises following components:

1. Change in behavior

Learning should change the behavior of people. Such change can be positive or negative, good or bad but organization always seeks positive changes in behavior in employees. Negative behavior like high absenteeism, bad habits, prejudice, stereotype, misbehave to other employees as well as customers, etc. are expected to change by positive behavior. Whatever may be positive or negative, fast or slow, more permanent or relatively permanent, there should be change in learning. 

2. Relatively permanent

To be learning, the behavioral change should be relatively permanent. Temporary change (reflexive) cannot be supposed to be learning. 

3. Experience

To occur learning, some form of experience is necessary. Understanding and familiarity in know-how or concept of work areas are necessary in learning. For example, ability of work based on maturation cannot be considered as learning.

4. Reinforcement

In order to have permanent learning, there should be reinforcement in practice. Learning activities i.e. practices in activities must be regular or at least repeated at minimum possible time. If there is no reinforcement in practice or learning, changes in behavior gradually disappear and the original state my not be seen. 

Major Learning Theories in OB

Research in learning is one of the most popular areas in psychology. Basically, there are four major theories in learning as: Classical conditioning theory, operant conditioning theory, cognitive theory and social learning theory. They are discussed below in detail:

Also read: Organizational Behavior: Concept, Characteristics, Importance, History, Contributing Disciplines  

1. Classical Conditioning theory

Classical conditioning theory is developed by Ivan P. Pavlov (1849-1936), Russian physiologist in the early 1900s. This is called classical because this is the first theory in the area of learning. Pavlov was trying to discover the fact regarding digestive system but he obtained the theory of learning. Later than, he worked out to uncover and establish underlying principles of classical conditioning. 

Classical conditioning theory has introduced a simple cause and effect relationship between stimulus and response. This theory states that learning a conditioned response involves association between conditioned stimulus and unconditioned stimulus. It explains simple reflexive behavior which is unlearned behavior.

Pavlov Experiment with dog

Pavlov established this theory through findings of the experiment with dog. Pavlov presented piece of meat to dog. He noticed salivation in dog and the salivation is increased noticeably. He later, rang the bell without meat but the dog did not salivate. This means ringing bell did not stimulate for salivation. He then, linked ringing bell and serving meat of piece repeatedly. Dog repeatedly heard the bell just getting meat. Dog learnt that when the bell rings he will get meat. Thus, whenever dog hears ringing bell, starts salivating. Later, Pavlov stopped providing meat, but dog salivation on ringing bell. Pavlov described this phenomenon i.e. dog responded with ringing bell. The dog had learned an association between ringing bell and the food. In conclusion, this learning is conditional response involves association between conditioned stimulus (bell), unconditioned stimulus (food), and unconditioned response (salivation).

Unconditioned stimulus (UCS) in the theory represents the particular motivator or trigger to respond automatically or naturally without previous learning. For example, with we talk or see sour food or delicious food, salivation starts through it was not learned. Here sour or delicious food is unconditioned stimulus.

Also read: Personality in OB: Characteristics, Determinants, Attributes Influencing, International Values, Application

Unconditioned response (UCR) represents the act or output of unconditioned stimulus. Here, salivating is unconditioned response.

Conditioned stimulus (CS) is a motivating situation caused by unconditioned stimulus. Conditioned stimulus does not emerge automatically as unconditioned stimulus.

Contributions and limitations of classical conditioning

Classical conditioning theory is simple explanation of relation between stimulus and response. This explains that for learned behavior, there should be motivating factor (stimulus). It also makes the reflective or involuntary after the stimulus-response relationship has been established. In many situation, this theory explains the human behaviors.

But, this theory has some important limitations as well. Some of the limitations are as follows:

  • Human behavior and behavior of dogs cannot be similar. 
  • Behavioral environment in organizations is complex in comparison to the experiment conducted by Pavlov. 
  • It does not provide significant part of total human learning. 
  • It explains the passive approach. 
  • Decision making process is complex in nature. Thus, simple conditioning cannot always work. 

2. Operant Conditioning Theory

Operant conditioning theory or model is developed by B.F. Skinner (1904-1990), a psychologist. Skinner suggested that learning of complex human behaviors can be explained or better understood with the help of operant conditioning. Operant conditions are explained for voluntary behaviors. Voluntary behaviors have some influence on the environment or they operate in the environment. Thus, the word operant is coined with operate. This theory can be used to explain complex human behavior.

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Operant conditioning theory states that behavior is function of its consequences. According to this theory, habits can be learnt through reinforcement. After long experiment, Skinner has identified three types of responses or operant that can be follow behavior. He identified neutral operant, reinforcers, and punishers. 

Neutral operant is the responses from environment which neither increases nor decreases the changes for repeating the behavior. 

Reinforcer is the responses from environment which increases the changes for repeating the behavior. Reinforcer can be positive or negative. 

Punisher is the responses from environment which decreases the chances of repeating the behavior. As people do not wish to get punishment, punishment weakens behavior. 

Operant conditioning model, also called Behavior Modification is based on Response-Stimulus. People learn to behave to get something they want or to avoid something they don't want. This means, this theory explains that learning involves reinforcement for desired behavior as a central process in learning. Reinforcement strengthens behavior which increases the probability of repeating the behavior whereas punishment weakens the behavior and reduces the probability of repeating behavior.

Operant conditioning model

This model has following important aspects:

  • A stimulus gives rise to a motive (or drive) which in combination with a habit (S-R connection) arouses a particular behavior.   
  • When the behavior is accompanied by a reward (or reinforcement), it leads to:
    i. satisfaction of the need or motive arousing the behavior (law of effect), and
    ii. strengthening of the habit or S-R connection which enhances the possibility of repetition of behavior when situations are similar and the needs arise. 
  • Obviously, rewarding a particular habit does not merely strengthen that habit but also weakens alternative habits which were not rewarded. 
  • A reward strengthening a habit is designated as learning by instrumental conditioning. 
  • Accordingly, instrumental conditioning can be defined as the learning of a habit or S-R connection through reinforcement or reward. 

Experiment of Operant Conditioning

Skinner conducted experiment with rat and pigeon to conclude the operant conditioning theory. In an experiment with rat, he put rat inside a Skinner Box having lever and feeder to serve food. There was provision that when rat pressure lever with its paws, food pellet is delivered from the feeder. The delivery of food is possible only on the response of pressing the lever. The contingently delivered food pellets act to reinforce the lever-pressing response. Rat repeats the behavior if the reinforcement i.e. food serving with lever pressing. 

Similarly, Skinner conducted two experiments with pigeon. First experiment was with Cutaway, drawing of an operant chamber for pigeon with key pecking. When the pigeon pecks the key, a food tray comes up to the bottom of the food aperture, and the pigeon is allowed to eat for a few seconds. Here, food is the reinforcer. In the second experiment, the key was managed as translucent panel that can be illuminated perhaps in different colors by the key lights. Food tray was also different than the first. Here, pigeon learns with light when it will be reinforce. In all above experiments, behavior are repeated when there will be repetition of rewards. 

Contribution and limitations of operant conditioning theory

This theory is modification in classical conditioning theory as it suggests that the reinforcement helps to repeat the behavior. People learn to behave to get something they want or to avoid something they don't want. This conclusion can importantly be utilized while designing, training and development programs. Redesigning job responsibilities and reward management.

Also read: Communication in OB: Functions, Process, Types, Network, Barriers, Overcoming, Issues

But, in practice, once the respondent gets the stimulus, it will not show the desired behavior. People reflect voluntary behavior which is determined, maintained and controlled by consequences. Human being cannot be fit in Skinner's Box like animal. They can freely interact with external environment. Reinforcement cannot always work positively, it should be given only in correct responses made. 

Different between Classical conditioning and Operant conditioning Model

Classical conditioning
  • A change in stimulus elicits particular response.
  • The strength and frequency of classically conditioned behavior are determined mainly by the frequency of eliciting stimulus. 
  • The stimulus serving as reward is present every time.
  • Responses are fixed to stimulus. 
Operant Conditioning
  • Stimulus serves as a clue for a person to emit the response. 
  • The strength and frequency of operant conditioned behaviors are determined mainly by the consequences. 
  • The reward is presented only if the organism gives the correct response. 
  • Responses are variable both in types and degrees. 

3. Cognitive Mapping Theory

Cognitive mapping theory was established by Edward Tolman (1886-1959), an American psychologist. This theory is primarily based on how events and objects are related to each other. This theory relates two stimuli i.e. describes stimulus-stimulus. Irrespective to classical conditioning and operant conditioning theories, cognitive theory considers the learning as the outcome of deliberate thinking about the problem. 

Cognition is the process of acquiring knowledge. Cognitive is the individual's thought, knowledge, level of understanding and interpretation of any event, object or person. This theory states that learning involves a relationship between cognitive cues (hints about how to choose the right way) and expectations. Learning is the outcome of thinking and knowing.

Also read: Change in OB: Process, Planned and Unplanned, Magnitude, Forces, Resistance, Approaches to Managing

Experiment of cognitive theory

Tolman conducted an experiment with white rat. He first trained rats to run in maze (web) without providing rewards (food). After trained them, he served food as rewards. One day after providing food, the rats are found running faster in this maze. This showed that rats learnt there will be food at the end of race and they used this knowledge in different ways in the following ways. This proves that animals have ability to learn things which they can use later in different ways. This connects cognitive maps in rats.

Tolman explained this phenomenon as individual act on beliefs, as individual act on beliefs, attitudes, changing conditions. They use their knowledge in striving their goals. He believed that individual not only respond to stimuli but does more than responding. 

Following conclusion are made from the experiment:
  • Rats could learn to run through a complicated maze, with purpose and direction, towards attaining a goal. 
  • Rats learn to expect that certain cognitive cues are associated with choice points. These cues can eventually lead to rewards. 
  • Rats, if receive the rewards, the bonding between cue and expectancy can be strengthened and learning takes place. 
  • Latent learning occurs even when no reinforcement is offered. 

4. Social Learning (Behavior Modelling) Theory

Social learning theory was proposed by Albert Bandura in 1977. Bandura states that people can learn from observation, imitation and modelling. This theory believes that behavior is the function of consequence. People respond as on they perceive and understand the outcomes. This theory explains the behavior is learned from the environment through the process of observational learning. For instance; newly appointed employees observe the ways of supervisors and managers and imitate their behavior in organization. Likewise, children can easily copy the dancing steps observing their people dancing or watching television. This model is more applicable in teaching-learning process in school and colleges, training and development in organization, etc. According to this model, the individual learning process consists of following steps:
  • Attentional process: Individual need to pay adequate attention to recognize and understand critical features to learn. Greater the attention on subject matter or event or person, greater chance of learning is observed. 
  • Retention process: Retention process is the act of remembering or retaining information or prior knowledge in learning process. The intensity of retention affects on learning process. 
  • Motor reproduction process: Motor reproduction is the process of further practicing learned behavior. Motor reproduction strengthens and advances the skills through practice. 
  • Reinforcement process: Positive rewards reinforce for the positive behavior. Greater the reinforcement, the reinforced behavior will get more attention, learned better and performed more frequently. 

Features of social learning theory

Social learning theory has three related features as follows:

a. Behavioral modelling

This theory advocates as individual observes the behavior of a role model on the critical task, understands, remembers the important elements of the observed behavior in learning process. During this process, there will be the influence of characteristics of the models, characteristics of the observers, reward association and influence with the behavior. 

b. Learning behavior consequences

Social learning theory also explains that individual learns behavior in other ways than through direct experiences. Individual can also learn by logically thinking through the consequences of our actions and observing the consequences that other people experience following their behavior.

Also read: Organizational Development in OB: Characteristics, Values, Objectives, Goals, Prerequisites, Process, Interventions

c. Self reinforcement

Self reinforcement is the state in which individual controls external reinforcer and continues self induced reinforce for attaining self set goals. For example, if you decide to go abroad only after completing graduation level, you keep on attached with your predetermined goal whatever may be external pressure or opportunities. Some of the employees keep on doing predetermined tasks even there will be new job order from supervisor. This is the position of learning with self determined rewards.

Factors Influencing Learning OB

Learning cannot be in isolation. It is affected by several factors positively or negatively. Following major factors are responsible in influencing learning.

1. Psychological factors

Individual's psychology is one of the most influential factor in learning process. Interests and attention are such psychological factors. These factors are affected by individual needs, goals, beliefs, values, attitudes and perception. If individual is psychologically ready to learn, there will be effective learning. Such factors are under control of individual.

2. Physiological factors

Physiological factors are physical factors like age, health, learning ability, intelligence, fatigue, etc. Physical limitations like underdeveloped mental status, physically deprived, less healthy, over aged, etc. create obstacle in learning process. Growing age children and middle aged individual have good learning capability in comparison to old aged people. Nutrition and use of medicine can also affect learning process. Physiological factors are not under the control of person.

3. Social Factors

Social factors influence learning process both positively as well as negatively. Some of social taboos discourage individual in learning while some of social beliefs, cultures and values encourage for learning. Social needs, incentives, values, prestige, competition, cooperation, etc. are such factors.

4. Learning methods

Learning methods or techniques also influence on learning. Learning by doing is found to be more effective in comparison to reading or lecture method. Observation and participation are more effective for quick learning and long lasting memory. Nowadays, use of multimedia, workshops training, refreshment programs, presentation, case analysis, etc. are being popular in teaching - learning method as they are more effective.

5. Learning material and content

For effective learning, content or objective of learning must be specific and clear. Vague, over loaded, unclear learning content and boring material are less effective in learning process. Learning material and content influences in how much (fully, partially or no part) is learned, how easily and quickly learned, and to what extent one practices the learned knowledge after learning.

6. Environmental factors

Learning place, room, availability of learning materials, equipment, supplies, light, peace zone, temperature, etc. are environmental factors influencing learning. For effective learning, along with stimuli, there be sufficient space, materials and supplies, equipment like multimedia, computer and internet, light, complete silence, etc.

Principles of Learning in OB

Learning should focus on how to make people learn better and how to get the desired behavior in the person after learning take place. There can be several principles of learning which can ensure the effective learning if they are followed. Some of them are discussed below:

1. Principle of readiness or motivation

This principle states that for effective learning, either in the classroom or workplace, individual should be motivated sufficiently. If people are not properly motivated or are not ready to learn, they can't pay due attention on critical components of learning content. However, one cannot be forced to learn. Learning needs self motivation in greater extent, on the part of the learner in order to exert a high level of effort. One has aptly said that, "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."

2. Principle of feedback

This principle states that for effective learning, there should be established system of feedback to the learner. There is a set of feedback rules to enhance learning. Such rules consist of positive, negative or neutral along with short comment. With the application of such sets of effective feedback, learning can be made effective as it motivates, raises awareness, helps to identify the concentration area to improve performance and strengthen the efforts.

3. Principle of reinforcement

This principle states that for effective learning, individual behavior should be followed by a pleasant experience. This ensures that behavior will be repeated most frequently; otherwise, it is less (knowledge, skills, and ability). Reinforcement plays a significant role in the acquisition of knowledge and skills in the unplanned, informal, and experiential learning of our lives.

4. Principle of learning curve

This principle states that, at the beginning of learning stage, people learn at a faster rate but learning rate decline until a plateau is reached along with increasing learning time. This learning curve in figure below, depicts that, at the beginning, the learning of typing speed is relatively fast, and as the time passes, the speed increases at a diminishing rate until a plateau is reached.

5. Principle of transfer ability

This principle states that knowledge or skill what we learn must be transferable in our day to day jobs activities. Learning if that cannot be used in practice, such learning would be useless for the individual as well as for the organization. Japanese business consultants, especially engineers and social scientists, have been transferring, their knowledge and skills among the people working in the shop floor. This has not only made people skilled but equally contributed to making Japanese organizations successful.

6. Principle of behavioral modification

This principle states that learning should replace undesirable behaviors with more desirable behaviors through positive or negative reinforcement. Behavioral change is the minimum requirement to have learning. If individual does not change attitude or lower efficiency even after getting one week training, there is no learning from training.

7. Principle of participation

This principle states that to have effective learning, there should be active participation of both learner as well as instructor. Learner and instructor should be participated in creating natural environment of learning, should be involved in discussion, and should be involved in practicing the learned skills in job.

8. Principle of discrimination

This principle states that learning procedure associates discriminating positive stimulus from negative stimulus. Behavior can change by learning incentives such as explanation and praise on previous bad and good conducts respectively.

9. Principle of multi-sensation

This principle states that learning occurs more rapidly and clearly when information is received through more than one sense organ (nose, ear, tongue, skin and eye). For instance, learning through listening sound and reading a book together will be more effective in comparison to reading only (seeing). In comparison to reading and listening, watching movie after reading text becomes more effective. So, learning in more than one sensation level is preferable for effective learning.

Behavior Modification (OB Mod.)

Behavioral modification is based on the operant conditioning theory which explains the needs of positive reinforcement for getting desired behavior. This means, to get desired behavior in the organization, there should be positive reinforcement of rewards. B.F. Skinner, Father of Behaviorism, developed this concept with operant conditioning, which states that all behavior is governed by reinforcing and punishing stimuli. This concept explains learning as a dependent process on environment. It explains learning in terms of the antecedents and consequences of behavior. Its purpose is to improve performance.

Thus, behavioral modification is a technique to modify or eliminate undesirable behavior to get desired behavior. This concept is used to understand the behavior of human being more effectively and used to improve organizational effectiveness. It is an application of reinforcement theory to people in organizational setting. Behavioral modification focus in;

  • Improving employee productivity, 
  • Reducing absenteeism and lateness, 
  • Reducing accident rates,
  • Improving employee discipline, 
  • Developing training and development programs. 
  • Improving industrial relations

Steps in behavioral modification (OB Mod.)

1. Identify critical behavior

In the very first step of behavioral modification, managers must identify the set of desirable and undesirable behavior in the organization. Behavior modification process follows measurement of behavior if behaviors are seen and they can be measured. Supervisor or job holder identifies critical behavior. A behavior audit is conducted to analyze each job. Direct performance behaviors are included that significantly impact performance outcome. 

2. Develop baseline data

In this step, detail behavior of employees are measured to estimate consequences of their behavior. This step helps to identify desired and undesired behavior in organization. Such data regarding behavior of employees collected before initiating the change process are called base line data. 

3. Analyze behavioral consequence

In this step, behavior shown by employees are analyzed to estimate the future consequences. From this step, managers identify the existing behavioral contingencies, consequences of performance, that is, what happens now to employees who perform at various levels? If an employee works heard, does she/he get a reward or just get tired. Behavior modification recognizes that behavior is influenced by two environmental contingencies: the antecedents that precede behaviors and the consequence that follow behavior. These principles are part of the Antecedents-Behavior-Consequences (A-B-C) model of behavior modification. 

  • Antecedents: Antecedents are input factors for behavior i.e. they cause for behavior of employees. 
  • Behavior: Behavior are activities shown by employees in organization. 
  • Consequences: Consequences is the results or outcomes of antecedent on behavior of employees. OB Mod. focuses on changing undesired behavior of employees into desired behavior as consequences. 

4. Use intervention strategy

Intervention refers interference in existing behavior of employees. Intervention strategy is the main activity in behavioral modification as it prepares plans to initiate some changes which strengthen the desired behavior and weaken the undesired behavior. Intervention strategy changes performance-reward linkage to make high level performance more rewarding. 

5. Evaluate performance improvement

This is the feedback stage in which success or failure of behavioral modification program is evaluated. Performance of employees before implementation of modification program and after modification program is compared. Managers need to evaluate whether goals of program are attained or not, if yes, at what extent they are attained. This step prepares feedback for the upcoming programs. 

Attitude Formation in OB

Attitude is the summation of judgemental statements regarding favorable or unfavorable regarding any object, event or person. This represents the way of thinking how do we relate to the world of work and outside the work. Statements like 'I like the way of my manager' or 'I dislike the leadership style of my manager' represent the way of thinking regarding the leadership of style of a manager by an employee. The first statement represents positive attitude whereas the second statement represents the negative attitude. "Understanding different types of attitudes of individual and their likely implication is useful in predicting how individual's attitudes influence their behavior". 
Attitudes has three types of components as cognitive, affective and behavioral. Cognitive attitude represents thoughts, beliefs, and ideas about particular object, person or event. Affective attitude represents with feelings or emotions that are brought to the surface about a particular object, person or event. Likewise, behavioral component of attitude deals with how people react on an attitude? Formation of attitude is complex process and is affected by several factors. 

Attitudes are affected by following factors and moreover, these factors collectively affect attitude:

1. Learning

Learning affects attitude of any individual. This improves the level of knowledge and understanding. Thus, way of thinking and making judgment can be different with the level of learning. 

2. Experience

People make attitude with experience. Their involvement in various responsibilities improves the level of thinking and understanding. They form job related attitudes like attitudes regarding managers, working environment, salary and pay system, performance appraisal and reward management system, marketing policies, HR selection, development and maintenance practices, etc. They may be satisfied or unsatisfied with these things and form positive or negative attitudes. 

3. Personality factors

Personality factors of individual are also important influencing factors of attitudes. More often, individual evaluates the advantages or disadvantages of situation, event, person and object on the basis of own personality trait. For example, aggressive leaders and cooperative leaders have different attitudes towards any event. 

4. Membership

Membership or association with various work groups like political groups, age groups, gender, geographic region, religion, educational background, social groups, etc. affects the attitude of individual. For example, way of thinking or attitude or group members and their influence on personal decision making affects on purchasing decision, job continuity or resignation, follow of leader, etc. 

5. Family background

Family background shapes personality of individual. Personal traits are backed by genetic characteristics. Besides this, economic and academic background of the person also affects on level of thinking and hence in the formation of attitude. 

6. Social factors

Social class, culture, language and structure also influence the level of thinking of person. Thus, social factors are also important boundaries of individual's initial attitudes. 


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