Various theories…to explain different aspects of
But could be grouped under some major
Classical Conditioning (S-R)
Operant Conditioning (R-S)
3. Social Learning
Connectionist Learning Theory
Learning involves the development of
connections between a stimulus and response
i.e. the association of a response and a
stimulus is the connection that is learned.
• Some of those who hold this theory minimize
the importance of reinforcement to leaning,
while some feel that reinforcement is crucial
• Reinforcement is employed in conjunction
with two fundamentally different methods of
1. Classical Conditioning,
2. Operant Conditioning
= a type of conditioning in which an individual responds to some
stimulus that would not ordinarily produce such a response.
Ivan Pavlov: experimented to teach dogs to salivate in response to the
hearing of a bell.
measured accurately the amount of saliva secreted by a dog.
when presented with a piece of meat dog exhibited a noticeable
increase in salvation.
But , when only bell rang…dog not salivated.
But after repeatedly hearing the bell before getting the food, the
dog began to salivate as soon as the bell rang.
After a sometime, dog would salivate merely at the sound of the
bell, even if no food was offered.
The effect is that the dog learned to respond, i.e. salivate to the
• The bell was the conditioned stimulus.
• The response is conditioned response, which
describes the behaviour of the dog, i.e., it
salivated in reaction to the bell alone.
Implications of Classical Conditioning
• A conditioned stimulus becomes reinforcing
under higher-order conditioning.
• Classical conditioning is passive. Something
happens and we react in a specific way. It s
voluntary rather than reflexive.
• Ex: employees choose to arrive at work on
time, ask their boss for help with problems/
make silly mistakes when no one watches.
B. F. Skinner
= a type of conditioning in which desired
voluntary behaviour leads to reward or a
= a voluntary or learned behaviour in contrast to
reflexive or unlearned behvaviour.
Pple learn to behave to get sth they want or to
avoid sth they don’t want.
Pple tend to repeat the behvaiour that fetches
• Skinner said that creating pleasing consequences
to follow specific forms of behaviour would
increase the frequency of that behaviour.
• Most likely pple engage in desired behaviour if
they are +vely reinforced for doing so.
• Rewards are most effective if they immediately
follow the desired response.
• On the contrary, behaviour that is not rewarded,
or is punished is less likely to be repeated.
Differences b/w Classical and Operant
1. Responses are elicited (i.e.
2. Responses are fixed to stimulus
3. Conditioned stimulus (CS):
sound, an object, a person.
4. Conditioning is implemented
5. First a stimulus is produced and
then the desired behaviour is
Responses are emitted by a
Responses are variable in types
and degrees (choice).
CS is a situation such as office, a
social stetting, a specific set of
Conditioning is is implemented
First we get a behaviour pattern
and then either by reward or by
a avoidance of punishment we
reinforce that behaviour.
• Connectionist theory says learning is developed
through connection b/w stimuli and response.
• Cognitive theory stresses the importance of
perception, problem solving and insight.
• Learning occurs through discovering meaningful
patterns which enable us to solve problems.
• Cognitive learning involves learning ideas, concepts,
attitudes and facts that contribute to our ability to
reason, solve problems and learn relationships without
direct experience or reinforcement.
• It ranges from acquiring simple information to
complex, creative problem solving.
Process of cognitive Learning
Draw information on the past experiences and use past leaning as a
basis for present behaviour.
these experiences represent presumed knowledge or cognitions.
Ex: an employee, if given a choice of job assignment, will use
previous experiences in deciding which one to accept.
2. People make choices about their behaviour. The employee recognizes
his/her alternatives and chooses one.
3. People recognize the consequences of their choices. i.e., when the
employee finds the job assignment rewarding and fulfilling he/she will
recognize that the choice was a good one and will understand why.
4. Pple will evaluate those consequences and add them to prior learning,
which affects future choices.
i.e., if faced with same job choices in future, most likely the
employee will choose the same one.
Forms of Cognitive learning
1. Iconic Learning: involves learning the association b/w
two/ more concepts in the absence of conditioning.
2. Vicarious Learning/ Modelling: observing the
behaviour of others and adjust that his/her
accordingly. Also can use the image to anticipate the
outcome of various courses of action. (= no direct
experience of the object/event).
3. Reasoning: individuals engage in creative thinking to
restructure and recombine existing information as
well as new information to form new associations and
it is an extension of operant conditioning.
It assumes that behaviour is a function of
acknowledges the existence of observational
learning and the importance of perception in
Process of Social Learning
Attention Processes: pple learn from a model only when they
recognize and pay attention to its critical features. Tend to be
influenced by models that are attractive, repeatedly available,
important to us or similar to us in our estimation.
Retention Processes: A model’s influence will depend on how well
the individual remembers the model’s action after the model is no
longer readily available.
Motor Reproduction Processes: after a person has seen a new
behaviour by observing the model, the watching must be
converted to doing. This process then demonstrates that the
individual can perform the modeled activities.
Reinforcement Processes: individual is motivated to exhibit the
modeled behaviour if +ve incentives or rewards are provided.
behvaiours that +vely reinforced will be given more attention,
learned better and performed more often.
Managerial Implications of Learning
1. Motivation: the extent to which rewards
follow high performance will affect emp’s
willingness to work hard.
2. Performance Evaluation and Rewards:
3. Training: learning is the major goal of