Definition of learning and behaviour modification

Learning is a change in behaviour as a result of experience. Learning can be defined as relatively permanent change in behaviour potentiality that results from reinforced practice or experience (Steers and Porter).


A relatively permanent change in behaviour (or behaviour tendency) that occurs as a result of a person's interaction with the environment.


Learning is defined as any relatively permanent change in behavior that occurs as a result of experience.

> Learning involves change. How do we as leaders bring about change?

Social Learning

> Social learning is learning through experience, i.e., peer pressure.

> Much of the behavior in the classroom is a result of social learning, i.e., a student raises his hand to be recognized.

Learning Styles

> Logical - Mathematical

> Study in a quiet setting.

> When reading, stop periodically to reflect on what you have read.

> Study applications, causes and effects of material.

> Write short summaries of material, (see page 314)

Four Learning Styles

> Bodily: Kinesthetic

> Visual: Spatial

> Verbal: Linguistic

> Logical: Mathematical

> By gaining a better understanding of different personalities, abilities and learning styles, we can better understand and predict the behavior of others as well as ourselves.


1. Learning involves change, be it good or bad.

2. The change in behaviour is relatively permanent.

3. Only change in behaviour acquired through experience is considered learning.

4. Some form of experience is necessary for learning. Experiences may be acquired directly through practice or observation or indirectly (i.e., reading).

5. Learning is not confined to our schooling only. It is a life long process.

Determinants of Learning

1. Motives (Drives)

They prompt people to action. They are the primary energisers of behaviour. They are subjective and represent the mental feelings of human beings.

2. Stimuli

They are objects that exist in the environment. They increase the probability of eliciting a specific response from a person. They may be two types :

(i) Generalisation : It takes place when the similar new stimuli repeat. It makes possible for a manager to predict human behaviour when stimuli are exactly alike. However, the negative implication of generalisation is that the manager may make false inferences and conclusions based on the principle of generalisation. For example, halo effect in perception occurs mainly because of generalisation.

(ii) Discrimination : In case of discrimination, responses vary to different stimuli. Discrimination has wide applications in organizational behaviour in view of individual differences in various aspects. For example, a supervisor may respond to a high producing worker in a positive manner, but in a different manner to one producing very less.

3. Responses

The stimuli results in responses - be these in the physical form or in terms, of attitudes or perception or in other phenomena.

4. Reinforcement

It can be defined as anything that both increases the strength of response and tends to induce repetitions of the behaviour that preceded the reinforcement. It is a fundamental conditioning of learning. No measurable modification of behaviour can take place without reinforcement.

5. Retention

It means remembrance of learned behaviour over time. Converse is forgetting. Learning which is forgotten over time is called 'extinction'. When the response strength returns after extinction without any intervening reinforcement, it is called 'spontaneous recovery'.

Learning Through Feedback

Any information about consequences of out behaviour

Clarifies role perceptions

Corrective feedback improves ability

Positive feedback motivates future behaviour.

Effective Feedback

Fig. 14.1: Effective Feedback

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