Learning in Organisational Behaviour


Learning in Organisational Behaviour:

Learning is process of change in behavior through education, training, practice and training. It is accompanied by acquisition of knowledge skills and expertise in a specific field. Reinforcement is necessary for the learning that results permanent change in behavior. If reinforcement is not applied then there would be temporary change in behavior and that can disappear eventually.

Learning is defined as relatively permanent change in behavior that occurs as a result of prior experience. – E R Hilgard

Nature of Learning:

  • Learning involves a change though not necessarily improvement in behavior. Learning may be good or bad from organization’s point of view. For example an employee may learn bad habits, work restrictions, stereotypes etc.
  • There should be a change in behavior as result of experience and practice. The changes may not be apparent until a condition arises in which a new behavior can happen.
  • Permanent change in the behavior must be there while learning. Temporary changes may be spontaneous or fail to represent learning. Changes in behavior by fatigue or temporary adaptation are not referred as learning.
  • The reinforcement of the practice and experience should be there to complete the method of learning. The behavior will disappear ultimately if it is not accompanied by reinforcement.
  • Learning is reflected in behavior. A change in person’s thought process or attitudes not accompanied by behavior are not learning.

Theories of learning:

There are four theories which explain how individuals learn new patterns of behavior.

Classic conditioning: The classical researchers of behavior particularly Pavlov and Watson recognized learning to the link between stimulus and response.

Operant Conditioning: The operant researchers of behavior such as Skinner described as role of consequences in understanding the learning process. Operant behavior means voluntary or learned behavior in contrast to reflexive or unlearned behavior.

Cognitive learning: Cognitive theorists believed that learning is achieved by thinking about the alleged relationship between events and individual goals. The processes within the individual concerned with receiving, preserving and understanding information make the individual learn new outline of behavior.

Social learning: It is an integrative theory of learning which clarifies that people learn through watching and direct experience. Modeling symbolism and self control are the important methods of social learning.