Skinner’s Reinforcement Theory or just Reinforcement Theory is one of the theories focusing on human motivation. Reinforcement Theory was published by American social philosopher, psychologist and behaviorist Burrhus Frederic Skinner in 1957.
The theory is based on the principles of causality and knowledge that a worker’s behavior is regulated by the type of reward. The theory does not assess personality, but focuses on behavior and recognizes three basic rules of consequences:
- Reward for positive behavior reinforces positive behavior
- Punishment for negative behavior weakens negative behavior
- If there is no reward or punishment, behavior is fading
What is reinforcement theory good for in practice?
The results of this theory are part of the incentive systems. If we want to reinforce the behavior in the organization, we provide a reward for it, and vice versa if we want to weaken any behavior, we use a punishment. With this theory, we also know that the time interval for granting rewards should be as short as possible, preferably imminent.