Questions: 1. What conditions, if any, do you think justify the use of punishment? 2. Do you think most managers use punishment? If so, why? 3. What’s the downside of using punishment? And of using positive reinforcement? 4. What would your behavior response be if you had to work for a boss who uses punishment?
Question # 5
As sales managerCharlesoccasionally relieson punishmentto try to
improve his employees’performance. Forinstance, one time he was
dealing with a salesman who washaving a bad month. He talked to the
employeeaboutwhathe could do to help him move more cars. But after
anotherweek withouta sale and a condescending attitude from the
employee, the managerconfronted him. He screamed atthe employee,
told him his performance wasunacceptable,and then threw a notebook
binderat him. The managersaid “I had talked to him before, said that I
would help him out, but thatwe had to do something abouthis sales
numbers. The day I actually threw my binderat him, he actually sold a
couple of cars”. And the manageris unapologeticabouthis behavior“I
am alwaystough on my salespeople,butthey know the reason is thatI
wantthem do to better. Do I think its alwayseffective?No butif you do
it once in a while, it works.”
Apparently,Charlesisn’t alone. When the pressure for meeting numbers
and deadlinesis high, some managersrely on punishmentto try to
motivate employees. A motivation consultantsaysit can backfire on a
manager, when he orshe avoidstelling employeesthatthere are negative
consequencesforpoor performance. “Positive reinforcementis
something thatemployeesshould earn”according to him. For example,
there are cases where high performing salesperson refuses to do his
paperworkbutstill getshigh praise from the boss because his numbers
Many managersstill rely on threats to motivate employeesand it does
work on some employees. According to them, punishmentcan
sometimesprovide a much-neededkick in the pantsto salespeople who
are slacking or unaware oftheir poorperformance. Forsome people,
1. Whatconditions, if any, do you think justify the use of
2. Do you think most managersuse punishment?If so, why?
3. What’s the downside ofusing punishment?And of using positive
4. Whatwould yourbehaviorresponsebe if you had to work for a
boss who uses punishment?
Whatconditions, if any, do you think justify the use of punishment?
I believe thatpunishment is acceptable only if it is done in an
ethical way in the workforce. The employee should know the punishment
of an undesirable behavior in the workplace. In this situation the manager
shouted at the employee and then threw a notebook. I believe thatthis type
of behavior shows the company in a negative lightas well as scares the
employee into dislikingthe manager and the company and the risk of that
employee of quitting is high. I believe thatpunishment is only warranted
in extreme situations where if the employee came in drunk then his
punishment would be suspension. I believe the most efficient way to shape
a behavior is using positive and negative reinforcement.
Only use punishment when you really feel it is the lastoption.
If you punish too much, you risk alienating your people, and losing a good
working relationship. Everyone wants to do well, and we are not always
perfect. You have to cut some slack sometimes, but the job has to be done.
If it takes a punishmentto get productivity back up then so be it. Just tread
lightly, and only dowhat you have to do to get people to stay motivated.
Usually just the threatof a punishment will work out well.
This isn't school, and you can't threaten detention, or be rude about it. You
are working with adults, and you have to treatthem like adults. Being
such, they will understand thatthey have a job to do, and the consequences
for being unemployed. If they feel that the boss isn'thappy, they will work
harder to get back on the rightside of the boss. An adultmightnot like the
job, but will rarelyfeel joy over not having a paycheck.
If an employee doesn't produce even when they know they
are being watched, then you can punish even more. Everyone will stay off
the path every so often, so you have to use the rightpunishment for the
rightcrime. If someone is slacking for a day or two, just remind them that
they have to stay late if they don't finish. However, ifsomeone is
continually slacking, youcan just fire them, or put them on a written
notice. That will pave the way for a firing, and if the employee doesn't turn
it around, you can get rid of them.
The use on punishmentis good when you mighthave the
feeling that some have tuned you out. You can't punish an employee for
doing something when they are bored. You can't say they are fired because
you caughtthem texting, or that you caught them on a non-work related
website. However, ifthe employee doesn't stop, and they aren'tbeing
productive, you can easily punish then. Tell them to take the day off, and
think about how much they really wantthe job. Make them work on
Saturday ifthey don't get the work done by Friday.
The first action that will be taken is verbal warning, second
action is being written up, and the third will be grounds to
suspend/termination. These are the proper procedures when correcting an
employee in the workplace. Any other form of corrections is truly abusing
your Title/Power, and thatisn'tgood for the workplace. When people
come to work they are not looking to be punished for an honest mistake,
because mistakes will happen in the workplace.
2. Do you think most managersuse punishment?If so, why?
I do not think that most manager use punishment. I believe
that most manager work cooperativelywith their employees and sit down
and discuss a resolution when there are time of the employee misbehaving.
During my career I have noticed that most managers thatuse punishment
are usually power hungry individuals and are not the best of managers.I
have not seen these types of managers succeed in their career because the
employees that work for them do not support them and they usually get
lower employee satisfaction scores.
When the pressure for meeting numbers and deadlines is high,
some managers rely on punishment to try to motivate employees
Punishment can be used in positive and negative manners;an example of
positive punishment is the use of a water-mistspray intothe face of the
subject when the subject exhibits an unwanted behavior, such as mouthing
for self-injurious subjects. The use of timeouts and response-cost systems
are examples of negative forms of punishment
There are so many little things that happen in the workplace,
and if you punished everyone for everything, youmightnot have much of
a workforce. People will use the Internet, people will read magazines on a
register, and there will be disagreements,and probably some fights at work
too. Managementwillbe talked down to by employees, and you can't fire
someone for having an opinion that you mightnot like. Employees are
going to be late, and people will make mistakes.
. Managers are often faced with the difficulttask of changing
undesirable employee behavior. Problems like absenteeism, lateness, and
drug or alcohol usage cost corporations millions of dollars annually while
some inappropriate employee behaviors within organizations maygo
undisciplined, and managers believethatpunishment is necessary when
undesirable actions (which could include a wide range of specific and
contingent employee behaviors)have an adverse effect on job performance.
That is, any unwanted subordinate behavior which has a
directimpact on task performance is a likely targetfor organizational
discipline, with subsequentemployee performance the primarymeasure
used to gauge the effectiveness of a supervisor’s disciplinaryattempt.
However, many if not most managers dislike administering required
punishment due to the strong emotional reaction the punished individual
is expected to display as well as due to the potential impactpunishment
may have on employee attitudes such as job satisfaction. Given their
importance to both organizations and theorists, itis not surprising thatone
or both of these outcomes (i.e., performance and satisfaction)have been the
focus of the majority of organizationaldiscipline research.
EXAMPLE:-As sales manager for a New Jersey auto dealership, Charles
Park occasionally relies on punishment to try to improve his employees
‘performance. For instance, one time he was dealing with a salesman who
was having a bad month. Park talked to the employee about what he could
do to help him move more cars. But after another week without a sale and
a condescending attitude from the employee, Park confronted him. He
screamed atthe employee, told him his performance was unacceptable,
and then threw a notebook binder athim. Said Park, “I had talked to him
before, said that I would help him out, but that we had to do something
about his numbers. The day I tossed my binder athim, he actually sold a
couple of cars.” And Park is unapologetic abouthis behavior. “Iam always
tough on all my salespeople, but they know the reason is that I want them
to do better. Do I think it’s always effective? No. But if you do it once in a
while, it works.” ApparentlyCharles Park isn’talone.
1. What’s the downside ofusing punishment?Of using positive
The downside of using punishment is that you mightlose a
good employee that just needed the righttools to perform their job. The
company would have to hire another employee and then train them on the
job. This can cause downtime in the company’s productivity and lower
morale between other employees when they see punishment as the
consequences of lower productivity. The downside of using positive
enforcement could be that the employee never learns from his behavior.
Reinforcementincreases the behavior thatpreceded it. Punishment
decreases the behavior thatpreceded it.
Punishment weakens a behavior because a negative condition
is introduced or experienced as a consequence of the behavior.
Example: a ratis in a cage and when it presses the lever, it is shocked.
When it lets go, the shock stops. It learns not to press the lever so it won’t
One of the downsides of punishment is that it makes people
resentful and instills fear. While using positive reinforcementmakes a
person feel better and want to please you by DOING better.
Positive reinforcementis effective and largelyused for two separate
reasons. Firstly, itis one of the most powerful techniques available for the
direction or motivation of the actions of other people. The second reason
which is more philosophical is the versatility ofthe concept of
reinforcementas an explanation of behavior.When positive reinforcements
are used, the desired outcome is that the behavior is reinforced. Subjects
understand thatthe behavior is desirable and willtend to repeat it for the
Manager can influence employee‘s behavior by reinforcing
action they deem desirable .however because the emphasis is on positive
reinforcementnot punishment, manager should ignore, notpunish
unfavorable behavior.Even though punishmenteliminates undesired
behavior faster than no reinforcementdoes, its effect is often only
temporary and may later have unpleasantside effects including
dysfunctional behaviorsuch as workplace conflicts, absenteeism,and
turnover Positive reinforcementworks much well as employees want to do
a good job for a good boss. Positive reinforcementwill boost morale and
employees will feel a part of a team, wanting to put their best foot forward
Reinforcement and punishment, the core tools of operant conditioning,
are either positive (delivered followinga response), or negative
(withdrawn followinga response).
Reinforcement is a consequence that causes a behavior to occur with
Punishment is a consequence that causes a behavior to occur with less
Positive reinforcement (Reinforcement): occurs when a behavior
(response) is followed by a stimulus that is rewarding, increasingthe
frequency of that behavior.In the Skinner box experiment, a stimulus such
as food or sugar solution can be deliveredwhen the ratengages in a target
behavior, such as pressing a lever
Negative reinforcement:occurs when a behavior (response)is followed by
the removal of an aversive stimulus, therebyincreasing thatbehavior's
frequency. In the Skinner box experiment, negative reinforcementcan be a
loud noise continuously sounding inside the rat's cage until it engages in
the targetbehavior,such as pressing a lever, upon which the loud noise is
Positive punishment (Punishment)(alsocalled "Punishment by contingent
stimulation"): occurs when a behavior (response)is followed by a stimulus,
such as introducing a shock or loud noise, resulting in a decrease in that
Negative punishment (Penalty)(alsocalled "Punishmentby contingent
withdrawal"): occurs when a behavior (response)is followed by the
removal of a stimulus, such as taking away a child's toy following an
undesired behavior, resultingin a decrease in that behavior
Behavior Presentation of a
You put coins into a
You receive a cold
can of soda.
You put coins in
in the future.
Behavior Removal of an
In the middle of a
boring date, you say
you have a headache.
The date ends early. You use the same
tactic on future
Behavior Introduction of an
You touch a hot iron. Your hand is burned. You no longer touch
Behavior Removal of a
You're careless with
your ice cream cone.
The ice cream falls
on the ground.
You're not as
careless with the
4. Whatwould yourbehaviorresponse be if you had to work for a boss
who uses punishment?
According to me the job of a manager in the work place is to get
thing done through employees. To do this the manager should be able to
motivate employees. But that easier said than done!
Human nature can be very simple, yet very complex too an
understandingand appreciation of this is a prerequisite to effective
employee motivation in the workplace and therefore effective management
and leadership. There is an old saying you can take a horse to the water but
you cannot force it to drink water; itwill drink only ifit’s thirsty so with
people they will dowhat they wantto do or otherwise motivated to do
There are 3 things we can do with a bullying boss: Ignore them, confront
them or Reportthem. Here are some tips to follow if you are being bullied:
1. we can tell someone trustable whatis happening. Ask for their help.
2. We can keep a written diary of incidents, including the date, time,
situation and any witnesses.
3. Report the incidentto your supervisor/manager, to the bully's
supervisor/manageror to your Personnel/Human Resources department.
4. Tell the bully that their behavior is unacceptable and leave the situation.
5. Don't fight back or engage in debate with the bully - you may end up
being blamed for the fight.
6. Avoid being any place alone with the bully if at all possible.
7. If someone else is nearby, ask the bully to repeat his or her comments in
front of them as a witness
The administration is effective only when a clear rationale is
provided. Clear and unambiguous reasons must be provided why a person
was punished. And a person must be clearly warnedwhatprecise actions
will lead to punishment in the future. When a rationale for punishment is
provided, mild or moderate punishmentis just as effective as intensive
punishment (in influencing behavior).And the person must be told what
(positive) alternatives are available before him.
Keep in mind to always read the handbook the company in
which you are applying for a position. Because that will be the only thing
protecting your rights in the workplace. In case you ever come in contact
with that boss that likes to bully their employee's, the handbook will
protect you from that type of unfair and unusual punishment. Be sure to
read all documents a workplace gives you it's for your own good,
remember. Ifyou’re not familiarwith the guide lines of the rules and
regulation you’re only hinderingyourselfwhen a problem like this
arouses, then you’re according to me that if we will think wisely and really
we want to save our job and retain it smoothly so we have to tackle our
boss in such a way so he/she insist to change his/her behaviorfor us and
no situation will come for punish us.
Obey the boss’s rules even if it contradicts company policies: There is
nothing more miserable to a boss than a critic. Just give the illusion that
you are doing things his or her way.
1. Be gentle and considerate - The meek shall inheritthe Earth. You
may lose the battle but if you do not confront those who seek
dominance with the same kind of attitude that has corrupted them,
then you will win the war.
2. Offer a sacrifice – Power trippers see themselves as gods. If you
want to please them and get their approval, offer a decapitated
chicken… err… I mean, give them something delightful from time to
3. Give yourboss the powerto grant – Adding the phrase, “If it’s ok
with you…” to your requests can actually make all your wishes come
true. To them, what you say may sound like, “Yeah, who’s your
daddy now?” The point, however, is that you won’t have any
problem getting whatyou want.
4. Do not ignore yourboss – People obsessed with power always like
getting attention, so give it to them. Otherwise, youmightget in
trouble if you make the mistake of ignoring your boss whenever he’s
5. Neverargue with yourboss – For power trippers, it’s either you’re
with them or againstthem. Arguing with your boss, or anyone who
has directauthority over you, is not a win-lose situation. It’s suicide.
6. Do not stand in the boss’s way – Your boss may see everything as
competition. Stay out of his way by letting him hear what he wants to
hear and letting him know whathe needs to know. Give information
that mightbe useful to him and your boss will love you for it.
7. Do not reject offers and invitations – Declining invitations maybe
interpreted as resistance to their authority. Your refusal may depend
on the context of the boss’s invitation, butshowing disinterest
generallymeans a sign of contempt.
8. Plead for whatyou wantas if it was punishment – Competitive
people may see everyone as opponents in their struggle for
supremacy. Consequently, it makes them happy to see other people
suffer. Avoid communicating your needs with a smile on your face.
9. Do not delay – If your boss wants something done, do it
immediately. If your boss is calling your attention, respond instantly.
Making your boss waitis like watching the liquid in a thermometer
10.Offer words of praise – Whatyou don’t know are that your boss
needs more recognition than you do. The reason is that the higher
you go up the career ladder, the more inflated your sense of self-
worth becomes. Offering prayers sometimes work as well.
11.Treatyourboss like a feudallord – Each time you order a pizza, go
to your boss, and then say, “Have a slice before the orcas get their
hands on these.” If you don’t get a reaction, offer the whole box.
12.Addressyourboss properly – If he wants to be called by his name,
that’s great. If he wants you to call him “Your Imperial and Royal
Majesty,” you need to oblige.
13.Emphasizeyourboss’s contribution by reframing yourlanguage –
Instead of saying, “Ihope the general manager willbe satisfied with
what I did.” say, “The generalmanagerwill definitely be impressed
that you came up with that idea.”
14.Spend time with yourboss as much as possible – If you’re worried
about whatyour peers have to say to you, tell them you’re just doing
it to get inside information.
15.Fill the void – Bosses are generally lonely people. Whenever there’s
an occasion in your company, always be the first one to invite your
16.Give a helping hand –Whenever there’s an opportunity of helping
your boss with something like printing documents or writing reports,
grab it. Bosses are suckers for people who will do anything for them.
17.Act as a spokesperson – Generally, people who are not formally
prepared for positions of leadership are not taughteffective
communication skills. If you think you’re better than your boss in
this area, modestly ask ifyou can help deliver the message on his or
18.Avoid adding pressure – If you want to have an activity with your
colleagues, don’t expect your boss to organizeor head the committee.
Ask only for approval. Your boss has more things to worry about
even if it may not look like he does.
19.Alwayssay, “Considerit done!“ – Bosses are fond of people who
are not difficult to manage. When your boss asks you to do
something, give him or her assurance that you’ll take care of
everything. Justmake sure that you actually follow through with
whatever it is you agreed to do.
20.Do it when and where the bosswill see you - If you're willing to
help organize the workplace, makinggood impressions count. Your
boss can only use his imagination when he thinks about you. Give
him something good to remember.
21.Police the area when yourboss is present – When the cat is away,
the mice will play… we all know that. If you wantmore time to play,
then do your boss’s job for him. Make a reasonable and believable
demonstration. This will make him think thatthis is still what’s going
on when he’s not around though you know better.
22.In all thingsand at all times, smile – This gives the impression that
you are a positive person not only to your boss but to all the people
you work with as well.
23.Exaggerate– Actors/actresses in film, television, and theatre are
good at whatthey are doing because they know how to exaggerate.If
you wantto convince your boss, put more emotion in your words
and your actions. For example, shed a tear when explainingwhy
you’re always late.
24.Pretend you’re a masochistif yourboss is a sadist – Figuratively
speaking, ifyour boss is the type of person who enjoys seeing a
flowing stream of blood and tears from employees, then pretending
that you’re working yourselfto near death may actually pay off.
25.Everyoneis exploited;yourbossis not exempted – When your boss
engages you in a conversation and talks about how life has been so
unfair and things like that, be attentive but don’t absorb the
negativity.Your boss has a lot of influence over your mind, but there
are times when you have to guard your own sanity.
26.Copy whatthe team playersare doing – If there are people whom
your boss pays attention to, those are the guys who produce results.
If you can’t match their skill set, you can at leastimitate the way they
behave around your boss.
27.Know when to make a persuasive suggestion – When you catch
your boss uttering words of disappointmentand discontent, use the
opportunity to offer your own solutions (things you really wantfor
you and your friends)in the form of questions. For example, “Would
it be better if…?” or “Whatif you try…?”
28.Use rewards– Every time your boss does something to make you
and your peers happy, take note of it and examine whatyou have
done to receive such a charitable action from his holy grace. Use it for
a period of time to initiate the same response from your boss. When
he gets used to it, he’ll try to come up with ways to please you even if
you don’t do anything.
29.Use punishment – When your boss behaves like a douche bag,
punish the behavior by being lethargicand insubordinate, or
something to that effect. It’s more powerful if you can get your co-
workers to take part in the scheme. Take note that the functioning
elementin using rewards and punishments is consistency.
30.Know how to read gesturesand meta-communicationsignals –
Your boss mightbe saying something to you unconsciously, so you
have to be able to read his gesture On the other hand, meta-
communication is when your boss tells you whatto expect in terms
of how he will interactwith you. For example, “I just had a bad
presentation with the vice presidentthis morning, so let’s see how
this meeting goes.”
31.Share secrets with yourboss – If you want to get your boss’s trust
without sweating it out, the easiesttrick are to share secrets.
Reciprocal concessions mightwork for you in this way. Showing
trust in your boss will likely urge him or her to trust you in return.
32.Information overload– The human mind is not capable of handling
too much information. If you want to get your boss off your back,
you and your friends can try raising your concerns through email all
at the same time. That should keep your boss busy.
33.Set a time limit – Whenever your boss asks you if you have a minute,
tell him you’re only free for five. If you are consistent with this, it can
prevent him or her from engaging youin long conversations during
work hours. Your boss will get the signal which will be left inside his
34.Ask if you can do it for yourboss – Your boss may not always have
time to conduct meetings, create reports, and coach his subordinates,
and so on. Ask if he can teach you so you can do it for him. Sooner or
later, not only will you have the experience and your boss’s
recognition, but you will get his job title as well.