The Stimulus-Response Trap

Can studies on animals predict human behavior?

An article about the behavioral scientist, B.F. Skinner,
stated that he spent his entire life conducting
experiments on birds and rodents, but applied all his
findings and wrote all his books about people.

Many management consultants have fallen “under the spell”
of Skinner’s theories as they propose solutions to people
problems in the workplace.

Many bonus and incentive programs are veiled attempts to
stimulate a specific behavior by offering a reward.

HR POINTER: When trying to think up ways to engage and
motivate employees, do not fall into the stimulus-response
trap that obviously works well with animals.

People are a lot more complex than birds, dogs, and

If you want to find out how to motivate employees, ask
them. Then tailor your program accordingly.


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