International Women’s Day! My special Day goes to a teenage Mother at work place. Namatovu Zam

Think equal, build smart, innovate for change

International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.

The 2019 theme “Think equal,build smart, innovate for change” focuses on innovative ways in which we can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure.

The achievement of the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals requires transformative shifts, integrated approaches and new solutions, particularly when it comes to advancing gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.

Innovation and technology provide unprecedented opportunities, yet trends indicate a growing gender digital divide and women are under-represented in the field of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and design. It prevents them from developing and influencing gender-responsive innovations to achieve transformative gains for society. From mobile banking to artificial intelligence and the internet of things, it is vital that women’s ideas and experiences equally influence the design and implementation of the innovations that shape our future societies.

Echoing the priority theme of the sixty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women , in 2019 we look to industry leaders, game-changing start-ups, social entrepreneurs, gender equality activists, and women innovators to examine the ways in which innovation can remove barriers and accelerate progress for gender equality, encourage investment in gender-responsive social systems, and build services and infrastructure that meet the needs of women and girls.

On 8 March 2019, join us as we celebrate a future in which innovation and technology creates unprecedented opportunities for women and girls to play an active role in building more inclusive systems, efficient services and sustainable infrastructure to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs and gender equality.

Gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals

International Women’s Day is also an opportunity to consider how to accelerate the building momentum for the effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially goal number 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; and number 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.

Think Equal - Build Smart: Innovate for Change

Some key targets of the 2030 Agenda

  • By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes.
  • By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education.
  • End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
  • Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.
  • Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

Story shared by parent of a teenage mother called Namatovu Zam, who gave birth to twins at 16 years. after almost survived death. MY Mothers’s day goes to her and many young women at the center.

In the start of 2017, her father died, the elder sisters suggested that everyone was to start living on their own. Being the last born at the age of 18, she decided to come to kampala to look for some work to do. She later got a job as a maid; she only managed to work for few months since she was always suffering from a severe headache and brutality from her obsesses. She later went back to village where she met a young man aged 23 who promised to take good care of her. She came to town with a young man and they stayed together for one week. She later went to look for another job. After some few weeks she realized that, she had missed her periods now she is pregnant, she went back to a young man’s place to tell her about her news. The young man denied the pregnancy and told her never to come back looking for him.

She had no jobs, and lost focus and hope, she started living on streets and in churches. When the pregnancy was around six months, she went to the village. Her elder sisters got mad about the pregnancy and they quickly advised her to abort. But fortunately, she resisted, not to kill the innocent baby, and she did not abort and was chased away angrily from home, she felt that everything was over, no hope, no money, no any assistance, she cried loud, thinking what she can do but all remained in vain, she was motivated to remain strong, that now it is the right time to stand firm no matter what.

She was given 5000 UGX by a Good Samaritan, she went back to Kampala but no where to stay, she started living in churches like Christian life church of pastor Jackson Ssenyonga in Bwaise, and Miracle center cathedral of Pastor Robert Kayanja  Lubaga where she was receiving some help from the volunteers.

At Christian life church, it is where, she met a girl by names of Nakulima Winnie they interacted for minutes, she was good and told her that there is an organization called Pelletier teenage mothers foundation where she can get assistance, she directed her, she went to PTMOF, but God is good, her prayers were answered, she found good humanitarian people there, they counseled her, and gave her hope, they even allowed to assist her, since she was homeless, they gave her where to stay, she stayed there one day, but they connected her to her sister in Kajjansi, but, she remained there three days only, because the elder sisters directed her sister where she was living to chase her away, failure to do so, they are to come and chase her out, she escaped quietly, and went back to Christian life church, but still, the order came from pastor Sserwadda to chase all pregnant girls, those with children and elders.

Life became hard again, at Pelletier teenage mothers foundation there was no space where she can live with her pregnancy, her sisters chased her from all corners where she can get help, so, the matter worsens, she went back to streets, sleeping on veranders, and tree shades for couple of weeks, she met a woman called Musawo Jane in Bwaise, she gave her tea and what to eat, she told a bodaboda rider to take her to Lubaga miracle center cathedral of Pastor Robert Kayanja, she spent their 2 weeks since they was still chased because it is prohibited to deliver from church, she went again back on streets by then the pregnancy was around seven months.

She walked with her baby inside right from Lubaga heading where she don’t know, some times the sunshine and heavy rain barely hit her, she stopped on the church called worship house of pastor Wilson Bugembe, she slept there one day, and heading to a health center called Kawempe Mulago where she stayed 5 days getting medicine and other post natal care for free, because she explained her story to doctor, he was touched and decided to assist her for free.

From there, she continued her Journey, walking while sleeping on peoples retail shops, petrol stations, verandas, and streets, she went back to Christian life church, by then she was 8 moths pregnant, from there, she prayed to Lord for couple of weeks cried to him, to save me from this situation, to deliver well. I went to Kawempe Mulago for check up and to get medicine, that’s where she gave birth to her two little ones Twins (boys)

“I don’t know what to say, but it’s a blessing from God, the holly spirit that Made those mothers and fathers from Pelletier teenage mothers foundation, madam Alice, Mr. Lukonge Achilees and Madam Solome Nanvule, when you have bee rejected by your relatives, chased everywhere, but you found hope from people you don’t know!!! May lord grant them all the blessings?” I am Learning (hairdressing) at (PTMOF) i hope to start my own business after completing the course.

Preparing and delivering Twins: The last days story of a single mother who lived on street, and give birth to Miracle and Favour.

And the moment that I have been anticipating for days, months, and years even has come. I took a deep breath and pushed down my baby with own power while I followed my body. Before my breath finished, my first baby came sliding out of me and the next follows. While I exhaled, I quietly said that they are born. They put my twin into my arms even before cutting their umbilical cord. They were warm, wet, soft, and smelled sweet. They screamed joyfully, and I thanked them repeatedly for giving me this wonderful experience. The doctors and nurses were looking on at that remarkable moment when our twin joined my family, confused, happy, and teary eyed. They stared at us with questioning expressions because they had just watched a birth so vastly different from the fearful births they had witnessed in the past—fearfulness that resulted from the negative birth stories that have been handed down to women for years especially women who passed through difficult life and have eroded their confidence and power regarding birth. How had it come to this?

Forty weeks and 5 days into the pregnancy, my Twins and I were still together. In life I don’t wished anyone to live in, I felt their movements less now—they were smaller than they had been but stronger. My friends on streets, at least 20 people checking on me every day where I used to sleep on cement to ask when I will give birth and scaring me by saying things like, ―What if something’s wrong with the baby?‖ no one among my brothers and sisters wanted to know about my life, My mother and Father up in the sky/heaven may be were watching and praying for me, and waiting impatiently for their first grandson, constantly saying, ―It’s high time the baby made an appearance.‖ Because they used to say that when they are still alive, they loved me so much. I became so fed up, especially in the last 10 days of my pregnancy. I suggested to the close friends-to-be that they not tell anyone the approximate birth date to avoid similar experiences.

I made myself believe that my Twins would be born in the night, having heard somewhere that animals that sleep in the daytime birth in the night and vice versa (which seemed to show that privacy and protection are important in nature.) In the weeks and days leading up to my due date, I tried my best to go to sleep in people’s houses, or people’s veranders early every day so as not to be tired when I finally went into labor. I would fall asleep rubbing my abdomen and thinking, ―Maybe I’ll smell you tonight babies.‖ But when morning came, I would wake to find my babies was still saying, ―Good morning, mommy!‖ from my womb. It was another such morning when I went to the toilet of one of good Samaritan and saw the first thrilling sign that the birth was finally going to happen. I had to go to nearby church to pray, There came a lady dressed well, totally in the same age group, she was from Pelletier teenage mothers foundation (PTMOF) it was the first sign that Miracle exists, and God is always there for the poor, she told me about the services they are offering, at first I was in fear of strangers but finally I trusted her since we met at the church.

She leads me to where she stay, I found older woman at home, to find that she was the mother of that lady I met, but I told them everything I passed through, they gave me an emergence shelter, when the contractions became more frequent. I put my hand on my abdomen and could feel uterine contractions, but they were not bothering me at all. We had a nice family breakfast, took a walk with those around for 2 hours, and went to the market, and then I cleaned my house in a squatting position. (Knowing that squatting is one of the most appropriate positions during labor because it enables the baby to move more easily in the birth canal [ Balaskas, 1992 ], I was seeking any excuse to squat.) That evening, I was feeling quite energetic and dynamic. At around 9:00 p.m., while we were all watching TV together as family, I fell asleep on the living room sofa. At 11 p.m., The mother of Winnie woke me up to tell me to go to my bed, but by then I felt wide awake, so she went to bed herself—a relief to me because I was sure she would treat me like an invalid if she thought the birth was imminent.

My new sisters at the centre was not sleepy either, so we decided to watch a documentary about dolphins giving birth. I told them that my babies would come to the world that day, but one called Mariam just laughed and said, ―The dolphin might be giving birth today, but you won’t.‖ Then they all decided to go to bed. I was having contractions, but I would not have even noticed them had I not put my hand on my abdomen. I was also feeling some pressure on my perineum, but the contractions I had felt during the pregnancy had disturbed me more. I decided to take a shower, and the warm water combined with the smell of the shampoo made me feel great. All was available, I never used them in my life, and the good life I got at the last days of my pregnancy I never thought of living in such life after the death of my mother and father at an early age. I blow dried my hair, put on some nail polish, prepared the clothes I would wear to go to the hospital, and ate an apple. Then, I finally went to bed. At around 2:00 a.m., I put my hand on my abdomen and tried to time my contractions, which by now were frequent and long lasting. Because of the stories of labor pains that I still had in my mind, however, I didn’t think they could be birth contractions.

While I was relaxing my whole body, I suddenly felt nauseous and vomited. The Mother of Winnie called Mrs Alice and Winnie both woke up, and Winnie said to me, ―It cannot be time for birth, but perhaps something is wrong. We should go to the hospital.‖ We grabbed the already-packed bags, got in the car, and turned on an enjoyable praise song to listen to during the drive. On the way, I continued with my breathing and relaxation exercises. I could sense an amazing cocktail of hormones flowing through my body. I had never felt so happy, energetic, and motivated. These were the last moments of my babies inside me, and we were enjoying it! Everybody was calm as we headed to the delivery room.

It was 2:50 a.m. The team on night duty was sitting around eating a pizza. I told them, ―Don’t trouble yourselves, it’s not time for the birth. We just came in for a checkup.‖ They loved the way I was jocking around! All laughed loud! The on-duty doctor put a hand on my abdomen and said, ―The contractions are severe. I think I should examine you.‖ I lay on the examination couch and he made a vaginal examination. The doctor told me that they are Twins! I said what!? At that point, I collected myself and asked the personnel to make the head of the bed as upright as possible. Suddenly, just as I was about to stand up, I felt severe pressure on my perineum. At the same time, I felt like I would explode with excitement. Odent (2003) notes that with births where there is no intervention or fear, a sudden adrenaline rush can occur just before the fetal ejection reflex.

This is exactly what happened in my birth. Overcome by a sensation like the thrill you get at the moment you parachute off a mountainside and shout out with joy at the top of your voice, I screamed uncontrollably. Realizing that the doctor, Mrs Alice, and the nurse were all staring at me in amazement, I told them, ―Everything’s okay, don’t worry. There is no pain, just a sudden adrenaline rush.‖ Odent (2003) notes that, with births where there is no intervention or fear, a sudden adrenaline rush can occur just before the fetal ejection reflex. This is what happened in my birth. I settled myself back onto the bed and felt the urge to push. My body position was as straight as possible. I took a deep breath and pushed my first baby downward with all my power. ―Push slowly,‖ my birth doctor warned me. ―The baby’s coming too fast. After few minutes, I pushed the second baby! Doctor told me! Again ―Push slowly,‖ I’ll have to do an episiotomy.‖ But I just could not slow myself down, and the episiotomy was done at the last moment. In my terms, it was a natural birth throughout, without any intervention other than the episiotomy. Is it still possible, therefore, to call this a natural birth? I think it is. It was completely natural because the intervention happened only when necessary.

Two or 3 weeks later, when I had the chance to make some time for myself and think about the birth, I wondered whether the episiotomy might have been unnecessary. After all, I had given myself regular perineal massages every day after the 30th week of my pregnancy specifically to avoid perineal laceration or an episiotomy, just as suggested by evidence-based practice (Berghella, Baxter, & Chauhan, 2008). I thought my perineum was ready for the birth. Why did they have to do an episiotomy? I had been in a squatting position, which is the most appropriate position for birth, and had pushed the babies by grasping and pulling my knees up toward me. The babies came out of my vagina very quickly both because I pushed my babies uncontrollably fast, and because of the fetal ejection reflex combined with an adrenaline rush. Perhaps if I had been in the ―polar bear‖ position Mongan (2005) suggested for quick delivery, I would have been able to give birth without the need for an episiotomy.

I was in a state of shock after the delivery, unable to believe my Twins was now in my arms. It was 3:15 a.m. Just 25 minutes had passed since I had gone into the delivery room. The birth was not the way some people had described it. It was totally painless, joyful, exciting, and quick. My Twins was so good, Looking healthy. At first, They greeted the world with loud screams, presumably because of the effects of the hormone cocktail, but they calmed down after they was cradled in my arms and heard me say, ―Welcome, my Twins. I have been waiting for you for so long. I love you so much, do not cry.‖ They began looking around curiously with their eyes wide open. One named Wasswa Miracle and the other named Kato Favour. I am Zam Namatovu


MRU Psychology/Behavioural

Operant Conditioning

A look at operant conditioning as a process of learning, and how Skinner’s box experiments demonstrated the effect of reinforcements on behavior.

Operant Conditioning

Operant conditioning is a theory of learning in behavioral psychology which emphasises the role of reinforcement in conditioning. It emphasises the effect that rewards and punishments for specific behaviors can have on a person’s future actions. The theory was developed by the American psychologist B. F. Skinner following experiments beginning in the 1930s, which involved the use of an operant conditioning chamber. Operant and classical conditioning remain important theories in our understanding of how humans and other animals learn new forms of behavior. 

Early Developments in Conditioning: Pavlov’s Dogs

Early research into conditioning was conducted by the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov. During studies of digestion in dogs, he noticed that his subjects would salivate when a researcher fed them. After the researcher had opened a door, entered the room and fed the dogs a few times, the animals began to associate the door opening with food, and would begin to salivate whenever they heard the door. Through associative learning, the dogs had linked an neutral stimulus (the door opening) with an unconditioned stimulus (food). Repeated classical conditioning had led to the door becoming a conditioned stimulus, which prompted the dogs to salivate.


Pavlov conducted additional research, known as the ‘Pavlov’s dog’ experiments, in which he further investigating classical conditioning as a form of learning.

Exposing dogs to a variety of stimuli before feeding them, he discovered that the animals could be conditioned to salivate in response to different types of event, such as the ringing of a buzzer or the sounding of a metronome

Thorndike’s Law of Effect

In 1905, American psychologist Edward Thorndike proposed a ‘law of effect’, which formed the basis of our modern understanding of operant conditioning. Thorndike’s research focussed on learning processes and he conducted experiments to discover how cats learn new forms of behavior.

He would place a cat in a puzzle box, where the animal would be remain until they learnt to press a lever. Initially, they would be trapped in the box for a long period of time, roaming it before inadvertently pressing the lever, and a door opened for the cat to escape. However, once the cats learnt to associate operating the lever with a positive outcome – being able to leave the box – they wasted less and less time before using it to escape. Through instrumental learning, the cats had learnt to associate pressing the lever with the reward of freedom

Thorndike drew on these findings when developing his law of effect. He argued that the effect of one’s action – whether it is rewarded or punished – influences whether an individual will be likely to repeat such behavior in the future.

B. F. Skinner

Burrhus Frederic Skinner (1904-1990) was an influential American psychologist, writer and inventor. Born in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, he studied at Hamilton College in New York, where he graduated in 1926 with plans to pursue a career in writing. However, a lack of success as an author, and his discovery of the theories of Ivan Pavlov, prompted an interest in psychology. He enrolled at Harvard University, where he completed his masters and in 1931, a doctorate. Skinner remained in a teaching position at Harvard whilst continuing his research. In 1938, he outlined a theory of learning involving operant conditioning.

Aside from his work in psychology, Skinner was also a keen inventor. During the Second World War, he took part in Project Pigeon, a failed attempt to create a missile controlled by pigeons. Amongst his more successful inventions was the air crib, a temperature-controlled environment for babies, which he used with one of his own children.

Skinner retired from Harvard University in 1974. He died from leukemia in 1990.

Operant Conditioning Chamber

When B. F. Skinner began studying psychology, it was the theories and ideas of the behaviorist school dominated the discipline. Many psychologists agreed with the proposals made by John B. Watson (1878-1958). In 1913, he published “Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It”, an article now cited as the “behaviorist manifesto”. Watson argued that the human mind could be most effectively understood by looking at a person’s observable behavior, rather than his or her cognitive processes, which he believed were more difficult to observe and quantify.

As a fellow behaviorist, Skinner believed that conditioning played a significant role in the learning process. He studied Thorndike’s law of effectusing a piece of experimental apparatus now known as an operant conditioning chamber, or ‘Skinner box’. An animal is placed in a box, which contains a reward mechanism such as a hopper to dispense food pellets. A researcher can observe the animal whilst administering rewards. Punishments can also be imposed using the electrified base of the box to deliver electric shocks. A light and a speaker built into the side of the chamber allow for a signal to be communicated to the subject, whilst the animals are given with a lever to press.

In 1938, Skinner published The Behavior of Organisms, in which he described the functions of operant conditioning. Whilst experimenting with an operant conditioning chamber, he had found that animals behaving in a particular manner would either repeat or avoid that behavior depending on whether they were subsequently rewarded or punished.

In one experiment, )observed the behavior of pigeons in the box. The birds were free to move around the box, turning full circle and moving their heads. Meanwhile, the hopper fed the subjects at regular timed intervals, regardless of the their behavior. Skinner found that when a bird’s particular movement was coincidentally but repeatedly followed by food, the pigeons would interpret the behavior as having caused the hopper to offer a reward. A variety of superstitious behaviors, including twists and full-circle turns, were adopted by the birds in the expectation that food would follow. 

Skinner explained the pigeons’ behavior in terms of operant conditioning. The food served as a positive reward for the birds’ behavior, leading them to repeat a particular movement more often when they found that it was subsequently rewarded.

The reinforcements and punishments which influence behavior take a number of forms. A positive reward or punishment describes the imposition of a stimuli in a situation. Depending on the stimuli, this may either promote or discourage an individual’s behavior. Conversely, negative rewards and punishments involve the removal of a particular benefit or punishment. Again, these reinforcements may influence a person’s future actions.

Positive Reinforcement

positive reinforcement is the provision of a reward or other benefit following a desirable action. This encourages a person or animal to repeat a particular behavior in future, in the hope that the reinforcement will be repeated.

Examples of positive reinforcements include:

  • A dentist gives a boy a sticker after he remains calm throughout a dental check-up. The child will be encouraged to behave well at the dentist’s practice in future, expecting that he will receive more stickers. 
  • Rewarding a dog with a treat after it has successfully completed a training maneuver when rehearsing for a dog show.
  • In some food courts, electronically-operated waste bins contain a sensor and a speaker. When the bin senses a person emptying waste into the receptacle, the speaker emits a recorded voice which thanks the user for using the bin, instead of choosing to leave their litter. This appreciation may lead the user to seek gratification again by using the waste bin in the future.

Negative Reinforcement

Negative reinforcements are the removal of an undesirable or uncomfortable stimuli from a situation. Such reinforcements may involve the ceasing of punishment when a person’s behavior conform to a demand. In order to avoid future punishment, an individual may change his or her behavior. For example:

  • A girl who regularly fights with her sister is told by her parents that she is to be grounded on the days that she misbehaves. On days when the girl changes her behavior, the punishment is lifted, and she learns act more amicable towards her sister.
  • A person climbing into a hot bath is burnt and quickly climbs out of the water. Subsequently, they learn to wait for the bath to cool before entering the water in order to avoid being burnt again.
  • A man attends a music concert. The band is uncomfortably loud and he leaves the concert hall to find a quieter environment. In future, he declines invitations to watch bands in order to avoid the loud music, which operated as a negative reinforcement.

Positive Punishment

positive punishment is a stimuli imposed on a person when they behave in a particular way. Over time, the person learns to avoid the positive punishment by altering their behavior.

Examples of positive punishment:

  • A child is sent to his room when he is impolite to his mother. The boy, who wants to play with his toys downstairs, begins to be more polite to his parents. 
  • An internet service provider limits users’ usage to a set amount of data, after which the user’s internet speed is severely reduced for the remainder of the month. Users learn to avoid slow download speeds by using less of their data allowance.
  • A convict flouts the rules of a prison. He is placed in solitary confinement as a form of positive punishment, and eventually chooses to follow the rules to avoid further isolation. 

Negative Punishment

Negative punishment is the removal of a benefit or privilege in response to undesirable behavior. A person wants to retain the benefits that they previously enjoyed, and avoids behavior which may lead to their rights being revoked.

Negative punishment examples include:

  • A child is prevented from attending a football game after failing to clean their room. The threat of further punishment leads them to complete their assigned chores.
  • A dog owner shouts at their pet after it runs away in a park. The dog, wanting to avoid being shouted at, learns to stay close to its owner whilst in the park.
  • A man strains his eyes after reading without his glasses. Although he dislikes wearing spectacles, he wears them to avoid straining his eyes.

As with its classical counterpart, operant conditioning depends on the repetition of a stimulus in order to maintain the association between behavior and a reinforcement. Initial conditioning is repeated in order to create an association, and must then be periodically repeated so that the link between the two is not lost. If, after initial conditioning, the reinforcement is removed (e.g. a treat is no longer given when a dog behaves), the subject will eventually ‘unlearn’ the association. Extinction can result in the person or animal resuming their original behavior.

Schedules of Reinforcement

Skinner was curious to find out what variables affected the effectiveness of operant conditioning. He conducted research into the effect of timing on conditioning with Charles B. Ferster, a fellow behavioral psychologist who worked at the Yerkes Laboratories of Primate Biology in Florida. 1found that schedules of reinforcement – the rate at which a reinforcement is repeated – can greatly influence operant conditioning.

A number of types of schedules of reinforcement have been proposed by Skinner, Ferster and others, including:

Continuous Reinforcement Schedules (CRF)

A reward or punishment is provided every time an individual exhibits a particular mode of behavior. Through continuous reinforcement, the subject learns that the result of their actions will always be the same. However, the dependability of continuous reinforcement can lead to it becoming too predictable. A subject may learn that a reward will always be provided for a type of behavior, and only carry out the desired action when they need the reward. For instance, a rat may learn that pushing a lever will always lead to food being provided. Given the security that this schedule of reinforcement provides, the rat may decide to save energy by only pressing the lever when it is sufficiently hungry.

Partial Reinforcement Schedules (PR)

Instead of responding every time a person behaves in a particular way, partial reinforcementinvolves rewarding behavior only on some occasions. A subject must then work harder to receive a reinforcement and may take longer to learn using this type of operant conditioning.

Partial reinforcement can be used following a period of initial continuous reinforcement to prolong the effects of operant conditioning. For example, an animal trainer might give a treat to a dog every time it sits on command. Once the animal has learnt that a reward provided for obeying the trainer, partial reinforcement may be used. The dog may receive a treat only every 5 times it obeys a command, but the conditioned behavior continues to be reinforced and extinction is avoided.

Partial reinforcement modifies the ratio between the conditioned response and reinforcement, or the intervalbetween reinforcements:

  • Fixed-interval schedules
    A reinforcement is only given at a set interval. For instance, an employer rewards company employees with an annual bonus to reward their work. The interval of one year is fixed, and the employees anticipate a reinforcement annually.
  • Variable-interval schedules
  • Reinforcements are provided at intervals which the subject is unaware of. Instead of paying an annual bonus, an employer might pay smaller bonuses, sometimes monthly, other times every 2, 3 or 4 months. The employee is unaware when the reinforcement will be given and is encouraged to work harder with the knowledge that bonuses could be decided at any time.
  • Fixed-ratio schedules
    Fixed-ratio schedules require a subject to provide the conditioned response a predetermined number of times before a reinforcement is given. An example of a fixed-ratio schedule is an amusement arcade game which rewards the player with a toy on every 10th attempt. 
  • Variable-ratio schedules
    A variable-ratio schedule reinforces behavior depending on the number of responses made, but this ratio changes constantly. The amusement game described above might instead reward the 2nd, 6th, 20th and 21st attempts. 

Differences from Classical Conditioning

Although classical and operant conditioning share similarities in the way that they influence behavior and assist in the learning process, there are important differences between the two types of conditioning.

During classical conditioning, a person learns by observation, associating two stimuli with each other. A neutral stimuli is presented in conjunction with another, unconditioned, stimulus. Through repetition, the person learns to associate the first seemingly unrelated stimuli with the second.

In contrast, operant conditioning involves learning through the consequences of one’s actions. It is the reinforcement that follows behavior which informs a person’s future actions. A person behaves in a particular manner and is subsequently rewarded or punished. They eventually learn to associate their original behavior with the reinforcement, and either increase, maintain or avoid their behavior in future in order to achieve the most desirable outcome.


Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning played a key role in helping psychologists to understand how behavior is learnt. It explains why reinforcements can be used so effectively in the learning process, and how schedules of reinforcement can affect the outcome of conditioning. Skinner’s research also addressed the use of behavioral shaping, whereby successive approximations of an expected response are also reinforced, leading a subject gradually towards the desired type of behavior.

An advantage of operant conditioning is its ability to explain learning in real-life situations. From an early age, parents nurture their children’s behavior using rewards. Praise following an achievement (e.g. crawling or taking a first step) reinforce such behavior. When a child misbehaves, punishments in the form of verbal discouragement or the removal of privileges are used to dissuade them from repeating their actions.

Operant conditioning can also be observed in its applications across a range of learning environments. Teachers reward students’ achievements with high grades, words of encouragement and star-shaped stickers on homework – all examples of positive reinforcement. Positive punishments – detention, exclusion or parents grounding their children until their behavior changes – serve to further influence behavior using the principles of operant conditioning. And its uses are not limited to influencing human behavior: dog trainers use reinforcements to shape behavior in animals and to encourage obedience.

Skinner’s theory has, however, been criticised for its oversimplification of the complex nature of human behavior. Operant conditioning is based on the idea that behavior is ‘learnt’ simply through the process of reinforcement. However, it neglects individual differences and the cognitive processes that influence behavior. This has led critics to label Skinner’s ideas as deterministic: operant conditioning assumes that environmental factors beyond a person’s control are responsible for their behavior. It fails to account for people’s ability to reason and to decide their actions according to their own free will.


MRU Psychology

Mary Ainsworth Attachment Theory

Mary Ainsworth’s (1971, 1978) observational study of individual differences in attachment is described below

Strange Situation Procedure

The security of attachment in one- to two-year-olds were investigated using the strange situation paradigm, in order to determine the nature of attachment behaviors and styles of attachment.

Ainsworth developed an experimental procedure in order to observe the variety of attachment forms exhibited between mothers and infants.

The experiment is set up in a small room with one way glass so the behavior of the infant can be observed covertly. Infants were aged between 12 and 18 months. The sample comprised of 100 middle-class American families.

The procedure, known as the ‘Strange Situation,’ was conducted by observing the behavior of the infant in a series of eight episodes lasting approximately 3 minutes each:

Mary Ainworth

(1) Mother, baby, and experimenter (lasts less than one minute).

(2) Mother and baby alone.

(3) A stranger joins the mother and infant.

(4) Mother leaves baby and stranger alone.

(5) Mother returns and stranger leaves.

(6) Mother leaves; infant left completely alone.

(7) Stranger returns.

(8) Mother returns and stranger leaves.



Strange Situation classifications (i.e., attachment styles) are based primarily on four interaction behaviors directed toward the mother in the two reunion episodes (Ep. 5 & Ep. 8).

  1. Proximity and contacting seeking
  2. Contact maintaining
  3. Avoidance of proximity and contact
  4. Resistance to contact and comforting

The observer notes down the behavior displayed during 15-second intervals and scores the behavior for intensity on a scale of 1 to 7.

strange situation scoring

Other behaviors observed included:

  • Exploratory Behaviors e.g., moving around the room, playing with toys, looking around the room.
  • Search Behaviors, e.g., following mother to the door, banging on the door, orienting to the door, looking at the door, going to mother’s empty chair, looking at mother’s empty chair.
  • Affect Displays negative, e.g., crying, smiling.

Results – Attachment Styles

Ainsworth (1970) identified three main attachment styles, secure (type B), insecure avoidant (type A) and insecure ambivalent/resistant (type C). She concluded that these attachment styles were the result of early interactions with the mother.

A forth attachment style known as disorganized was later identified (Main, & Solomon, 1990).

Separation AnxietyDistressed when mother leavesIntense distress when the mother leavesNo sign of distress when the the mother leaves
Stranger AnxietyAvoidant of stranger when alone, but friendly when the mother is presentThe infant avoids the stranger – shows fear of the strangerThe infant is okay with the stranger and plays normally when the stranger is present
Reunion BehaviorPositive and happy when mother returnsThe infant approaches the mother, but resists contact, may even push her awayThe Infant shows little interest when the mother returns
OtherUses the mother as a safe base to explore their environmentThe infant cries more and explores less than the other two typesThe mother and stranger are able to comfort the infant equally well
% of infants70%15%15%

B: Secure Attachment

Securely attached children comprised the majority of the sample in Ainsworth’s (1971, 1978) studies.

Such children feel confident that the attachment figure will be available to meet their needs. They use the attachment figure as a safe base to explore the environment and seek the attachment figure in times of distress (Main, & Cassidy, 1988).

Securely attached infants are easily soothed by the attachment figure when upset. Infants develop a secure attachment when the caregiver is sensitive to their signals, and responds appropriately to their needs.

According to Bowlby (1980), an individual who has experienced a secure attachment ‘is likely to possess a representational model of attachment figures(s) as being available, responsive, and helpful‘ (Bowlby, 1980, p. 242).

A: Insecure Avoidant

Insecure avoidant children do not orientate to their attachment figure while investigating the environment.

They are very independent of the attachment figure both physically and emotionally (Behrens, Hesse, & Main, 2007).

They do not seek contact with the attachment figure when distressed. Such children are likely to have a caregiver who is insensitive and rejecting of their needs (Ainsworth, 1979). The attachment figure may withdraw from helping during difficult tasks (Stevenson-Hinde, & Verschueren, 2002) and is often unavailable during times of emotional distress.

C: Insecure Ambivalent / Resistant

The third attachment style identified by Ainsworth (1970) was insecure ambivalent (also called insecure resistant).

Here children adopt an ambivalent behavioral style towards the attachment figure. The child will commonly exhibit clingy and dependent behavior, but will be rejecting of the attachment figure when they engage in interaction.

The child fails to develop any feelings of security from the attachment figure. Accordingly, they exhibit difficulty moving away from the attachment figure to explore novel surroundings. When distressed they are difficult to soothe and are not comforted by interaction with the attachment figure. This behavior results from an inconsistent level of response to their needs from the primary caregiver.

Strange Situation Conclusion

Ainsworth (1978) suggested the ‘caregiver sensitivity hypothesis’ as an explanation for different attachment types. Ainsworth’s maternal sensitivity hypothesis argues that a child’s attachment style is dependent on the behavior their mother shows towards them.

  • ‘Sensitive’ mothers are responsive to the child’s needs and respond to their moods and feelings correctly. Sensitive mothers are more likely to have securely attached children.
  • In contrast, mothers who are less sensitive towards their child, for example, those who respond to the child’s needs incorrectly or who are impatient or ignore the child, are likely to have insecurely attached children.

For example, securely attached infant are associated with sensitive & responsive primary care. Insecure ambivalent attached infants are associated with inconsistent primary care. Sometimes the child’s needs and met, and sometimes they are ignored by the mother / father. Insecure-avoidant infants are associated with unresponsive primary care. The child comes to believe that communication of needs has no influence on the mother/father.

Ainsworth’s (1971, 1978) findings provided the first empirical evidence for Bowlby attachment theory

For example, securely attached children develop a positive working model of themselves and have mental representations of others as being helpful while viewing themselves as worthy of respect (Jacobsen, & Hoffman, 1997). Avoidant children think themselves unworthy and unacceptable, caused by a rejecting primary caregiver (Larose, & Bernier, 2001). Ambivalent children have a negative self-image and exaggerate their emotional responses as a way to gain attention (Kobak et al., 1993). 

Accordingly, insecure attachment styles are associated with an increased risk of social and emotional behavioral problems via the internal working model.

attachment styles

Theoretical Evaluation

This caregiver sensitivity theory is supported by research from, Wolff and Van Ijzendoorn (1997) who conducted a Meta-analysis (a review) of research into attachment types. They found that there is a relatively weak correlation of 0.24 between parental sensitivity and attachment type – generally more sensitive parents had securely attached children.

However, in evaluation, critics of this theory argue that the correlation between parental sensitivity and the child’s attachment type is only weak. This suggests that there are other reasons which may better explain why children develop different attachment types and that the maternal sensitivity theory places too much emphasis on the mother. Focusing just on maternal sensitivity when trying to explain why children have different attachment types is, therefore, a reductionist approach.

An alternative theory proposed by Kagan (1984) suggests that the temperament of the child is actually what leads to the different attachment types. Children with different innate (inborn) temperaments will have different attachment types.

This theory is supported by research from Fox (1989) who found that babies with an ‘Easy’ temperament (those who eat and sleep regularly, and accept new experiences) are likely to develop secure attachments. Babies with a ‘slow to warm up’ temperament (those who took a while to get used to new experiences) are likely to have insecure-avoidant attachments. Babies with a ‘Difficult’ temperament (those who eat and sleep irregularly and who reject new experiences) are likely to have insecure-ambivalent attachments.

In conclusion, the most complete explanation of why children develop different attachment types would be an interactionist theory. This would argue that a child’s attachment type is a result of a combination of factors – both the child’s innate temperament and their parent’s sensitivity towards their needs.

Belsky and Rovine (1987) propose an interesting interactionist theory to explain the different attachment types. They argue that the child’s attachment type is a result of both the child’s innate temperament and also how the parent responds to them (i.e., the parents’ sensitivity level).

Additionally, the child’s innate temperament may, in fact, influence the way their parent responds to them (i.e, the infants’ temperament influences the parental sensitivity shown to them). To develop a secure attachment, a ‘difficult’ child would need a caregiver who is sensitive and patient for a secure attachment to develop.

Methodological Evaluation

The strange situation classification has been found to have good reliability.  This means that it achieves consistent results.  For example, a study conducted in Germany found 78% of the children were classified in the same way at ages 1 and 6 years (Wartner et al., 1994).

Although, as Melhuish (1993) suggests, the Strange Situation is the most widely used method for assessing infant attachment to a caregiver, Lamb et al. (1985) have criticized it for being highly artificial and therefore lacking ecological validity. The child is placed in a strange and artificial environment, and the procedure of the mother and stranger entering and leaving the room follows a predetermined script.

Mary Ainsworth concluded that the strange situation could be used to identify the child’s type of attachment has been criticized on the grounds that it identifies only the type of attachment to the mother. The child may have a different type of attachment to the father or grandmother, for example (Lamb, 1977). This means that it lacks validity, as it does not measure a general attachment style, but instead an attachment style specific to the mother.

In addition, some research has shown that the same child may show different attachment behaviors on different occasions. Children’s attachments may change, perhaps because of changes in the child’s circumstances, so a securely attached child may appear insecurely attached if the mother becomes ill or the family circumstances change.

The strange situation has also been criticized on ethical grounds. Because the child is put under stress (separation and stranger anxiety), the study has broken the ethical guidelines protection of participants.

However, in its defense, the separation episodes were curtailed prematurely if the child became too stressed. Also, according to Marrone (1998), although the Strange Situation has been criticized for being stressful, it is simulating everyday experiences, as mothers do leave their babies for brief periods of time in different settings and often with unfamiliar people such as babysitters.

Finally, the study’s sample is biased – comprising 100 middle-class American families. Therefore, it is difficult to generalize the findings outside of America and to working-class families.


Ainsworth, M. D. (1964). Patterns of attachment behavior shown by the infant in interaction with his mother. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly of Behavior and Development,51-58.

Ainsworth, M. D. S. (1967). Infancy in Uganda: Infant care and the growth of love.

Ainsworth, M. D. S., & Bell, S. M. (1970). Attachment, exploration, and separation: Illustrated by the behavior of one-year-olds in a strange situation. Child Development, 41, 49-67.

Ainsworth, M. D. S., Bell, S. M., & Stayton, D. J. (1971) Individual differences in strange- situation behavior of one-year-olds. In H. R. Schaffer (Ed.) The origins of human social relations. London and New York: Academic Press. Pp. 17-58.

Ainsworth, M. D. S., Blehar, M. C., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978). Patterns of attachment: A psychological study of the strange situation. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Ainsworth, M. D. S., & Wittig, B. A. (1969). Attachment and exploratory behavior of one-year-olds in a strange situation. In B. M. Foss(Ed. ), Determinants of infant behavior (Vol. 4,pp. 111-136). London: Methuen.

Behrens, K. Y., Hesse, E., & Main, M. (2007). Mothers’ attachment status as determined by the Adult Attachment Interview predicts their 6-year-olds’ reunion responses: A study conducted in Japan. Developmental Psychology, 43(6), 1553.

Belsky, J., & Rovine, M. (1987). Temperament and attachment security in the strange situation: An empirical rapprochement. Child development, 787-795.

Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment. Attachment and loss: Vol. 1. Loss. New York: Basic Books.

Bowlby, J. (1980). Loss: Sadness & depression. Attachment and loss (vol. 3); (International psycho-analytical library no.109). London: Hogarth Press.

Fox, N. A. (1989). Infant temperament and security of attachment: a new look. International Society for Behavioral Development, J yviiskylii, Finland.

Jacobsen, T., & Hoffman, V. (1997). Children’s attachment representations: Longitudinal relations to school behavior and academic competency in middle childhood and adolescence. Developmental Psychology, 33, 703-710.

Kagan, J., Reznick, J. S., Clarke, C., Snidman, N., & Garcia-Coll, C. (1984). Behavioral inhibition to the unfamiliar. Child development, 2212-2225.

Kobak, R. R., Cole, H. E., Ferenz-Gillies, R., Flemming, W. S., & Gamble, W. (1993). Attachment and emotional regulation during mother-teen problem-solving. A control theory analysis. Child Development, 64, 231-245.

Lamb, M. E. (1977). The development of mother-infant and father-infant attachments in the second year of life. Developmental Psychology, 13, 637-48.

Larose, S., & Bernier, A. (2001). Social support processes: Mediators of attachment state of mind and adjustment in later late adolescence. Attachment and Human Development, 3, 96-120.

Main, M., & Solomon, J. (1990). Procedures for identifying infants as disorganized/disoriented during the Ainsworth Strange Situation. In M.T. Greenberg, D. Cicchetti & E.M. Cummings (Eds.), Attachment in the Preschool Years (pp. 121–160). Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

Marrone, M. (1998). Attachment and interaction. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Melhuish, E. C. (1993). A measure of love? An overview of the assessment of attachment. ACPP Review & Newsletter, 15, 269-275.

Schaffer, H. R., & Emerson, P. E. (1964) The development of social attachments in infancy. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 29(3), serial number 94.

Stevenson-Hinde, J., & Verschueren, K. (2002). Attachment in childhood. status: published.

Thompson, R. A., Gardner, W., & Charnov, E. L. (1985). Infant-mother attachment: The origins and developmental significance of individual differences in Strange Situation behavior. LEA.

Wartner, U. G., Grossman, K., Fremmer-Bombik, I., & Guess, G. L. (1994). Attachment patterns in south Germany. Child Development, 65, 1014-27.

Wolff, M. S., & Ijzendoorn, M. H. (1997).

MRU Psychology

Decision Making: Definition, Factors, Limitations, Ethics of Decision Making

Decision making can refer to either a specific act or a general process.

A decision is the conclusion of a process by which one decision is chosen among available alternative courses of action for the purpose of attaining a goal(s). Decision making is defined as the selection of a course of action from among alternatives.

strategies in decision making

According to Stoner, Freeman & Gilbert, “Decision making is the process of identifying to deal with a specific problem or take advantage of an opportunity.”

R. Terry defines decision making as the “Selection of one behavior alternative from two or more possible alternatives”.

According to Weihrich & Koontz, “All management work is accomplished by decision making”.

According to Trewartha and Newport, “Decision making involves the selection of a course of action from among two or more possible alternatives in order to arrive at a solution for a given problem”.

So, decision making means “to cut off” or in practical terms, to come to a conclusion of something. It is a course of action, which is consciously chosen for achieving the desired result.

In terms of managerial decision-making, it is an act of choice, wherein a manager selects a particular course of action from the available alternatives in a given situation. It is done to achieve a specific objective or to solve a specific problem.

How are Decisions Actually Made?

decision making process

For novice decision makers with little experience, decision makers faced with simple problems that have few alternative courses of action, or when the cost of searching out and evaluating alternatives is low, the rational model provides a fairly accurate description of the decision process.

But in reality, people do not follow the rational decision-making process. As one expert in decision making said, “Most significant decisions are made by judges, rather than by a defined prescriptive model” (Bazerman, ms).

The following reviews will provide a more accurate description of how most decisions in organizations are actually made:

Bounded Rationality

Rationality of individuals is limited by the information they have, the cognitive limitations of their minds, and the finite amount of time they have to make a decision. Individuals are limited by the information they have in order to make a decision in the decision-making process due to the limitation of the rationality of individuals.

Bounded rationality is the idea that when individuals make decisions, their rationality is limited by the available information.

Actually, the capacity of the human mind for formulating and solving complex problems is far too small to meet the requirements for full rationality. Actually here the decision makers construct simplified models that extract the essential features from problems without capturing all their complexity.

Herbert A. Simon proposed bounded rationality as an alternative basis for the mathematical modeling of decision-making, as used in economics, political science, and related disciplines. It complements “rationality as optimization”, which views decision ­making as a fully rational process of finding an optimal choice given the information available.

Many economic models assume that people are on average rational, and can in large enough quantities be approximated to act according to their preferences. The term is thought to have been coined by Herbert A. Simon.

In Models of Man, Simon points out that most people are only partly rational, and are irrational in the remaining part of their actions. These include:

  1. Limiting the types of utility functions
  2. Recognizing the costs of gathering and processing information
  3. The possibility of having a “vector” or “multi-valued” utility function.


The word “intuition” comes from Latin verb Intueri translated as consider or from late Middle English word intuit, “to contemplate”. Intuition is a phenomenon of the mind, describes the ability to acquire knowledge without inference or the use of reason.

Intuition has been subject of discussion from ancient philosophy to modem psychology, also a topic of interest in various religions as well as a common subject of writings and is often misunderstood and misinterpreted as instinct, truth, belief, meaning and other subjects.

Some scientists have contended that intuition is associated with innovation in scientific discovery. Experts no longer automatically assume that using intuition to make decisions is irrational or ineffective.

There is growing recognition that rational analysis has been over emphasized and that, in certain instances, relying on intuition can improve decision making. Eight conditions have been identified when people most likely to use intuitive decision-making.

These are-

  1. when a high level of uncertainty exists;
  2. when there is a little precedent to draw on;
  3. when variables are less significantly predictable;
  4. when facts are limited; ‘
  5. when facts don’t clearly point the way;
  6. when analytical data are of little use;
  7. when there are several possible alternative situations from which to choose, with good arguments for each; and
  8. when the time is limited and there is pressure to come up with the right decision.

Problem Identification

Problems that are visible tend to have a higher probability of being selected than ones that are important. There are two reasons behind it.

First, visible problems are more likely to catch a decision maker’s attention.

Second, remember we are concerned with decision making in organizations. Decision makers want to appear competent and “on the top of problems.”

This motivates them to focus attention on problems that are visible to others. If a decision maker faces a conflict between selecting a problem that is important to the organization and one that is important to the decision maker, self-interest tend to win out.

It is usually in a decision maker’s best interest to attack high-profile problems. Moreover, when the

decision maker’s performance is evaluated, the elevator is more likely to give a high rating to someone who has been aggressively attacking visible problems.

Alternative Development

At. this stage managers decide how to move from their current position towards their decided future position. More complex search behavior, which includes the development of creative alternatives, will be resorted to only when a simple search fails to discover a satisfactory alternative.

Finding alternatives are not the problem normally. Reducing the number of alternatives in order to analyze and find out the best one is the problem.

Making Choices

After evaluating all of the possible alternatives, the decision maker will make the final decision. The decision makers rely on heuristics or judgmental shortcuts in decision making. There are two common categories of heuristics- availability and representativeness.

Availability heuristics is the tendency for people to base their judgments on information that is readily available to them. Representative heuristics tend to assess the likelihood of an occurrence by trying to match it with a preexisting category.

Another bias that creeps into decisions in practice is a tendency to escalate commitment when a decision stream represents a series of decisions.

Escalation of commitment refers to staying with a decision even when there is clear evidence that it is wrong. It has obvious implications for managerial decisions.

Many organizations have suffered large losses because a manager was determined to prove his or her original decision was right. In actuality, effective managers are those who are able to differentiate between situations in which persistence will pay off and situations in which it will not.

Factors Influencing Decision Making

Decision making and problem solving are ongoing processes of evaluating situations or problems, considering alternatives, making choices, and following them up with the necessary actions.

Sometimes the decision-making process es extremely short, and mental reflection is essentially instantaneous. In other situations, the process can drag on for weeks or even months.

The entire decision-making process es dependent upon some factors which are considered by the manager at the time of decision making.

The factors are;

  • Coalition.
  • Intuition.
  • Escalation of Commitment.
  • Risk Propensity.
  • Ethics.


Coalition is one of the major elements of decision making. A coalition is an informal alliance of individuals or groups to achieve a common goal.

This common goal is often a preferred decision alternative.

For example, coalition of stockholders is frequently band together to force a board of directors to make a certain decision. The impact of coalitions can be positive or negative.

Managers must recognize when to use coalitions, how to assess whether coalitions are acting in the best interests of the organization, arid how to constrain their dysfunctional effects.


Intuition is an innate belief about something without conscious consideration. Managers sometimes decide to do something because they think it is right.

This feeling is usually not arbitrary rather it is based on years of experience and practice in making decisions in similar situations.

An inner sense may help managers make an occasional decision without going through a full-blown rational sequence of steps.

Escalation of Commitment

Another important behavioral process that influences decision making is escalation of commitment to a chosen course of action. In particular, decision makers sometimes make decisions and then become so committed to the course of action suggested by that decision.

Risk Propensity

Risk propensity is to which a decision maker is willing to gamble when making decision. Some managers are cautious about every decision they make.

They try to adhere to the rational model and are extremely conservative in what they do.

Such managers are more likely to avoid risk, and they infrequently make decisions that lead to big losses. Other managers are extremely aggressive in making decisions and are willing to take risks.


Individual ethics are personal beliefs about right or wrong behavior. A manager should make decisions that maximize the enterprise benefits, even at the cost of his/her personal benefits.

Basically these factors influence the decision making process. At the time of taking decisions managers have to consider so many things. They have to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of all the available alternatives.

When they consider the things and analyze the alternatives the above factors influence their decision making process.

Limitations of Decision Making

Though decision making is a basic and essential function for any organization, there are several limitations of it.

Some of them inherit in the process of decision making like rigidity and other arise due to shortcoming of the techniques of decision making and in the decision maker themselves.

Limitations of decision making are;

  • Time Consuming.
  • Compromised Decisions.
  • Subjective Decisions.
  • Biased Decisions.
  • Limited Analysis.
  • i Uncontrollable Environmental Factors.
  • Uncertain Future.
  • Responsibility is Diluted.

Time Consuming

A lot of precious time is consumed for decision making. Individual decisions take a lot of time because the manager has to study the merits and demerits of all the alternatives.

He also has to take advice from many people before making a decision.

All this consumes a lot of time. Group decisions are also time consuming. This is because it involves many meetings and each member has to give his opinion.

This results in delayed decisions or no decisions.

Compromised Decisions

In group decisions, there is a difference of opinion. This results in a compromised decision.

A compromised decision is made to please all the members. It may not be a correct and bold decision. The quality of this decision is inferior.

So it will not give good results on implementation.

Subjective Decisions

Individual decisions are not objective. They are subjective because the decisions depend on the knowledge, education, experience, perception, beliefs, moral, attitude, etc., of the manager. Subjective decisions are not good decisions.

Biased Decisions

Sometimes decisions are biased. That is, the manager makes decisions, which is only beneficial for himself and his group. These decisions Have a bad effect on the workers, consumers or the society.

Limited Analysis

Before making a decision the manager must analyze all the alternatives. He must study the merits and demerits of each alternative.

However, most managers do.not do this because they do not get an accurate date, and they have limited time. Inexperienced researchers and wrong sampling also result in a limited analysis.

This limited analysis results in bad decisions.

Uncontrollable Environmental Factors

Environmental factors include political, social, organizational, technological and other factors. These factors are dynamic in nature and keeps on changing every day.

The manager has no control over external factors. If these factors change in the wrong direction, his decisions will also divert and go wrong.

Uncertain Future

Decisions are made for the future. However, the future is very uncertain. Therefore, it is very difficult to take decisions for the future.

Responsibility is Diluted

In aft individual decision, only one manager is responsible for the decision. However, in a group decision, all managers are responsible for the decision.

That is, everybody’s responsibility is nobody’s responsibility. So, the responsibility is diluted.

For the above reasons sometimes decision making losses its importance, even it becomes impossible to achieve the organizational goals.  For this reasons, at the time of decision making the managers should be aware about the above limitations.

Ethics in Decision Making

Ethics are the set of moral principles that guide a person’s behavior These morals are shaped by social norms, cultural practices, and religious influences.

Ethics reflect beliefs about what is right, what is wrong, what is just, what is unjust, what is good, and what is bad in terms of human behavior. Ethical decision-making refers to the process of evaluating and choosing among alternatives in a manner consistent with ethical principles.

In making ethical decisions, it is necessary to perceive and eliminate unethical options and select the best ethical alternative.

An individual can use three different criteria in making ethical choices. The first is the utilitarian criterion, in which decisions are made solely on the basis of their outcomes or consequences.

The goal of utilitarianism is to provide the greatest good for the greatest number. The view tends to dominate business decision making. It is consistent with goals like efficiency, productivity, and high profits. Another ethical criterion is to focus on rights.

An emphasis on rights in decision making means respecting and protecting the basic rights of individuals, such as the right to privacy, to free speech, and to due process.

A third criterion is to focus on justice. This requires individuals to impose and enforce rules fairly and impartially so that there is ah equitable distribution of benefits and costs.

Each of these criteria has advantages and liabilities. A focus on utilitarianism promotes efficiency and productivity, but it can result in ignoring the rights of some individuals, particularly those with minority representation in the organization.

The use of rights as a criterion protects individuals from injury and is consistent with freedom and privacy, but it can create an overly legalistic work environment that hinders productivity and efficiency.

A focus on justice protects the interests of the underrepresented and less powerful, but it can encourage a sense of entitlement that reduces risk taking, innovation, and productivity.

Thanks from MRU achive steps that can help you to make decision

MRU Organisation communication/Social Work

Grapevine Communication: Definition, Types, Grapevine in Business Communication

Grapevine Definition: 6 Reason for Grapevine Communication

Though grapevine provides innumerable utilities to the organization, still it is not free from defects.

Therefore, managers should try to use grapevine in a way so that the organization can take the highest benefits from it.

Grapevine Definition in Business Communication

A grapevine is a form of informal communication. It arises due to the co-existence of people.

Therefore, it is found in all organizations. It does not follow any prescribed or predetermined rule and spreads any information quickly.

Through the grapevine, information flows in different directions linking almost everyone of an organization.

It is governed by social and personal relationships rather than officially recognized rules and formalities.

Grapevine operates both in internal and external informal channels. It passes opinions, suspicions, and rumors that generally do not move through formal channels.

By nature, the grapevine is a channel of horizontal communication.

However, in fact, it does not follow any set pattern. It effectively operates horizontally, vertically and even diagonally.

Grapevine is a natural outgrowth person-to-person informal communication channel through which information flows horizontally, vertically or diagonally without following any set rule or regulation among the people within or outside the organization.

5 Ways to make Grapevine Beneficiary to Organization

  1. Providing real news to the grapevine initiators.
  2. Considering grapevine as a pulse feeling tool.
  3. Contradicting the false rumor.
  4. Allowing workers in the decision-making process
  5. Developing good organizational climate.

Providing real news to the grapevine initiators

Managers should identify the people who take an active part in grapevine channels and provide them with real news so that they can transmit real facts to the grapevine channels.

This will eventually, resist transmission of rumor, untrue and distorted messages.

grape vine

Considering grapevine as a pulse feeling tool

Since grapevine is an important source of receiving feedback, managers should use it as a tool for feeling the pulse of the employees.

Contradicting the false rumor

If any false rumor occurs in the organization, management should immediately contradict and protest the rumor through formal channels.

As a result, the feeding of false rumor will decrease.

Allowing workers in the decision-making process

If the workers are allowed to take part in the decision-making process, they will be well informed of the facts.

In such a situation, there will be nothing to suspect and to create a false rumor.

Developing good organizational climate

grape vine

Good organizational climate impels the employees to develop a sense of belongingness, to maintain status, chain of command and self-respect, and to enhance satisfaction.

All these will facilitate the occurrence of grapevine in the most desired and effective way.

At last, we can say that though the organization cannot hire and fire the grapevine, it can ensure an environment where people can practice grapevine in the most desired and effective way.

4 Patterns or Types of Grapevine

The grapevine communication is usually horizontal in nature. But it can be horizontal, vertical and diagonal. Prof. Keith Davis has classified grapevine into 4 types.

  • Single Strand Chain.
  • Gossip Chain.
  • Probability Chain.
  • Cluster Chain.

6 Reasons Why Grapevine Communication Exists in Organization

Communication through the grapevine is a matter of spontaneous feelings. Some personal matters and other situations may cause these feelings.

Keith Davis said in this regard-“The grapevine is more a product of situation than it is of the person.”

Typical examples of situations prompting grapevines include layoffs, takeovers, promotions, the introduction of new technology etc.


Personal factors also encourage involving in grapevine actively.

6 reasons why grapevine communication happenings in Organization;

  1. The emotion of Employees.
  2. The existence of Informal and Peer Groups.
  3. Exceptional Information.
  4. Job Itself.
  5. People of Talkative Nature and Suspicious Attitude.
  6. Organizational Climate.

The probable causes that may activate the grapevine are discussed below:

Emotion of Employees

Some organizational issues like the insecurity of service, the uncertainty of promotion, prohibition to forming and enter into trade unions, undermining the role of subordinates by superiors etc. are likely to create emotions in the mind of workers and make them excited.

Thus for relieving the emotions and cooling down the excitement of some workers tend to activate grapevine.

Existence of Informal and Peer Groups

Grapevine is a symbol that reveals the existence of informal and peer groups in the organization.

For exchanging most personal and some organizational matters, they start channeling information through the grapevine.

Exceptional Information

Exceptional event or information like the innovation of new products, investment in the new field, providing special facilities to a particular employee etc. should be disseminated throughout the organization.

If these are not disclosed to the employees, someone may activate grapevine channel.

Job Itself

It is observed that some jobs or positions such as personal assistant, personal secretary, driver etc. by their nature can hold some important messages and play an active role in feeding information in grapevine.

Keith Davis pointed out in this regard that – “Secretaries to the managers are four times likely to be key grapevine communicators, compared with other employees”.

People of Talkative Nature and Suspicious Attitude

People of talkative nature or people holding suspicion on any matter play an active role in channeling information through the grapevine.

Organizational Climate

Now a day, many organizations permit its employees to communicate with each other frequently. This also inspires them to activate grapevine.

In conclusion, we can say that since the above-stated issues or situations are common in every organization regardless of their size and nature, the presence of grapevine is inevitable there.

Grapevine is more a product of the situation than it is to the person.

Goal Setting Theory of Motivation

Goal Setting Theory of Motivation

Goal setting theory of motivation states that specific and challenging goals along with appropriate feedback contribute to higher and better task performance.

Goals indicate and give direction to an employee about what needs to be done and how much efforts are required to be put in.

In 1960’s, Edwin Locke put forward the goal setting theory of motivation. The theory states that goal setting is essentially linked to task performance.

In goal setting theory, goals must be set based on 5 principles. To motivate, goals must have these.

5 principles of goal setting theory are;

  1. Clarity.
  2. Challenge.
  3. Commitment.
  4. Feedback.
  5. Task Complexity.

Let’s look at each of these in detail.

from MRU archive

1. Clarity

Clear goals are measurable and unambiguous.

When a goal is dear and specific, with a definite time set for completion, there is less misunderstanding about what behaviors will be rewarded.

“Reduce job turnover by 15%” or “Respond to employee suggestions within 48 hours” are examples of dear goals.

2. Challenge

One of the most important characteristics of goals is the level of challenge.

People are often motivated by achievement, and they’ll judge a goal based on the significance of the anticipated accomplishment.

Rewards typically increase for more difficult goals. If you believe you’ll be well compensated or otherwise rewarded for achieving a challenging goal that will boost your enthusiasm and your drive to get it done.

If an assignment is easy and not viewed as very important – and if you or your employee doesn’t expect the accomplishment to be significant – then the effort may not be impressive.

3. Commitment

Goals must be understood and agreed upon if they are to be effective. Employees are more likely to “buy into” a goal if they feel they were part of creating that goal.

The notion of participative management rests on this idea of involving employees in setting goals and making decisions.

4. Feedback

In addition to selecting the right type of goal, an effective goal program must also include feedback. Feedback provides opportunities to clarify expectations, adjust goal difficulty, and gain recognition.

It’s important to provide benchmark opportunities or targets, so individuals can determine for themselves how they’re doing.

5. Task complexity

The last factor in goal setting theory introduces two more requirements for success.

For goals or assignments that are highly complex, take special care to ensure that the work doesn’t become too overwhelming.

Goal setting theory has certain eventualities such as Self-efficiency and Goal commitment.


Self-efficiency is the individual’s self-confidence and faith that he has potential.

if performing the task. Higher the level of self-efficiency, greater will be the efforts pm in by the individual when they face challenging tasks.

While lower the level of self-efficiency, less will be the efforts put in by the individual or he might even quit while meeting challenges.

Goal commitment

Goal setting theory assumes that the individual is committed to the goal and will not leave the goal. The goal commitment is dependent on the following factors:

  • Goals are made open, known and broadcasted.
  • Goals should be set-self by individual rather than designated.

Individual’s set should be consistent with the organizational goals and vision.

goal setting Lukonge achilees

Features of Goal Setting Theory

  1. The willingness to work towards the attainment of the goal is the main source of job motivation. Clear, particular and difficult goals arc greater motivating factors than easy, general and vague goals.
  2. Specific and clear goals lead to greater output and better performance. Unambiguous, measurable and clear goals accompanied by a deadline for completion avoids misunderstanding.
  3. Goals should be realistic and challenging. This gives an individual a feeling of pride and triumph when he attains them, and sets him up for the attainment of next goal. The more challenging the goal the greater is the reward generally and the more is the passion for achieving it.
  4. Better and appropriate feedback of results directs the employee behavior and contributes to higher performance than an absence of feedback. Feedback is a means of gaining reputation, making clarifications and regulating goal difficulties. It helps employees to work with more involvement and leads to greater job satisfaction.
  5. Employees’ participation in goal is not always desirable. Participation in setting the goal, however, makes the goal more acceptable and leads to more involvement.

Advantages of Goal Setting Theory

  1. Goal setting theory is a technique used to raise incentives for employees to complete work quickly effectively.
  2. Goal setting leads to better performance by increasing motivation and efforts, but also through increasing and improving the feedback quality.

Limitations of Goal Setting theory

  1. At times, the organizational goals are in conflict with the managerial goals. Goal conflict has a detrimental effect on the performance if it motivates incompatible action drift.
  2. Very difficult and complex goals stimulate riskier behavior.
  3. If the employee lacks skills and competencies to perform actions essential for goal, then the goal-setting can fail and lead to an undermining of performance.
  4. There is no evidence to prove that goal-setting improves job satisfaction.
always remember this.
Prof. Edwin Locke

MRU Psychology

Equity Theory of Motivation in Management

The equity theory of motivationdescribes the relationship between the employee’s perception of how fairly is he being treated and how hard he is motivated to work. J. Stacy Adams developed equity theory.

Equity Theory states that the employees perceive what they get from a job situation (outcomes) in relation to what they put into it( inputs) and then compare their inputs- outcomes ratio with the inputs- outcomes ratios of others.

This theory show-

  • Inputs: Inputs include all the rich and diverse elements that employees believe they bring or contribute to the job – their education, experience, effort, loyalty, commitment.
  • Outcomes: Outcomes are rewards they perceive they get from their jobs and employers outcomes include- direct pay and bonuses, fringe benefit, job security, social rewards and psychological.
  • Overrewarded: if employees fell over-rewarded equity theory predicts then they will feel an imbalance in their relationship with their employee and seek to restore that balance.
  • Equity: if employees perceive equity then they will be motivated to continue to contribute act about the same level.
  • Unrewarded: unrewarded who feel they have been unrewarded and seek to reduce their feeling in equity through the same types of strategies but same of this specific action are now reverse.

This theory is based on the following two assumptions about human behavior:

  1. Individuals make contributions (inputs) for which they expect certain outcomes (rewards). Inputs include such things as the person’s past training and experience, special knowledge, personal characteristics etc. Outcomes include pay, recognition, promotion, prestige, fringe benefits etc.
  2. Individuals decide whether or not a particular exchange is satisfactory, by comparing their inputs and outcomes to those of others, in the form of a ratio. Equity exists when an individual concludes that his/her own outcome/input ratio is equal to that of other people.

The essential aspects of the equity theory may be shown by an equation;

There should be a balance of the outcomes/inputs relationship for one person in comparison with that for another person. If the person thinks that the rewards are greater than what is considered, he/she may work harder.

If the person perceives the rewards as equitable, he/she probably will continue at the same level of output.

If the person feels that he/she is inequitably rewarded, he/she may be dissatisfied, reduce the quantity or quality of output, or even leave the organization.

The three situations of equity theory are illustrated in the following figure:

Equity Theory of Motivation in Management

An employee with several years’ experience can be frustrated to find out that a recent college grad hired at a salary level higher than he or she is current earnings, causing motivation levels to drop.


Roles played by equity in motivation;

  1. Employees make comparisons between their job inputs and outcomes relative to those of others.
    • If we perceive our ratio to be equal to that of the relevant others with whom we compare ourselves, a state of equity is said to exist. We perceive our situation as fair.
    • When we see the ratio as unequal, we experience equity tension.
  2. Additionally, the referent that an employee selects adds to the complexity of equity theory. There are four referent comparisons that an employee can use:
    • Self-inside: An employee’s experiences in a different position inside his or her current organization.
    • Self-outside: An employee’s experiences in a situation or position outside his or her current organization.
    • Other-inside: Another individual or group of individuals inside the employee’s organization.
    • Other-outside: Another individual or group of individuals outside the employee’s organization.
  3. Which referent an employee chooses will be influenced by the information the employee holds about referents, as well as by the attractiveness of the referent. There are 4 moderating variables: gender, the length of tenure, level in the organization, and the amount of education or professionalism.Men and women prefer same-sex comparisons. This also suggests that if women are tolerant of lower pay, it may be due to the comparative standard they use.Employees in jobs that are not sex-segregated will make more cross-sex comparisons than those in jobs that are either male- or female-dominated.
  4. Employees with a short tenure in their current organizations tend to have little information about others.
  5. Employees with long tenure rely more heavily on coworkers for comparison.
  6. Upper-level employees tend to be more cosmopolitan and have better information about people in other organizations. Therefore, these types of employees will make more other- outside comparisons.
  7. When employees perceive an inequity, they can be predicted to make one of six choices:
    • Change their inputs.
    • Change their outcomes.
    • Distort perceptions of self.
    • Distort perceptions of others.
    • Choose a different referent.
    • Leave the field.
  8. The theory establishes the following propositions relating to inequitable pay:
    • Given payment by time, over-rewarded employees will produce more than will equitably pay employees.
    • Given payment by the quantity of production, over-rewarded employees will produce fewer, but higher quality, units that will equitably pay employees.
    • Given payment by time, under-rewarded employees will produce less or poorer quality of output.
  9. Given payment by the quantity of production, under-rewarded employees will produce a large number of low-quality units in comparison with equitably paid employees.
  10. These propositions have generally been supported with a few minor qualifications.
    • Inequities created by over-payment do not seem to have a very significant impact on behavior in most work situations.
    • Not all people are equity-sensitive.
  11. Employees also seem to look for equity in the distribution of other organizational rewards.
  12. Finally, recent research has been directed at expanding what is meant by equity or fairness.
    • Historically, equity theory focused on distributive justice or the perceived fairness of the amount and allocation of rewards among individuals.
    • Equity should also consider procedural justice, the perceived fairness of the process used to determine the distribution of rewards.
    • The evidence indicates that distributive justice has a greater influence on employee satisfaction than procedural justice,
    • Procedural justice tends to affect an employee’s organizational commitment, trust in his or her boss, and intention to quit.
    • By increasing the perception of procedural fairness, employees are likely to view their bosses and the organization as positive even if they are dissatisfied with pay, promotions, and other personal outcomes.

Equity theory demonstrates that, for most employees, motivation is influenced significantly by relative rewards as well as by absolute rewards, but some key issues are still unclear.

From MRU archive