Social Learning

Published April 8, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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The interdependence of the global community is growing exponentially and as a result society is experiencing social and technological change at an accelerated rate.  This paradigm shift introduces pressure and challenges based on an individual’s ability to apply discipline and control the direction of their lives. Theorist Albert Bandura (1997) purports self-efficacy plays an influential part in sculpting the parameters of human functionality and the intellectual development that helps shapes an individual’s beliefs, occupational development patterns and the quality of their health and well-being. In his own experiences with overcoming trial and error, Bandura discovered that there is an inherent ability for people to overcome hardship and stress by responding strategically to chance events in order to help build successful lives (Bandura, 1997).

failure

Individuals can guide their destiny with an optimistic view of efficacy. Bandura’s theories suggest this can help an individual deal with failure, frustration and conflicts that easily derail people who lack a strong sense of self-worth and value. His theories further contend that values, attitudes and styles of behavior are shaped through the power of modeling and observing others (Boswell, 2007). An example of this pattern can be observed in the corporate workplace with individuals who work closely together. When I was employed at Capitol-EMI Industries, the administrative staff of corporate executives reflected a demeanor that mirrored their departmental leader. For instance, executives that were more reserved and unapproachable, employed staff that modeled a similar reserved unapproachable disposition. On the other hand, the department heads who were more open, personable and approachable, had staff members that modeled a more playful and welcoming persona. In this instance, the subordinates mirrored the behavior to reflect the energy patterns of the leader from the office to which they served.

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Bandura’s (1991) research also contends there are many stages of moral reasoning. He cites that different types emerge from continuous stage sequences that can alter uniform thinking models (Bandura, 1991).  For instance, punishment based obedience can destroy self-worth and self-efficacy rendering an individual to a belief system whose values are based on negative reinforcement. This conditioning is transferred into the workplace as an individual with a timid personality that is disinclined to voice their opinions for fear of being reprimanded and ridiculed. One strategy to help overcome these tendencies is for the individual to identify and become cognizant of the triggers that activate feelings of low self-esteem and self-worth. This helps the individual take action that can help change their views and motivate them to incorporate positive outcomes. In conclusion, even though social learning is an extension of operant conditioning, individuals cognizant of the effects of negative input, can change patterns through analysis and responding strategically.

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References:

Bandura, A. (1991). Social cognitive theory of moral thought and action. Handbook of moral behavior and development, 1, pp. 45-103. Hillsdale, NJ, USA: Standford University. Retrieved March 24, 2013, from http://exordio.qfb.umich.mx/archivos%20pdf%20de%20trabajo%20umsnh/aphilosofia/2007/NEUROPSICOLOGIA/BanSCTMoral.pdf

Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy in changing societies. Cambridge, UK : Cambridge University Press.

Boswell, R. (2007, December 6). Belief that people learn by watching earns psychologist top award in field. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: ProQuest. Retrieved March 25, 2013, from http://search.proquest.com.proxy-library.ashford.edu/docview/241121957/fulltext/13D047E8E8B2A4592FA/1?accountid=32521

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