Organizational Behavior

What is Shaping Behavior?

Shaping is a reinforcement of successive approximations to a desired instrumental response. Shaping Behavior means an attempt to mold individuals behavior by guiding their learning in graduated steps.

Have five ways of shaping individual behavior with respect to their original conduct —

  • Positive reinforcement
  • Negative reinforcement
  • Punishment
  • Extinction
  • Schedules of reinforcement

Let us try to understand all these unique methods one at a time.

Positive Reinforcement

It occurs when a desirable event or stimulus is given as an outcome of a behavior and the behavior improves. A positive rating.orce is a stimulus event for which an individual will work in order to achieve it.

For example — A company announces a rewards program in which employees earn prizes depending on the number of items they sold.

Negative Reinforcement

It occurs when an aversive event or when a stimulus is removed or prevented from happening and the rate of a behavior improves. A negative reinfOrce is a stimulus event for which an individual will work in order to terminate, to escape from, to postpone its occurrence.

For example — A company has a policy that an employee can have a Saturday off only if he completes the assigned work by Friday.


The creation of some unpleasant conditions to remove an undesirable behavior.

For example — A teenager comes home late and the parents take away the privilege of using the cell phone.


The process of eradicating any type of reinforcement causing any undesirable behavior.

For example — A child who crawls under the table to hide and seek attention, gradually stops doing so when the attention is withdrawn.