Discussion Questions for Week 6

Ropes Chapters 17-21
Chapter 17
Describe Stanley’s reaction to being “put on the list,” and why he reacts as he does.
In cultural terms, how does his reaction reinforce Ben’s power?
Have you known any supervisors who have used contrived rewards and punishments to bolster their positions?
What would your reaction have been to both being denied the right to use the door at first and then being granted the right later on?
Chapter 18
How did Ben Franklyn use the principle of negative reinforcement to achieve his objective?
Why did negative reinforcement work better than punishment or positive reinforcement in this situation?
Can you think of similar examples from your own experience?Was the supervisor as clever as Franklyn in arranging to deflect personal criticism?Was he/she successful?
Chapter 19
In terms of principles of reinforcement, what was Kerry’s error?
What would you have done in [Kerry’s] situation?
Is the influence of rewards on behavior different from the influence of punishment on behavior?If so how?
Chapter 20
Why measure performance in the first place?
What is the downside to doing so?
Do all organizations have a method to measure performance?Why or why not?
Chapter 21
What is the meaning of Faust’s statement “that running The Agency is quite unlike running a business?One cannot grow unless one overspends.”
How can this nonsense be avoided?Is it inevitable that this stuff will go on in public agencies?
Have you seen examples of this type behavior in the past?Where?
The governor of Montana has recently announced that state agencies which have not spent all their money for the current fiscal year may use it to provide equity pay raises for valuable employees. Is this a good thing to do with leftover funds for government agencies? Why or Why not?
At the end of the 2010-2011 academic year, the ISU Men’s basketball team had nearly $30K in leftover funds (much of which it had raised on its own through booster donations). Needing money to plug other wholes in the athletic department’s budget, the Athletic Director took the basketball team’s money and used it to pay other bills. Is this an effective way to use surplus funds? Why or Why not?


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