Differential Reinforcement

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Differential Reinforcement is defined to occur when behavior is reinforced by being either rewarded or punished while interacting with others (Siegel, 2003). With this said, the theory was developed as a way of labeling both positive, as well as negative aspects of individual action. This idea of reinforcement is a branch of the infamous Differential Association theory presented by Edwin H. Sutherland in 1939. Another commonly used term for this theory of reinforcement is called differential conditioning (Siegel, 2003). As mentioned, the types of reinforcement are either positive or negative, and operate on the results of specific crimes or random acts. Rewarding behaviors plainly urges such action to be repeated, while punishment…show more content…
Since this concept is held in such high regards, most criminologists use it to label and detect those offenders who later become career criminals. Interestingly, "in the U.S., data from the NCVS for 1992-1996 indicates that an annual average of 2,010,800 citizens experienced violent victimizations while they were working or on duty" (Kennedy, 2002). Kennedy then goes on to state that "workplace violence and homicide have been identified as the fastest growing forms of violence in our country, doubling in the past 10 years" (Carll 1999). Differential reinforcement weighs heavily on that statistic; in that, if people would choose not to commit acts of crime on the job, then the problem wouldn't be as major as it has become. It is the evident lack of fear of employees and the potential gain that increases the CV rate. This kind of crime is damaging in more ways than homicide and the previously mentioned (i.e. stealing time). It is proven that the economy as a whole can and will be affected by the continued efforts of corporate criminals. Economics are a backbone to every society making this field one of the greatest topics of concern. Property destruction is a huge problem in the corporate violence spectrum. Again, this is crucial to the economic value of crime and the choices to participate in it. Some workers feel arson is a better means of obtaining wealth
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