What is Punishment, and does it really work?

Essay by my_funky_obsessionsUniversity, Bachelor'sB, September 2004

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"Speaking generally, punishment hardens and numbs,

it produces obstinacy, it sharpens the sense of

alienation and strengthens the power of resistance."

--Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900),

Punishment is but one of many means of ensuring discipline. Punishment can be defined on a fundamental level as a penalty imposed for a wrong doing - breaking of rules, regulations, laws or policies. A more focused definition would be a learning theory as s reduction in the likelihood of a response due to the presentation of an aversive stimulus or in the case of negative punishment - removal of reinforcing stimuli. (Liberman. 1993)

Discipline is necessary to ensure the orderly conduct of a team or unit. Within a disciplined group, regular, predictable patterns will follow. Punishment and discipline are not the same thing, punishment is only one means of influencing the action of discipline.

There are three forms of discipline; Imposed Discipline, Self Discipline and Collective Discipline.

Imposed discipline can be defined as steps and procedures. This would be the introduction to a routine or system of doing something. For example a new recruit is told how to correctly wear a uniform, as time progresses he or she no longer needs to be told this, it becomes part of their Self-Discipline.

Self-discipline is a persons set of built in or added routines or systems. They have known this for a long time and it had become a second nature. Self discipline for example would be manners, how to correctly speak to people, once this would have been instructed to them as imposed discipline, but now they just know how to speak.

Collective discipline ensures consistency in a team. Such discipline happened under the good leadership of their leader, through the establishment of goals and parameters.

Morale and Esprit-de-Corps are two factors, which directly...