Operant Conditioning Theory and Courageous Followership A Donkey’s Perspective

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Sarah Ruth Rolle


The purpose of this paper is to describe the relationship between operant conditioning theory and courageous followership. This relationship was explored via a genre analysis of Numbers 22:21-41, which is the passage that contains the story of Balaam and Balaam’s donkey. A genre analysis is a tool that examines the passage in light of the pericope’s literary genre. A prophetic genre analysis is aptly suited to investigate negative reinforcement and courageous followership as a prophetic genre analysis examines the role of the prophet and the message of the prophet. This was accomplished through exploring the interaction between Balaam and Balaam’s donkey. The results showed that the dimensions of courageous followership are not affected by negative reinforcement. The findings indicate that followers cannot be studied as a monolith but rather as unique and distinct subgroups. This is the first study to investigate Numbers 22:21-41 through a genre analysis.


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Rolle, S. (2018). Operant Conditioning Theory and Courageous Followership. Theology of Leadership Journal, 1(2), 48-63. Retrieved from http://theologyofleadership.com/index.php/tlj/article/view/17