Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Symposium #29
Advanced Topics in the Application of Behavior Analysis to Organizational Behavior
Saturday, May 26, 2012
1:00 PM–2:20 PM
604 (Convention Center)
Area: OBM; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Bart M. Sevin (Aubrey Daniels International)
Abstract: The present symposium will discuss advanced topics in the application of behavior analysis to the behavior of individuals in organizations. All presentations will focus on real-world examples and practical suggestions for effectively applying behavioral principles to improve critical behavior that drives organizational results. The first presentation will discuss the concept of the motivating operation (MO) in OBM, specifically the role of relationship development and its impact on the effectiveness of social reinforcement in the work place. The second talk will explore the role of punishment in safety management, discussing how the negative side effects of punishment typically manifest in in organizations that use excessive punishment to address at-risk behavior. The third talk will describe a process for coaching in organizations that leads to rapid, sustainable change in performance that drives business results. Finally, the last presentation will focus on understanding desired and undesired organizational behavior from a behavior analytic perspective, why this matters, and how it differentially leads to development of more sustainable performance solutions.
Relationship Development as a Motivating Operation in Safety
JUDY L. AGNEW (Aubrey Daniels International)
Abstract: The use of negative reinforcement (and punishment), while prevalent in organizational safety, is limited in terms of its effectiveness and has the extremely problematic side effect of under-reporting of accidents. Thus, positive reinforcement is essential for creating true and lasting improvements. Social reinforcement is heavily used in OBM, largely because it is most easily manipulated. An MO that influences the effectiveness of social reinforcement is the relationship that exists between the deliverer and receiver of reinforcement. A positive statement such as “I appreciate your input on this” or “I was impressed by how you handled that meeting” will have greater or lesser reinforcing value depending on that relationship. This talk will review the concept of the MO in OBM and provide field examples and strategies used by clients to improve relationships and thus increase the reinforcing value of the reinforcers they attempt to use

Is There a Role for Punishment in Safety Management?

CLOYD HYTEN (Aubrey Daniels International)

Many companies rely on punishment for managing safety violations and injuries. Behavioral approaches to safety emphasize utilizing positive reinforcement strategies focused on safe behavior, instead of punishment for bad outcomes, because of the harmful side effects of punishment. What actually happens in a company that uses excessive punishment to manage safety? This talk will describe case instances of the effects of over relying on punishment. But does that mean that punishment is never used, even for willful violations of life-critical procedures? Are there any positive effects of punishment in managing safety? The roles of causal analysis and forward accountability in safety management will be discussed.

Coaching for Measurable and Sustainable Improvements
DON NIELSEN (Aubrey Daniels International)
Abstract: Managers and supervisors often spend much of their time putting out fires, leaving very little time to coach improved performance among their employees. Often when supervisors do engage in coaching they attempt to address vague concepts such as attitudes, responsibility, and being a better team player. Employees (and often the supervisors themselves) are unclear about the expectations for improvement and have difficulty knowing if improvements have been achieved. This talk will identify methods to pinpoint measurable results and the behaviors necessary to reach the results. The process of coaching for small incremental improvements in behavior will be discussed along with a Rapid Change process designed to sustain daily coaching efforts and to improve supervisor coaching skills.

Why Would Anyone Do That?: Understanding Organizational Behavior From a Scientific Standpoint

BART M. SEVIN (Aubrey Daniels International)

Managers and supervisors often puzzle at the persistence of undesired behavior and the absence of desired behavior, in some cases despite the behavior analytic foundations of some of their existing business processes (e.g., behavior-based safety or behavior-based coaching systems). It is not uncommon following undesired behavior that leads to an injury or some other business impact for leaders to identify as the root cause that there was some type of human error, often resulting in the worker being blamed for the resulting incident or impact. Too frequently, why there was human error goes unexplored. This talk will describe a practical assessment tool based on the A-B-C model, its application in the work place, and its role in developing sustainable behavior-based performance solutions and in improving the culture of an organization. Opportunities for enhancing the existing tool will be discussed.




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