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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Poster Session #90
OBM Session 1
Saturday, May 26, 2012
5:00 PM–7:00 PM
Exhibit Hall 4AB (Convention Center)

Organizational Behavior Management: Where We Started, and Where We May Be Headed in Research and Practice

Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
AMY KATHERINE LOUKUS (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)

Organizational behavior management (OBM) is a growing discipline, with an ongoing development in research directing the practice of OBM consultants on a global scale. With each new idea, a shift occurs in the literature available to consultants and students, with certain trends discernable through strict review of publications over time. The current paper provides an in-depth analysis of the published OBM literature, with relevant discussion highlighting the morphing trends in interest and methodology as the field progresses. Implications for consultants who rely on peer-reviewed works to guide their practice are illustrated and supported using direct examples from published works. Benefit provided by the literature, potential limitations in publications available, and future directions for the OBM community enhance the discussion regarding the importance of empirical demonstration for consultants and active members of academia.

2. On Discounting and Time Management
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
ASLE FAGERSTRØM (The Norwegian School of Information Technology), Erik Arntzen (Oslo and Akershus University College), Dag Aksnes (The Norwegian School of Information Technology)
Abstract: The basic idea of discounting theory is that organisms discount future consequences of their choice. In an organizational behavior setting this means that people work on smaller tasks with sooner outcomes rather than on tasks with larger but later outcomes. We performed an experiment to study time management problem in a workplace setting. Participants were given a task which should be solved within 40 minutes. They were interrupted by an incoming telephone call five times during the task period (after 7-, 14-, 21-, 28- and 35- minutes). Results indicate that six out of ten participants spend less time on an interruption if it occurred late in the task session. Hence, the results support the idea that discounted utility of outcomes plays an important role in time management.

The Effects of Token Economy System on Tax Preparers' Tax Filing Efficiency

Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
HYUNAH CHO (Baruch College)

We tested the effects of token economy system on the accuracy of tax filing task ata CPA office. A time delayed multiple baseline across participants design was implemented for this study. The dependent variables were the number of correct and incorrect data inputs for tax filing. The independent variable was the implementation of token economy system with which the tax preparers' accurate data inputs were reinforced by the reward points. The predetermined number of reward points was exchanged with the backup reinforcers such as longer break time, gift card, etc. Results showed that the participants' accurate data inputs significantly increased after the implementations of the token economy system; their inaccurate data inputs decreased. Overall, the efficiency (i.e., the total number of data inputs per day) also increased. This study will discuss the possible interventions to improve the productivity of working environment for paper work tasks.


The Advantages of Using a Tiered Punishment System When Improving Employee Adherence to Restaurant Policy

Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
AMANDA WATTS (Florida Institute of Technology), Kaitlynn Gokey (Florida Institute of Technology)

This study evaluated a package intervention consisting of task clarification, visual prompts, graphic group feedback, and a tiered punishment system with a group of 60 restaurant employees and 1 manager. The goal of the intervention was to increase the frequency/percentage of correct employee parking, and to train the manager to maintain the new parking policy following termination of the study. Additional efforts were made to the program to decrease response effort and increase the probability that the manager would reliably continue the program following termination of the study; these efforts were especially important due to the initial resistance of the manager when discussing his responsibility of continuing the program. Results of an AB1B2 analysis showed that the intervention package resulted in an immediate and sustained decrease in parking violations by employees; following termination of the study, the manager reported an additional 2 weekends of 100% correct parking. The advantages of using a tiered system of punishment are discussed, in addition to the issues that sometimes prevent the use of reinforcement-based procedures in the workplace.


Discounting of Perceived Occupational Risk as a Function of Response Effort

Area: OBM; Domain: Basic Research
SIGURDUR OLI SIGURDSSON (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), Matthew A. Taylor (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health), Oliver Wirth (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health)

Construction workers are faced with safety choices every workday. Choices might be between wearing versus not wearing personal protective equipment, securing versus not securing ladders and scaffolding, using versus not using appropriate tools for a given task, and so on. To date, the factors that influence safety choices of construction workers have not been investigated using a behavioral economic paradigm that assesses successive choices across various analog work scenarios. This gap presents an opportunity to explore how safety-related choices are affected by work and organizational factors. Eleven undergraduate students completed a computer-based analog task that required participants to choose in which of2 hypothetical scenarios, they would be more likely to engage in a safe behavior (e.g., donning a safety harness while working on a roof). Scenarios varied in roof height (feet) and effort associated with donning the safety harness (minute). Each trial presented a choice between a standard scenario with fixed height and effort and an alternative scenario with varying height. Effort in the alternative scenario was also varied across blocks of trials. Participants’ choice patterns revealed a switch point that provided a measure of subjective risk in the alternative scenario compared with the standard. A hyperbolic equation provided a good fit of the data (R2 = 0.944, p = .0032). This novel laboratory-based study extends the concepts and methods of behavioral economics to the topic of human choice and decision making in risky occupational settings. Because workers’ health and safety often depend on workers recognizing hazards and risk and then making appropriate behavioral choices, the application of behavioral economics might reveal important new or fundamental insights that will lead to more effective prevention and intervention strategies.


The Effect of Graphic Displays of Employee Performance Feedback on the Utilization of Prescribed In-home Hours for the Treatment of Autism

Area: OBM; Domain: Service Delivery
JODI DUGAN (Wesley Spectrum Services), Kate Pompa (Wesley Spectrum Services)

Children with autism benefit from consistent behavioral therapy conducted in the least restrictive environment such as homes, schools, and community settings. One challenge faced by agencies that provide this type of service include family and staff cancellations which result in reduced quality of care for clients and a strain on the financial sustainability of the agency. This study examines the effect of graphic individual and social comparison feedback on utilization of prescribed autism therapy hours. The study consists of a multiple baseline design across six employees. Employees are masters level clinicians providing behavioral therapy services as prescribed by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist to children with Autism in the home, community, and school settings. The dependent variable is the percentage of utilized therapy hours. During baseline phase employees received no feedback regarding utilization performance. During experimental phase employees received two graphic displays consisting of individual utilization data for each client and social comparison data relating their performance to that of the group. Initial findings show that providing graphic individual and social comparison feedback has increased utilization of prescribed therapy hours.


Implementing a Treatment Package Based on a Modified Performance Diagnostic Checklist

Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
LINA MAJDALANY (Florida Institute of Technology), Emily Meyer (Florida Institute of Technology), Sandy DeLuca (Florida Institute of Technology), Melissa Fenske (Florida Institute of Technology), David A. Wilder (Florida Institute of Technology)

We evaluated a treatment package based on a modified performance diagnostic checklist and then compared this treatment with a treatment suggested by a manager. We also compared manager-suggested items that might function as reinforcers to actual employee preference for items. Results showed that for all participants the consultant-designed treatment package produced a greater increase in employee performance, and that the manager was unable to accurately predict employee preferences. The study suggests that organizational behavior management consultants are effective to improve employee performance.


Effects of Self-Directed Video Feedback on Prompting by Therapists in Home Based ABA Programs

Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
KATELYN MULLEN (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)

The effects of self directed video feedback was examined in the current study with therapists of home based ABA programs working with children with a pervasive developmental disorder. A multiple baseline design was used to systematically implement the intervention which consisted of the therapists watching a self recorded video of implementing a prompting procedure, completing a questionnaire and setting a goal for the next therapy session. Results of the intervention showed that the intervention was effective for one participant, while the other participant's prompting behavior only increased after further instruction and modeling of the behavior by the author. Implications for the current study as well as possibilities for future research are discussed.


Total Performance Service Review in the Smaller Organization: The Use of Scorecards

Area: OBM; Domain: Service Delivery
CHRISTINA A. LYDON (University of Nevada, Reno), Thomas G. Szabo (University of Nevada, Reno), William D. Newsome (University of Nevada, Reno), W. Larry Williams (University of Nevada,Reno)

The current study combined biweekly clinical meetings prescribed in the Total Performance Service Review system with performance scorecards to promote effective staff and consumer behavior in a human service setting. Participants consisting of eight staff teams that were assembled around eight focus persons with special needs received training, consultation, and the scorecard intervention. Results of our intervention showed that scorecards produced significant staff behavior changes. Consumer outcomes correlated with staff performance changes were 1) an improvement in life skills and 2) a decrease in the severity of observed problem behaviors. In smaller organizations, the behavioral package of training, clinical consultation, biweekly clinical meetings, and scorecards could improve staff performance and reduce costs by eliminating the added administrative and financial strain of a managerial service review.




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