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.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #65
CE Offered: BACB

Meaningful Change at the Cultural Level: Behavioral Systems Revisited

Saturday, May 24, 2008
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
International North
Area: OBM; Domain: Theory
CE Instructor: William K. Redmon, Ph.D.
Chair: Timothy D. Ludwig (Appalachian State University)
WILLIAM K. REDMON (Bechtel Group, Inc.)
Dr. William K. Redmon joined Bechtel in 2001 as Manager of Leadership and Development. In this role, he creates and manages processes and programs for finding, developing and managing talent. He also manages executive coaching and development programs and oversees the corporate learning and training department, including Bechtel’s internal university. Bill also manages Bechtel’s performance management programs which center on goal-based performance plans linked to short-term and long-term compensation plans. Prior to joining Bechtel, Bill consulted with numerous organizations in the private and public sectors to help refine their strategy and business plans and to develop supporting performance systems. He has consulted with manufacturing, retail, and service businesses to design and implement innovative methods in change leadership, quality control, performance management, and talent management. Early in his career, Bill was a professor of industrial/organizational psychology and designed and taught graduate courses in behavioral systems analysis, organizational change, metrics, and strategic planning. He is the author of numerous published papers on performance management and organizational change and co-editor of a recent graduate training text entitled Handbook of Organizational Performance: Behavior Analysis and Management. He has served as a regular presenter in the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School series on Innovation and Creativity. He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, a licensed psychologist, and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Division 25). Bill graduated from Western Michigan University with Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis (Behavioral Psychology) in 1981.

During the past 40 years, behavioral systems analysts (e.g., Tom Gilbert, Dale Brethower, Geary Rummler) developed models of organizations that help us understand behavior in context and suggested that behavioral interventions are far more powerful when the total system is considered as a backdrop for individual performance. Unfortunately, most applications at the systems level are described in terms of metaphors or principles, rather than practical, replicable approaches. Few lasting, large-scale applications of behavioral technology in working organizations have been implemented under realistic circumstances. Most published accounts of behavior change in organizations focus on a limited environment (e.g., one department or unit) and are driven by researchers or consultants who implement contrived circumstances to incubate and sustain the changes. This is no sin: many of these approaches have led to powerful changes and improved bottomline results. However, they often fall short of documenting reliable ways of changing the behaviors of hundreds or thousands of people--behavior analysis and change on a scope and scale that has the potential to move entire organizational cultures. This presentation will provide an example of large-scale, long-term behavioral intervention in a Fortune 100 business at the cultural level and describe how behavior analytic methods were used to functionally embed new practices that have been sustained over a period of 8 years with the promise of continuing indefinitely (i.e., becoming a way of life for leaders throughout the company). The approach and results will be discussed in terms of a whole-system application with reference to early work of behavioral systems analysts. The intervention involved teaching leaders (including the CEO and 20 top level executives) applied behavior analysis and supporting their use of the skills with extensive coaching and feedback. The model was subsequently extended to the 200 most senior leaders (Phase II) and then to another 700 general managers (Phase III). Plans call for training and coaching more than 2,000 managers and supervisors over the coming year to complete skill development (phase IV). To embed these practices in the ongoing culture, each leader receives a leadership scorecard (ratings and comments) from his/her direct reports every 6 months and completes an upward feedback dialogue session where the direct reports describe what they see as more effective practices (to be...




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