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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #197
Goal Setting and Organizational Behavior Management: Reviews and Research
Sunday, May 25, 2014
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
W192b (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: OBM/TPC; Domain: Theory
Chair: Heather M. McGee (Western Michigan University)

Goal setting is a very popular intervention component in behavioral studies, yet there are still many unknowns regarding goal setting. Do goals uniformly increase performance? What are the most effective types of consequences to pair with goal setting? What other intervention components are effective when paired with goal setting? This symposium will attempt to explore these and other questions regarding goal setting. We will first explore the research surrounding goal setting found within the field of behavior analysis, and examine variables that may influence the effectiveness of goals. Then the scope will expand to examine goal setting outside of the behavioral literature, with special emphasis given to incentives. Finally, we will conclude with a lab study that examines the interaction of goals and feedback medium. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of further research on the topic, as well as ways in which our knowledge of goal setting should influence practice.

Keyword(s): Feedback, Goal Setting, Incentives, OBM
An Objective Review of Goal Setting in the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management
JESSICA L. URSCHEL (Western Michigan University), Alyce M. Dickinson (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: Authors in Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) have discussed the possible behavioral functions of goal setting and goal attainment (Agnew, 1998; Fellner & Sulzer-Azaroff, 1984; Malott, 1993; O’Hora & Maglieri, 2006). Although Industrial/Organizational (I/O) psychologists and management researchers have conducted many controlled experiments on the differential effects of goal setting variables, such analyses are rarely conducted in OBM. This presentation will include descriptive statistics on the use of goal setting in multicomponent interventions published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management. The effectiveness of these goal setting interventions will be evaluated using variables investigated in traditional Industrial/Organizational psychology goal setting research, including feedback and praise, goal specificity, goal difficulty, pay systems, consequences contingent on goal attainment, and interaction effects of these variables on performance. Based on this analysis, suggestions for future experimental analyses of goal setting variables will be given and guidelines for the most effective use of goal setting in multicomponent interventions will be given.
Goal Setting and Incentive Research Outside Behavior Analytic Literature
DANIEL B. SUNDBERG (Western Michigan University), Alyce M. Dickinson (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: This presentation will explore the literature surrounding the topic of goal setting, particularly when paired with monetary incentives. Special emphasis will be given to research outside the field of behavior analysis. A large body of research exists surrounding the nature of goal setting, including the effects of combining goal setting and incentives, that goes beyond the nature of the research on this topic often seen in the behavioral literature (Lee, Locke & Phan, 1997; Nebeker & Tatum 1993; Locke & Latham, 2013). While many of these studies to not discuss goal setting in behavioral terms they are still asking research questions which should interest the behavior analytic community. The results of many of these studies may even aid in our understanding of goals from a behavioral perspective. Audience members interested in the combined effects of goal setting and incentives may also find some interesting conclusions and even more interesting unanswered questions.
Influence of Computer Monitoring, Feedback Medium, and Goals on Work Performance and Feedback Seeking
JULIE M. SLOWIAK (University of Minnesota Duluth)
Abstract: This research examined the influence of computer monitoring on work performance and feedback-seeking behavior under different conditions of feedback medium and performance goals. As the first in a series of three experiments, this study was conducted in a laboratory setting using a data-entry work task designed to simulate the job of a medical transcriptionist. Undergraduate students attended five 45-minute sessions, and measures of ability and keyboarding skill were collected to use in the analyses. This study used a 2 x 2 factorial design to examine effects of computer monitoring under different conditions of feedback medium (computer-mediated / researcher-mediated) and assigned goal presence (present / absent) on both task performance and feedback-seeking behavior. Results indicate that performance was higher, overall, when the researcher delivered feedback versus when the participants, themselves, obtained feedback via the computer monitoring system. Performance under the researcher-mediated feedback condition was minimally affected by the presence of a goal, though feedback-seeking behavior was higher when participants received the assigned performance goal. Discussion of these results, as well as an overview of participants’ levels of stress and satisfaction with feedback medium, will be presented.



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