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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Invited Paper Session #196
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

Leadership Seminar: Leadership and the Science of Behavior Change

Sunday, May 25, 2014
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
W190a (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: OBM; Domain: Basic Research
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Maria E. Malott, Ph.D.
Chair: Ramona Houmanfar (University of Nevada, Reno)
MARIA E. MALOTT (Association for Behavior Analysis International)
Dr. Maria E. Malott is CEO of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI), which she has administered since 1993. During this time and within a few short years, ABAI has risen from near-bankruptcy to become a financially stable, growing scientific and professional organization. Her past experience includes serving as vice president of manufacturing at a Midwestern injection molding company and president and founder of Malott and Associates, through which for 14 years she consulted for advertising agencies, restaurants, retail and manufacturing companies, hotels, banks, governmental organizations, and nonprofit institutions. Her clients included Meijer, Inc.; Kellogg’s; Pharmacia & Upjohn; and General Motors Corp. Throughout her career, Dr. Malott has combined the analysis of metacontigencies and behavioral contingencies in managing complex systems and, in the process, has taught dozens of corporate executives to appreciate the power of organizational behavior management technology. Dr. Malott has presented nearly 200 papers, taught 34 workshops, and lectured in 37 universities in 18 countries, and is an affiliated faculty at three universities. She has served on four editorial boards and is the author of the book Paradox of Organizational Change, published in Spanish and English and co-author of Elementary Principles of Behavior. She is a fellow of ABAI and was the recipient of the 2003 Award for International Dissemination of Behavior Analysis from the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis, the 2004 Award for Outstanding Contributions to Organizational Behavior Management from the Organizational Behavior Management Network, the 2002 Outstanding Alumni Award from the Department of Psychology at Western Michigan University, and the 2013 Award for Distinguished Service to Behavior Analysis from the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis.

Throughout history and more recently, countless people have changed the world in significant ways. They forged new paths and demonstrated a remarkable ability to inspire others to follow. Margaret Mead suggested: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Was she right that the actions of not one but a few individuals under special motivating circumstances are what account for profound change? Or is it the case that leaders possess incomparable and unique repertoires that enable them to affect change single-handedly? Are there common traits and systems-based strategies that effective leaders use to bring about change? As behavior analysts, we must reflect on these questions and wonder if our scientific approach can account for the change.

Target Audience:

Psychologists, behavior analysts, graduate students, and anyone interested in leadership and the science of behavior change.


Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants should be able to (1) Illustrate why effective change is rarely the result of the actions of a single individual; (2) Understand the behavioral systems strategies used by successful leaders to affect the actions of others; and (3) Show how complex social systems are not replicable and have no lineage, yet they must be subject matter for behavior analysts.
Keyword(s): leadership



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