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.

  • AUT: Autism

    CBM: Clinical/Family/Behavioral Medicine

    CSE: Community Interventions, Social and Ethical Issues

    DDA: Developmental Disabilities

    DEV: Behavioral Development

    EAB: Experimental Analysis of Behavior

    EDC: Education

    OBM: Organizational Behavior Management

    PRA: Practice

    TBA: Teaching Behavior Analysis

    TPC: Theoretical, Philosophical, and Conceptual Issues

    VRB: Verbal Behavior

34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Program by Invited Events: Sunday, May 25, 2008

Manage My Personal Schedule


Invited Paper Session #138
CE Offered: BACB

Self-Control and Social Cooperation

Sunday, May 25, 2008
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Grand Ballroom
Area: DEV; Domain: Theory
CE Instructor: Howard Rachlin, Ph.D.
Chair: Martha Pelaez (Florida International University)
HOWARD RACHLIN (Stony Brook University)
Prof. Howard Rachlin obtained a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree from Cooper Union in 1957, an MA in psychology from The New School for Social Research in 1962, and PhD in psychology from Harvard University in 1965. He is currently a Research Professor and an Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Stony Brook University. He has written six books including Behavior And Mind (1994) and The Science of Self-Control (2000) and published more than 100 journal articles. His research focuses on self-control and social cooperation in humans and nonhumans approached from the perspective of teleological behaviorism.

Failures of self-control and social cooperation may both be described in terms of hyperbolic discounting: failures of self-control as due to discounting by delay of reinforcement -- failures of social cooperation as due to discounting by social distance. Both self-control and social cooperation may be seen as choice of distributed rewards over individual rewards: self-control as choice of rewards distributed in time -- social cooperation as choice of rewards distributed over social space. Self-control fails when the value of a large reward distributed over time (such as good health) is discounted below that of a small immediate reward (such as having an alcoholic drink). Social cooperation fails when the value of a large reward distributed in social space (such as availability of public television) is discounted below that of a small reward to oneself (keeping money rather than donating it).Patterns of behavior that maximize reward distributed over wide temporal or social distances may be selected by reinforcement and evolve over the lifetimes of individuals by a process akin to group selection in biological evolution.

Invited Paper Session #141
CE Offered: BACB

International Invited Paper - Applied Behavior Analysis in Nigeria: Barriers and Progress

Sunday, May 25, 2008
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
International North
Area: TBA; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Usifo Edward Asikhia, Ph.D.
Chair: Denise E. Ross (Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Dr. Edward Asikhia is the Clinical Director for Home-Link Trust, Inc., an agency that provides behavioral and educational intervention services to children with developmental disabilities. Dr. Asikhia earned a medical degree from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria in 1985, and was trained as a psychiatrist with the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, University of Wales of Medicine Cardiff and University College Hospital in Galway, Ireland. He obtained MBA and MHPM degrees from the University of Benin, Nigeria, and trained as a behavior analyst at the University of North Texas. Dr. Asikhia provided clinical behavior therapy services at the Child and Adolescent Unit of the Department of Psychiatry, University College Hospital in Galway, Ireland. He also designed rehabilitation and aftercare programs for the Nigerian Prisons Services. Dr. Asikhia is a former Program Director for the behavioral and social intervention center of the Family Care Center, Inc. in Idaho Falls. He has published several articles on the treatment of incarcerated youth in Nigeria and head injuries. Dr. Asikhia is a member of the Nigeria Medical Association and the Inceptor Royal College of Psychiatrists.

This lecture describes a demonstration project designed to address barriers to applying behavior analysis in underdeveloped African countries. In many African countries, there is a dearth of information on the prevalence and impact of disabilities. Additionally, there are major issues in the area of government policy, cultural perspective, early screening, diagnosis and treatment of children with autism and other developmental disabilities. In the light of this situation, Home-Link Trust Inc, a developmental disabilities agency based in Idaho State, has established a demonstration project in collaboration with existing non-governmental organizations for the replication and practice of applied behavior analysis in the management of children with developmental disabilities in Nigeria. This demonstration project will serve as a bridge between the practice of applied behavior analysis in the United States and Africa. In this lecture, the long-term impact of this demonstration project on training and government support for applied behavior analysis in Nigeria will be discussed.

Invited Paper Session #169

Evidence-Based Interventions for the Prevention of Destructive Behavior within School Settings

Sunday, May 25, 2008
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Grand Ballroom
Area: EDC; Domain: Service Delivery
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Chair: Ronnie Detrich (Wing Institute)
HILL WALKER (University of Oregon)
Dr. Hill Walker is a professor of Special Education, Co-Director of the Institute on Violence and Destructive Behavior, and Director of the Center on Human Development, in the College of Education at the University of Oregon. He has a longstanding interest in behavioral assessment and in the development of effective intervention procedures for use in school settings with a range of behavior disorders. He has been engaged in applied research during his entire career, dating from 1966. His research interests include social skills assessment, curriculum development and intervention, longitudinal studies of aggression and antisocial behavior, and the development of early screening procedures for detecting students who are at-risk for social-behavioral adjustment problems and/or later school drop-out. Dr. Walker is the co-author, along with Herbert Severson, of Systematic Screening for Behavior Disorders (SSBD) (Sopris West, 1990); author of The Acting Out Child: Coping With Classroom Disruption (2nd ed., Sopris West, 1995); co-author, with Phillip Strain and Michael Guralnick, of Children's Social Behavior: Development, Assessment and Modification (Academic Press, 1986); co-author, with Geoffrey Colvin and Elizabeth Ramsey, of Antisocial Behavior in School: Strategies and Best Practices (Brooks/Cole, 1995); co-editor, with Michael Epstein, of Making Schools Safer and Violence Free: Critical Issues, Solutions, and Recommended Practices (PRO-ED, 2000); and co-editor, with Mark Shinn and Gary Stoner, of Interventions for Academic and Behavior Problems II: Preventive and Remedial Approaches (National Association of School Psychologists, 2002). His most recent books are the 2nd edition of Antisocial Behavior in School: Evidence-Based Practices (Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2004) co-authored with Elizabeth Ramsey and Frank Gresham; and Safe and Healthy Schools: Practical Prevention Strategies (Guilford, 2005) co-authored with Jeffrey Sprague.

In the past decade, schools have come under increasing pressures to adopt evidence-based practices due primarily to federal legislation (e.g. the NCLB Act), greater demands for accountability and impact stemming from federal investments in research, and public concerns about the safety and security of students in school settings. It is now common to see lists of evidence-based programs, considered to be either promising or proven, compiled by such entities as the What Works Clearing House, Practice Guides sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences, and Programs to Prevent School Violence developed by the American Psychological Association and the National School Safety Office. This presentation will focus on the emergence of evidence-based practices in education and discuss what they are, where we have been with respect to their use, where are we currently and where we need to go in order to adopt and use them effectively. Specific topics that will be addressed are as follows: 1) definitions of evidence based practices and the efficacy versus effectiveness distinction, 2) key characteristics of evidence based approaches, 3) criteria used to validate and classify intervention and practice approaches, 4) single case versus randomized control trials in determining efficacy-effectiveness, 5) examples of evidence-based interventions, and 6) resources and access information.

Target Audience:


Learning Objectives: N/a
Invited Paper Session #201
CE Offered: BACB

Long-term Maintenance of Functional Communication Training

Sunday, May 25, 2008
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
International North
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: David P. Wacker, Ph.D.
Chair: Joel Eric Ringdahl (University of Iowa)
DAVID P. WACKER (University of Iowa)
Dr. David P. Wacker is a Professor of Pediatrics and Special Education at The University of Iowa. He directs two outpatient clinic services for children and adults with disabilities who engage in severe problem behavior. He is the Principal Investigator on an NICHD-funded research project evaluating the long-term effectiveness of functional communication training in home settings. He previously served as the Editor of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, as a standing panel reviewer for the National Institutes of Health, and as the President of the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. He received the 2000 Applied Research Award for Outstanding Contributions to Applied Behavioral Research from the American Psychological Association's Division 25 and the 2002 Distinguished Research Award and 1987 National Educator of the Year Award from the Arc of the United States. In 2007, Dr. Wacker was named ABA International Fellow. Dr. Wacker has chaired well over 40 dissertations and his students have gone on to become outstanding clinicians and scientists, including several professors and Associate Editors for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.

We have completed 4 years of a 5-year NIH-funded project that is evaluating long-term maintenance associated with functional communication training. Approximately 20 children have enrolled in the project. All children are 6 years of age or younger, have developmental disabilities, and display aberrant behavior such as self-injury. Parents conducted functional analysis and functional communication training session in their homes with weekly coaching from project investigators. Treatment sessions were videotaped and coded using a 6-sec partial-interval recording system. IOA was recorded for approximately 30% of all sessions. Treatment continued for up to 1 year for each participant. Throughout treatment, probes of aberrant behavior, manding, and task completion were conducted in which various components of the treatment package were removed (e.g., mand card) or changed (e.g., time in demands increased from 5 to 15 minutes). The purpose of these probes was to determine if aberrant behavior increased or adaptive behavior decreased when these components were altered. In this talk, I will present the results of these probes and will discuss the results relative to resurgence, maintenance, and response strength.

Invited Paper Session #202
CE Offered: BACB

International Invited Paper - Autism, Joint Attention, and Verbal Behavior: Down to Basics of an Operant Analysis, Suggesting Technological Applications at Almost Every Step

Sunday, May 25, 2008
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Grand Ballroom
Area: TPC; Domain: Theory
CE Instructor: Per Holth, Ph.D.
Chair: Ted Schoneberger (Stanislaus County Office of Education)
PER HOLTH (Akershus University College)
Prof. Per Holth received his degree from the University of Oslo. He is interested in behavior analysis in general; in basic research as well as conceptual issues and various areas of application. His specific interest in an operant analysis of joint attention arose while he was the Program Director at the Center for Early Intervention in Oslo (2000-2003), working with children diagnosed with autism, and joint attention phenomena have remained among his main research interests. He is one of the founders, and member of the editorial troika, of the European Journal of Behavior Analysis (EJOBA) and is now employed as a professor of behavior analysis at Akershus University College, Norway.

Joint attention, a synchronizing of the attention of two or more persons, has been an increasing focus of research in cognitive developmental psychology and behavior analysis. Much of this interest is grounded in the fact that children diagnosed with autism may display a syndrome-specific deficit in joint attention. Phenomena typically considered include gaze following, monitoring, social referencing, and protoimperative and protodeclarative gestures. First, from an operant perspective, a conceptual analysis is in order both because the concept of joint attention has come to refer to a number of different phenomena and because the specification of reinforcement contingencies can replace vague cognitive language of "intention," "sharing," and "theory of mind." Second, even if almost completely unrecognized in modern psychology, some very basic phenomena now studied in the context of joint attention, such as protoimperative and protodeclarative communication, were analyzed as verbal operants by Skinner more than 50 years ago. Third, certain contingencies and schedules of reinforcement that have been investigated in behavioral laboratories are directly relevant to devising procedures that aim to correct deficiencies in joint attention skills, for instance, in children with autism. A behavior-analytic perspective is inherently practical, suggesting technological applications at almost every step.

Invited Symposium #240
CE Offered: BACB
International Symposium - Values in Behavior Analysis
Sunday, May 25, 2008
2:30 PM–3:50 PM
International North
Area: CSE/TPC; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Saul Axelrod (Temple University)
CE Instructor: Maria R. Ruiz, Ph.D.

Overt values statements are a relatively recent development within the field of behavior analysis. For far too long we have allowed others, primarily our critics, to describe our values for us, and it is time that we begin to speak for ourselves. Core values are important characteristics of an organizations verbal practices and as our community endeavors to build a coherent system from which to promote effective cultural practices, we are reminded that values function as guides to action and play a key role in helping us through ethical dilemmas. In order to present ourselves convincingly to our consumers and the public we need a serious debate about our values: What do we consider the most important features or contributions of behavior analysis to the culture? We will present data from a survey study of core values in a sample of ninety-four behavior analysts discuss the implications for behavior analytic practices.

Values in the Science and Practice of Behavior Analysis
GERALD A SHOOK (Behavior Analyst Certification Board)
Abstract: This session will briefly review the place of values in the science and practice of behavior analysis and it will identify some of the possible reasons why overt values statements are a relatively recent development within the field. Values will be examined within the context of professional behavior analysis and examples will be given of the integration of values into current and future professional practice.
Dr. Gerald L. Shook is Chief Executive Officer and Founder of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc. He holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with over 35 years experience in behavior analysis. Dr. Shook has taken an active role in developing certification in several states, as well as internationally, and has published and presented extensively in the area of credentialing and Behavior Analysis as a profession. He conducted statewide distance education university graduate training in several states and consulted nationally on development of statewide behavioral service and training systems. He currently holds adjunct appointments in the College of Education and Graduate College at Penn State. Dr. Shook was on the Executive Council of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, where he also was Coordinator of the Legislative and Public Affairs Committee and the Affiliated Chapters Board. He was President of the Florida Association for Behavior Analysis. He served on the Editorial Boards of The Behavior Analyst, Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, and Behavior Analysis in Practice. Dr. Shook is a Trustee of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, and a Fellow of ABAI. He received the Florida Association for Behavior Analysis’ Award for Outstanding Service; the California Association for Behavior Analysis’ Award for Outstanding Contributor to Behavior Analysis; The Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis’ Outreach Award and Award for Public Service; and the Outstanding Alumni Award from Western Michigan University.
Let's Talk Seriously About our Values: How to Reach our Consumers and Fight Off the Competition
Abstract: For far too long we have allowed others, primarily our critics, to describe our values and it is time to go on the offensive. In order to present ourselves convincingly to our consumers and the public we need a serious debate about our values: What do we consider the most important features or contributions of behavior analysis to the culture? While others see us as "manipulative" and "controlling" many of us think of behavior analysis as promoting individual worth, independence, and choice. Our dedication to data collection, research design, and a science of behavior leaves us open to criticism from those promoting "freedom" and our commitment to the study of behavior gives a big target to the vast majority of psychologists who are promoting cognitive processes and self help as solutions most any human behavior problem. I will discuss these issues and propose several alternative ways of describing and presenting our values in an attempt to tip public opinion our way.
Dr. Jon S. Bailey has contributions spanning a number of areas over the past 35 years. He has mentored over 50 Ph.D. students, many of whom have gone on to careers of excellence. This is no small task because he has been the lone behavior analyst in his department for many years. He also is a superb teacher at the undergraduate level and has received numerous university awards for instructional excellence. Dr. Bailey has been the moving force behind the growth of behavior analysis throughout the state of Florida. He was a member of the state review committee for behavior analysis in the 1970s, he founded the Florida Association of Behavior Analysis in the 1980s, and he initiated the meetings of the Organizational Behavior Management Network in the 1990s. Finally, it should be noted that Dr. Bailey also is one of our field’s eminent researchers. The largest proportion of his work has been published in the flagship journal of our field, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. Many of his articles were innovative in defining new areas of research for applied behavior analysts.
Values and Behavior Analytic Practices
MARIA R. RUIZ (Rollins College), Bryan T. Roche (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
Abstract: As scientists and practitioners behavior analysts must make frequent decisions that affect others. In concert with our scientific tradition our guide to best practice has been scientific principles. Yet scientific principles alone may not be sufficient to guide our decisions in situations with potentially conflicting outcomes. In such cases, values function as guides to action and play a key role in helping us through ethical dilemmas. The feminist research tradition has given us many examples of the confluence of science and political values and reminds us that personal, social and contextual influences or contextual values are ever present and the rules of evidence of scientific inquiry are not adequate to screen out their influence. Therefore, behavior analysts should examine the assumptions they hold when deciding between conflicting generalizations from their findings. As our community endeavors to build a coherent system from which to promote effective cultural practices, it is important to recognize that as pragmatists we are not searching for solutions that are ultimately “true” or “right”. We are instead making decisions about the best possible courses of effective action. When the decision is difficult because the case is not clear-cut, behavior analysts would do well to draw from the work of pragmatist philosopher John Dewey, in particular his notions of pluralistic dialogue and communal consensus to establish acceptable means of deciding.
Dr. Maria R. Ruiz is a professor of psychology at Rollins College and recipient of the Arthur Vining Davis faculty award for excellence in teaching. As a licensed psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst she has consulted in the field of autism and developmental disabilities for over twenty five years. Dr. Ruiz has a long standing commitment to the wide scale delivery of quality behavior analysis services. She has served the Behavior Analysis Certification Board as a panelist for the certification exam and on the certification board exam committee, testified as expert witness and chaired the State of Florida Behavior Analysis Peer Review Committee. Dr. Ruiz received her doctorate from the University of Florida and completed a post doctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Biology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She has conducted laboratory research to investigate animal models of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and applied behavioral research in clinical settings. Her combined interests in the conceptual analysis of behavior and social sources of behavioral control led her to develop conceptual bridges across behavior analysis and feminist psychology and her work has been published in feminist and behavioral journals. A recent extension of this interest is her collaborative work to develop behavioral methodologies applying equivalence relations in identifying behavioral processes embedded in cognitively-based implicit tests (e.g. Implicit Association Test or IAT). Dr. Ruiz has served as reviewer for Feminism and Psychology and currently serves on the editorial boards of Behavior and Social Issues and The Behavior Analyst.
Normative Premises in Applied Behavior Analysis and Literature
ERIK ARNTZEN (Akershus University College ), Jon A. Lokke (University College of Ostfold, Norway), Gunn Lokke (University College of Ostfold, Norway)
Abstract: Normative premises as ethics, moral, and values are parts of the reinforcement and punishment practices, and not a reified part of ourselves as may be argued in philosophy and traditional psychology. Core values are important characteristics of an organization’s verbal practice. Values are materialized as aims and results and connected to ideal guiding patterns of behavior - as in professional standards (Cooper et al., 2007). Our goal in this study was to expand the descriptive knowledge about values in behavior analysis. We used a survey (Bailey, 2006) to study core values reported by groups of behavior analysts. The main findings based on the responses of 94 participants were that effective, evidence based treatment, and improving quality of life, were scored relatively high. In addition, we conducted a literature review. In accordance with the data from our first study, behavior analysts should engage in their client’s values and the significance of the treatment. Goals should be taken into consideration equal to behavioral functions, reliability and procedural integrity. The findings showed that clinical significance is mentioned in under half of the cases. We suggest that an assessment of clinical significance and the client’s values should be included in clinical articles.
Prof. Erik Arntzen received his Ph.D. from University of Oslo, Norway, in February 2000. Arntzen’s dissertation was focusing on variables influencing responding in accord with stimulus equivalence. He is currently Professor in Behavior Analysis at Akershus University College (AUC). Dr. Arntzen is the head of the master program in behavior analysis at AUC. His research contributions include both basic and applied behavior analysis, with an emphasis on research in relational stimulus control and verbal behavior. He has also been interested in ethical considerations and core values in the field of behavior analysis. Dr. Arntzen is one of the editors of European Journal of Behavior Analysis and has served on the editorials board of several journals, including the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, The Psychological Record, International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, and The Behavior Analyst Today.
Invited Symposium #281
CE Offered: BACB
International Invited Symposium - Total Contingency Integration: Behavioral Systems in OBM
Sunday, May 25, 2008
4:00 PM–5:20 PM
International North
Area: OBM/TPC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Timothy D. Ludwig (Appalachian State University)
Discussant: Dale M. Brethower (Instituto Tecnológico de Sonora)
CE Instructor: Timothy D. Ludwig, Ph.D.

OBM could be criticized for being dominated by micro-level analyses focused on employee behaviors and local interventions such as goals and feedback. While this approach may demonstrate the effectiveness of ABC's to impact important behavioral indicators of performance, OBM often does not take into account the fact that these behaviors occur in the context of greater organizational systems. Indeed, OBM interventions end up being demonstrations that are not often integrated into the overall system. Thus, many die out as soon as the researchers or consultants leave. We miss the bigger picture. Deming and Skinner were speaking the same language. Deming said that 80% of employee performance is due to the system. Its time for OBM to better integrate the entire organizational system into its performance solutions. This invited symposium features three distinguished systems thinkers within behavior analysis who will address how OBM and other specialties of ABA can benefit from a systems approach.

Survival Contingencies for Organizational Behavior Management
Abstract: Where are we, OBM practitioners in large-scale, sustainable change in the corporate world? Even though several behavior analysts have been successful at large scale interventions, why as a group, haven’t we been noticed or haven’t had a significant impact in the business community? Why does the demand for OBM practitioners remain low or almost non-existent in the market? Why hasn’t the accelerated growth in the treatment of autism driven the demand for OBM practitioners? We are too few and progressing too slowly to be noticed and to make a difference. Although, the OBM network membership has grown 2.6 times since 2000, it remains with about 250 members. The OBM submissions to the ABA annual convention have averaged 51 in the last 14 years, remaining comparatively lower to other areas. Specialized degree programs in OBM are a hand full at the most. I believe these issues are not due to lack of marketing but rather to substance and systems design. Although we are very good at behavior change, altering the behavior of a relatively small number of individuals typically does not have an impact in the larger system where the target behaviors take place. Although we know about behavioral maintenance, designing systems that focus on the long-term adaptation of our interventions to the evolution of the greater systems has not been our primary interest. We need more than a tool kit of behavioral contingencies; we ought to understand and manage metacontingencies of the larger systems to distinguish ourselves. Furthermore, the application of behavioral systems can help OBM survive, grow and compete in the business world as an area of application of our discipline.
Dr. Maria E. Malott earned a Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis from Western Michigan University in 1987. Since 1993 to the present, she has served as Executive Director and Secretary Treasurer of the Association of Behavior Analysis International (ABA International), as well as Secretary Treasurer of the Society for the Advancement for Behavior Analysis. She is a fellow of ABA International and received the 2003 Award for International Dissemination of Behavior Analysis and the 2004 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Organizational Behavior Management. She is an adjunct faculty member at five universities and has collaborated with 33 universities around the world. She has authored and coauthored numerous articles and two books, including Paradox of Organizational Change (2003) and presented nearly 200 papers and workshops in 17 countries throughout North America, Latin America, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Past experiences include her role as Vice President of Manufacturing for a plastic production company in the Midwest and managing her consulting company dedicated to process improvement and organizational management for nearly two decades in a variety of industries, including service, manufacturing, retail, education, and government. She has done organizational management work in public administration, the private sector and for educational systems.
The Vulnerability and Robustness of Systems Properties
INGUNN SANDAKER (Akershus University College)
Abstract: Individual behaviour may have great impact on the organizational level of performance. This is however not necessarily so, since one common feature of what we may refer to as systems, is that its properties will be maintained over time, even though individuals may be replaced by new members of the system. The interdependencies both within and between systems calls for analysis of both the functional relations and the structures (within and between systems) that maintain behaviours described as distinct properties of a system. The process of selection within and between systems may be described in terms of vulnerability and robustness of systems properties. This calls for another level of analysis. Even though we may say that systems are “made up of” behaviour, the complex relations of contingencies maintaining systems behaviour may not be captured within the framework of individual behaviour alone. Organizations may be viewed as complex adaptive systems. The unit of analysis is an observed functional entity - interacting with the ”bigger system” of which it is a part. The unit is defined both by its function and its structure, which calls for an analysis both with respect to its functional match with the complexity of the “bigger system” and to the character of the relations between the interacting agents. Measuring the impact of the structure in systems in terms as density, connectivity and centrality may help us understand the vulnerability (extinction) as opposed to robustness (maintenance) of systems, independent of its changing members and taking the systems level into account.
Dr. Ingunn Sandaker is professor and director of the research programme “Learning in Complex Systems” at Akershus University College, Norway. She received her Ph.D in 1997 at the University of Oslo with a grant from The Foundation for Research in Business and Society (SNF) at The Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration (NHH). The thesis was a study on the systemic approach to major changes in two large companies; one pharmaceutical company and one petroleum company. During The Norwegian Olympic Committee’s preparations for the games in Sydney and Nagano, she was head of evaluation of a programme aiming at extending female participation in management and coaching. Serving as a consultant on top level management programmes in Norwegian energy companies, her interest has been focused on management performance within a systems framework. Trying to combine the approaches from micro-level behaviour analysis with the perspective of learning in complex systems, she is managing a post-graduate masters program in behaviour analysis.
OBM Redux: The Need for a Systems Perspective
WILLIAM B. ABERNATHY (Aubrey Daniels International)
Abstract: The traditional OBM intervention model was derived from experimental research and early clinical applications. The experimenter-subject and later the therapist-patient interaction translated into the supervisor-subordinate interaction in organizational applications. The underlying assumption has been that improving this interaction is the ultimate goal of OBM. This model, if successfully applied, creates a paternalistic management group that overlooks and often underutilizes the individual employee’s creative capacity or ability to respond effectively to contingencies without close supervisor guidance. Putting aside this issue, most practitioners would agree that improving and sustaining critical employee behaviors is, or should be, the test of the effectiveness of an OBM intervention. For this objective, the dyadic ‘ABC’ model isn’t so much technically incorrect as it is woefully incomplete and insufficient. The presenter will describe a systems view of OBM that addresses a results focused process for selecting which behaviors to manage and when; a balanced measurement tool; an expanded view of improvement strategies that includes Industrial/Organizational Psychology and Industrial Engineering; an integration of OBM with conventional human resource functions including job definition, selection, training, evaluation, promotion, and compensation; and a transition strategy designed to replace traditional bureaucratic management with a free operant, open system workplace.
Dr. William B. Abernathy taught psychology at Ohio University and received his doctorate in I/O Psychology from the Ohio State University. He then joined Edward J. Feeney and Associates as a consultant where he worked in performance improvement with Victoria Stations Restaurants, Sovran Bank, and the Franklin Mint. In 1981 Bill founded Abernathy & Associates, which specialized in assisting client organizations with performance measurement and feedback, performance pay, and performance improvement. Over its twenty-five year history, Abernathy & Associates consulted with over 160 organizations of all types and sizes. In 2005 Bill sold his company to Aubrey Daniels International where he is the Vice President of Performance Systems. Bill also joined the psychology faculty at Southeastern Louisiana University where he will coordinate a new masters degree in I/O Psychology with an emphasis on performance systems. He is the author of two books - The Sin of Wages and Managing Without Supervising.



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