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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Paper Session #89
Analyses of Complex Organizational Contingencies
Saturday, May 24, 2014
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
W192b (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: OBM
Chair: Thomas C. Mawhinney (University of Detroit Mercy)
Error Sequence, Leadership Levels and Loss of 88 Souls on Alaska Airline’s Flight 261
Domain: Theory
THOMAS C. MAWHINNEY (University of Detroit Mercy)
Abstract: OBM provides tools for solving the problems identified below. The fate of Alaska Airlines’ Flight 261 was sealed years before the MD 80’s pilots lost control and it plunged into the Pacific Ocean. The proximate “… cause of this accident was a loss of airplane pitch control … ” (NTSB, 2002, p xii) resulting in the loss of 88 souls. Elevator jackscrew thread failure “… caused by excessive wear [was a] result [of] Alaska Airlines’ insufficient lubrication of the jackscrew assembly” (NTSB, 2002, p. xii). The jackscrew assembly’s failure was an ultimate consequence of a sequence of fateful human errors involving the aircraft’s designers, FAA officials’ insufficient leadership, Alaska Airlines’ insufficient mid and upper-level leadership and a supervisor’s ill-advised maintenance decision. According to the NTSB (2002), Alaska Airlines’ planned jackscrew lubrication intervals were extended from every 700 flight hours in 1985 to 1,000 in 1988 to 1,200 in 1991 to 1,600 in 1994 and, finally, to about 2,550 in 1996. This empirical evidence demonstrates how human behavior creates conditions under which lives are virtually sure to be lost, sooner or later.
Walden Three: The Liberated Organization
Domain: Service Delivery
WILLIAM B. ABERNATHY (Southeastern Louisiana University, Aubrey Daniels International)
Abstract: B.F. Skinner's Walden Two was a community based on operant principles. This discussion is concerned with how an organization might implement and manage a Walden Two inspired management system. Such a system would promote objectivity and positive reinforcement through replacing subjective performance reviews with performance measures and eliminating coercive supervision through replacing wages and salaries with pay for performance. A transition strategy from conventional management to a liberated workplace is described. The strategy was developed in numerous organizational applications. It includes four levels. An organization may choose to remain in any level rather than advance to the next. Conventional Management. Conventional management systems pay employees a wage or salary. Managers conduct 'performance reviews' to determine if employees receive a raise or promotion. The system is managed bureaucratically. Level I: Results Focus. This level includes the implementation of an organization-wide performance measurement system; positive leadership; and removing performance constraints. Level II: Stakeholder Pay. In this level, employees exchange part or all of their guaranteed wages or salaries for earnings based on profit-indexed performance pay. Level III: Job Enrichment. To ensure adequate performance opportunity, job enrichment programs are implemented. Level IV: Self-managed Employees. In this final level, employees supervise themselves as individuals or as small teams.



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