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.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details

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Symposium #75
Some New Developments in the Study of Organizational Behavior Management
Saturday, May 29, 2010
3:30 PM–4:50 PM
Republic B (Grand Hyatt)
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Angela R. Lebbon (Lehman College)
Abstract: Employees' non-work related behavior is a common problem in the workplace and often results in indirect expenses for organizations. There is great opportunity and need for behavior analysts to apply their techniques in order to gain more understanding of employee non-work related behavior and to improve employee work-related behavior. This symposium will be comprised of four data-based presentations. Three presentations will be delivered on intervention research that sought to improve non-work related behavior through feedback and monetary incentives, and one presentation will be delivered on a laboratory study that sought to clarify which components are required for maximizing the effectiveness of performance feedback.
Using an Experience Sampling Method to Investigate How People Spend Their Time at Work
ANNA ALAINE RICE (Western Michigan University), John Austin (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: Surveys reveal the average worker admits to wasting 2.09 hours per eight-hour workday, workers feel unproductive for as much as a third of their workweek, and workers desire a better work-life balance due to the increasing hours in a workweek. The authors developed and used a meaningful taxonomy of work behaviors to measure how four workers from a Fortune 5OO™ company were spending their time at work using an Experience Sampling Method (ESM) to sample these behaviors. A Palm Pilot™ signaled and collected data resulting in a reliable sample of participant work behavior. One group of participants was given feedback after week one to see if exposure to feedback would cause changes in behavior. The feedback appeared to increase the behavior of time spent working at one’s desk. Also, feedback appeared to change participants’ self-recorded time spent, estimated time spent, and ideal time spent for some behaviors. This study successfully developed technological tool workers can use to track how they were spending their time at work.
A Descriptive Analysis of Professional Demeanor Violations and Nonwork-Related Behaviors in a Therapeutic Workplace
BRANDON RING (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), Sigurdur Oli Sigurdsson (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), Mick J. Needham (Johns Hopkins University), James H. Boscoe (Johns Hopkins University), Kenneth Silverman (Johns Hopkins University)
Abstract: Promoting appropriate professional demeanor (e.g., using non-threatening language while at work, refraining from profane comments) and reducing nonwork-related behaviors (e.g., sleeping, personal cell phone use) are integral parts of vocational training. Participants were enrolled trainees of the Therapeutic Workplace, which uses operant principles to reduce drug use while at the same time providing participants with vocational training. We monitored professional demeanor violations and nonwork-related behaviors during work hours in three classrooms of the Therapeutic Workplace. Results suggested that despite monetary incentives for not committing professional demeanor violations and productivity pay for engaging in work-related behaviors, participants were frequently observed engaging in a variety of nonwork-related behaviors, and other behaviors that violated professional demeanor guidelines. The frequency of these behaviors varied, for example, as a function of day of week and time of day. Planned interventions to address professional demeanor violations and to promote appropriate work-related behaviors will be presented.
Investigating the Effects of Observer Presence and Feedback on Individuals' Work- and Safety-Related Behavior
ANGELA R. LEBBON (Lehman College), John Austin (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: Direct observation procedures have been widely used by applied behavior analysts to examine the effects of various interventions, however, recent research examining the effects of the observer’s presence on behavior has found that participants behave in ways that are not representative of their behavior in the absence of an observer. Furthermore, recent research has demonstrated that both reactivity and habituation are idiosyncratic and it remains unclear which variables mediate reactive effects with individuals. Researchers have discussed the necessity of identifying and measuring reactive effects in order to discover variables (e.g., discriminative stimulus properties) that may mediate reactive effects. Previous research has discussed the possible role of an observer as a discriminative stimulus and its effects on behavior, however, the concept has mainly been employed as a post-hoc explanation for behavior changes that were not anticipated and has yet to be systematically examined with work and safety-related behavior. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to examine the effects of observer presence (with and without feedback) on individuals’ work and safety-related behavior. In general, the study found that reactivity was demonstrated for both groups (i.e., observation only group and observation plus feedback group), however, habituation was demonstrated less frequently than reactivity for both groups.
Isolating the Critical Components of Effective Feedback on a Data Entry Task
DOUGLAS A. JOHNSON (Operant-Tech Consulting)
Abstract: Performance feedback is among the most common interventions used for performance in the field of organizational behavior management. Despite the frequency with which performance feedback interventions are used, component analyses of such performance feedback are rare. It has been suggested that evaluation of performance and objective information about performance are two necessary components for performance feedback. This presentation will describe a laboratory study that sought to clarify which components are required for maximal effectiveness by comparing four conditions in a 2 X 2 factorial design: (a) evaluation combined with objective feedback, (b) evaluation without objective feedback, (c) objective feedback without evaluation, and (d) no feedback. Approximately one hundred and sixty university students were recruited to work on a simulated bank check processing task while being exposed to one of the four feedback conditions. The number of checks correctly processed served as the dependent variable and was analyzed using a two-factor ANCOVA.



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