Organizational Behavior Management (OBM)

Organizational Behavior Management (OBM): Is the application of psychological principles of organizational behavior (OB) and the experimental analysis of behavior (EAB) to organizations to improve functional relations between employers and employees, individual and group performance and worker safety.

What is OBM: Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) is a sub-discipline of ABA, which is the application of the science of behavior. ABA emphasizes the use of operant and respondent procedures to produce behavior change. Behavior Analysis as a science has very explicit goals. Prediction and control of behavior, with an emphasis on control, are the objectives of behavior analysis (Hayes & Brownstein, 1986).

OBM has commonalities with the field of Industrial– Organizational Psychology, all relating to the behavior of people in the workplace. There are many differences between the two fields as well. Industrial– Organizational Psychology is based on theory and has a focus on topics such as personnel selection and placement. OBM is guided by a single theory of human behavior and has historically emphasized identification and modification of the environmental variables that affect directly observable or verifiable employee performance (Bucklin, Alvero, Dickinson, Austin, & Jackson, 2000).

Areas of Application

Behavior-based safety focuses on the analysis and alteration of work environments and work behavior to decrease workplace accidents.

There are a variety of programs that focus on worker behavior as the cause for almost all workplace accidents as well as environmental conditions that increase risk. Some evidence-based interventions that focus on safety, have been communication and feedback, reinforcement processes, proficiency scales, positive-based practice, etc., are applied to compliment and enhance traditional safety controls. The first priority in safety is always to eliminate occupational hazards from the work environment (http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/engcontrols/). Behavior procedures would be best categorized as shaping administrative controls, which can be used to promote safety and protective behaviors in all levels of an organization.

The Behavioral Systems Analysis (BSA) method involves outlining how the components of the system interact, including how each individual contributes to the overall functioning of the system (McGee, 2007). The value of BSA is that it allows us to analyze the organization outside the basic three-term contingency of antecedents, behaviors, and consequences to identify variables that can significantly impact individual and organizational performance. By analyzing the entire organization as a system, one can identify areas of improvement that will produce the largest positive impact on the organization and focus on planning and managing the variables that support desired performance (Diener et al., 2009).

Behavioral Analysis Systems aims to define, outline and implement procedures to maximize individual contribution, shape components of the operations of the system and develop positive and functional relationships between employees and their employer’s. Evidence based interventions such as contingency contracting, reinforcement systems, proficiency scales, feedback and communication, can all enhance the overall quality of work and employer-employee relations, thus making the work experience efficient, pleasing and rewarding while producing a positive atmosphere.

“The management of individual employee or a group of employees through the application of behavioral principles is called Performance Management (PM). The PM process usually involves the analysis of antecedents and consequences supporting the behaviors of individuals or groups within the organization and manipulating these variables to either decrease unproductive or increase productive performance” (Austin, 2000; Daniels & Daniels, 2004; Diener et al., 2009). Diener et al., also state “Common interventions used in PM include goal setting, feedback, job aids, token systems, lottery systems, etc.”
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