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Organizational Behavior Management – Fundamentals of Organizational Behavior | Management Notes

Organizational Behavior Management

The Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) discipline is a subfield of applied behavior analysis (ABA), which aims to change organizational behavior using behavior analytic principles and contingency management techniques. OBM analyzes and employs antecedents, influencing behavior before it occurs, and consequences, what happens as a result of behavior, interventions which influence behavior linked to the mission and key objectives of the organization and its workers. Researchers have found that such interventions are effective in improving employee productivity, feedback delivery, safety, and morale in organizations.

Management of organizational behavior (OBM) involves assessing and improving the work environment to improve employee performance and workplace culture. The OBM consulting and management teams work in a variety of industries (e.g., health care, education, government, nonprofits, manufacturing, financial services, retail) to achieve meaningful and sustainable behavior change and improved business outcomes. A typical OBM practitioner facilitates organizational change, improves processes and systems, closes gaps in employee performance, develops staff, and supports the organization’s growth. Many organizations experience reduced accidents and injuries, improved employee retention, improved customer satisfaction and retention, improved quality standards, and increased revenue and profits.

History of Organizational Behavior Management

The emergence of OBM can be traced to the foundation of behavior analysis, as pioneered by B.F. Skinner. In his 1953 book Science and Human Behavior, Skinner stressed the use of money to increase desired behaviors, wage schedules, and higher praise levels for desired behavior. It was Skinner’s introduction of programmed instruction to the educational system that arguably contributed most to the emergence of OBM. Organizational settings seemed to benefit from aspects of programmed instruction, especially training. Behavioral principles were applied to organizational settings for the first time. In the 1960s, Owen Ald is published his paper “Of Pigeons and Men” in which he proposes using reinforcement schedules in industries as a first OBM article for publication in the Harvard Business Review in 1961, sparking the development of OBM research.

Journal of Organizational Behavior Management

As an early milestone in the field of Organizational Behavior Management, the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management (JOBM) was founded in 1977. The first board of editors for JOBM consisted of 25 individuals, including Aubrey Daniels as editor and Larry Miller as manager editor. The application of behavioral principles to organizational settings was previously described by a variety of names, but the development of JOBM solidified the use of the term Organizational Behavior Management to describe this type of application. Journal of Organizational Behavior Modification (JOBM) aims to publish review articles and research papers relating to ABA principles used to improve organizations through behavioral change.

Performance measurement, performance level interventions, goal setting, feedback, incentive programs, and evidence-based management are all addressed in JOBM. JOBM was ranked third among the journals in applied psychology in the Journal Citation Reports ranking in 2003, further establishing JOBM as a high-quality journal. As of today, JOBM has 72 members on its editorial board. Its editor is Dr. Ramona Houmanfar.

Applied Areas of Organizational Behavior Management


Performance Management

Performance management (PM) is the application of behavioral principles to the supervision and management of an individual or a group of employees. In PM, antecedents and consequences supporting an individual’s or group’s behavior are analyzed and these variables are manipulated to either decrease unproductive behavior or increase productive behavior. PM interventions typically include goal setting, feedback, job aids, token systems, and lottery systems.

Behavioral Systems Analysis

In Behavioral Systems Analysis (BSA), we analyze how the components of the system interact, as well as how each individual contributes to the overall functioning of the system. We can use BSA to analyze the organization outside of the basic three-term contingencies of antecedents, behaviors, and consequences to identify variables that can significantly influence individual and organizational performance. When one analyses the organization as a whole, one can identify areas for improvement that will produce the greatest positive impact on the organization and focus on planning and managing variables that support desirable performance.

Behavior-Based Safety

In behavior-based safety, leaders and employees work together to reduce injuries and promote safe behavior. It can be applied to complement and enhance traditional safety controls, which have traditionally focused on safety communication, feedback, and reinforcement processes. Occupational hazards should always be eliminated from the workplace as the first priority of safety. Substitutions and engineering controls should follow. As administrative controls, behavioral processes can be used to promote safety priorities and protective behavior at all levels of an organization.


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Organizational Behavior | All of the Basic Concepts


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