OBM Articles

OBM Articles

OBM Articles by Dr. Malott

Get more of a taste for Organizational Behavior Management by reading some articles written by Dr. Malott.


What OBM Needs Is More Jewish Mothers

It is cool to think out of the box, but never out of THE box, never out of the Skinner box.

E. Scott Geller’s main problem is that he’s a mentalist in behavior-analyst clothing. And his main virtue is that he’s a mentalist in behavior-analyst clothing. I disagree with everything Geller (2002) and Steve Roberts (2002) wrote. But I agree with their main point. Their main point is not that we would better sell behavior analysis to mentalists, if we too became mentalists; that was just an excuse for Scott and Steve to hop on their soap box and preach mentalism in the guise of Scott’s active-caring model. Their main point is that we would be better OBMers, if we became mentalists.

What I agree with in their main point is not that we should become mentalists but that we should follow Skinner’s lead by abandoning methodological behaviorism and by adopting radical behaviorism. In other words, we should concern ourselves with private (covert) events in our natural science of behavior analysis. (By the way, I would like to thank Scott and Steve for sharing their soap box and allowing me to preach radical behaviorism, especially as they knew in advance that I would bite the hand that helped me onto their box.)

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Conceptual Behavior Analysis (2017)

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by lust for the straight semi-log transform, drilling ever deeper into the void of free-operant chaos, who floating across everyday life, attempted to perfectly fit the new king– autistic child, striking worker, deciding executive, forcing the cool babe of conceptual analysis down the drain with the hypothetic-deductive bath water of mentalism, eager to justify, confusing analog with homologue, functional equivalent with fundamental equivalent, justifying the Skinner box in terms of applications, the applications in terms of the Skinner box.
This commentary addresses three issues concerning the excellent argument of Normand, Bucklin, and Austin (1998): the lack of conceptual analyses, the importance of conceptual analyses, and the difficulty of conceptual analyses.

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Achieving the Positive Life Through Negative Reinforcement (2010)

Based on the three-contingency model of performance management, I make the following argument: (1) Often, we fail to behave as we should because the natural contingencies supporting appropriate behavior are ineffective; the natural contingencies involve outcomes for each individual response that are either too small, though of cumulative significance, or outcomes that are too improbable. The delay of the outcome is essentially irrelevant. The psychodynamic model of the cognitive motivational theorists provides a poor explanation for why we fail to behave as we should. (2) The performance-management contingencies in organizational behavior management (OBM) must usually involve deadline-induced aversive control, even when they are based on powerful reinforcers. Furthermore, such performance management succeeds only to the extent that the person behavioral history, “jewish mother,” has inculcated an appropriate value system. Wiegand and Geller’s critique of the necessity of the use of aversive control fails to take into account the necessity of deadlines and the difference between instrumental and hedonic reinforcers; furthermore, it greatly over values the power of intrinsic reinforcement contingencies in OBM.

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Gerencia de Sistemas Conductuales y Diagnóstico de Cambio Organizacional en Partidos Políticos
(Behavioral Systems Management and Diagnosis of Organizational Change in Political Parties) (2008)

The organizational functioning of an “exemplary” political party was described using “The Total Performance System”, an organizational diagnostic tool of the Behavioral Systems Management theoretical approach. In addition, ten leaders of the political parties in Venezuela. The analysis was carried out using the Behavioral System Management Model (BSM). The study was transversal and descriptive, with qualitative and quantitative characteristics. It was significant that none of the leaders interviewed regarded clients of political parties (militants, sympathizers or general citizens) as an element to take into account for the change process. Only one of them mentioned the need to communicate or receive feedback from party members, sympathizers or citizens at large. These results suggest the need for Venezuelan political parties to reviewing change their strategic planning and especially the communication process at the intra and extra–organizational level. Arguments are provided to support the relevance of both the total performance system diagram and the behavioral systems management approach for explaining and understanding the functioning of political parties as organizations.

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Trait-Based Personality Theory (2002)

Behavior analysts can and should but rarely do account for the ontogenic continuity of behavior, thus leaving the field open to the reified, biological-deterministic traits of personality theorists.

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The EO in OBM (2001)

Olson, Laraway, and Austin (2001) propose an increased emphasis on the establishing operation in organizational behavior management. Their proposal raises interesting questions about theory, science, and practice. (1) What should be the role of theory in behavior analysis? (2) Should we try to find problems that match our solutions or vice versa? (3) What is the relative importance of the establishing operation and the performance-management contingency in managing organizational behavior? (4) Should theory and basic research be more informed by the issues raised in applied settings?

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Maintenance of Interventions:  (2000)

An exchange between Dr. Malott and Nadia about the Behavioral Research Supervisory System and maintaining interventions put into place by graduate and PhD students for their thesis and dissertation work.

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Comments on the Dissemination of Behavioral Technology (1996)

I agree with essentially all Shimamune (1996) has said concerning the dissemination of behavioral technology. Furthermore, I think his observations are insightful and nontrivial; and the implementation of his proposal could do much to further the impact of B.F. Skinner in the 21st century. In this commentary, I will simply supplement what he has said, much to the same spirit of what he has said.

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A Goal Directed Model for the Design of Human Performance Systems (1987)

A behavior systems analysis perspective is employed to guide development of a goal-directed model for the design of human performance systems presented in this article. The goal-directed model is discussed in terms of the following: (1) it’s basic concepts (i.e., system, behavioral system, and behavioral systems analysis), (2) the importance and implications of identifying the ultimate goals, (3) a description of a goal-directed model for the design of systems, and (4) a specification of the criteria for defining objectives that will lead to achievement of the ultimate goals. Finally, it is suggested that use of a goal-directed model would help organizations move toward accomplishing their ultimate goals.

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Power in Organizations

This critique of Goltz and Hietapelto’s operant model of power suggests: the definition of power and leadership are too narrow, powerful leaders rarely manage performance through operant contingencies, the opportunity to manage the behavior of others is rarely the reinforcer controlling the behavior of the powerful, the aversiveness of control by the powerful is rarely the basis for resistance to organizational change, much behavior-analytic extrapolation from the Skinner box is unwarranted, and much behavior-analytic theorizing is uncomfortably close to the hypotheticodeductive theorizing about which Skinner warned us.

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A Review of The Courage Factor: Living People-Based Leadership by E. Scott Geller and Bob Veazie

This is a book review of The Courage Factor by E. Scott Geller and Bob Veazie. “Give this book to anyone you want to turn on to behavioral approaches to safety.”

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