Organizational Behavior Management

Organizational Behavior Management


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). For more information, check out the OBM Network’s website.

Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) was originally influenced by Watson and Skinner. The starting point for using science in the workplace was based on Skinner’s behavioral principles. In addition, Fredick Taylor advocated the scientific method for improving  performance of employees and the overall organization. In 1977, The Journal of Organizational Behavior Management (JOBM) began and is a vital source of information for the field to this day. It is published by Haworth Press and is currently in its 32nd volume.

Many graduate programs have been established in OBM at a variety of universities offering graduates the opportunity to work in the private sector as external consultants. There are also opportunities in organizations as internal consultants, in the health and human services industry as program managers, as well as in academia.

Areas of OBM

Performance Management
Performance Management, also referred to as PM, is the management of individuals or groups of employees using behavioral principles. PM includes behavior analysis of behaviors, as well as their antecedents and consequences, to increase productivity or decrease unproductivity in the workplace (Austin, 2000; Daniels & Daniels, 2004; Diener et al., 2009). PM interventions typical in the work environment include; goal setting, feedback, job aids, token economies, lottery systems, and more (Diener et al., 2009).

Behavioral Systems Analysis
Behavioral Systems Analysis (BSA) outlines how each component of a system interacts and how individuals contribute to the system’s function (McGee, 2007). It helps identify variables that influence performance of individuals and of the organization. When analyzing the organization as a system, it is possible to determine areas of improvement in order to positively impact the organization as well as plan and manage the variables that assist the desired performance (Diener et al., 2009).

Behavior-Based Safety
Behavior-based safety in work environments reduces injuries while promoting safe behaviors in leaders and employees by focusing on the analysis of that work environment. Using evidence-based interventions, it is possible to enhance traditional safety using safety communication, feedback, and reinforcement. The goal is to rid the workplace of occupational hazards. The behavioral safety interventions allow employees to communicate about safety hazards, improve feedback systems, and promote the critical behaviors for safe operations using positive behavior management methods.