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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #314
CE Offered: BACB
Supporting Better Management Practices: Research on Response Deprivation, Countercontrol, and Performance Scorecards
Sunday, May 26, 2019
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Hyatt Regency West, Ballroom Level, Toronto
Area: OBM; Domain: Translational
Chair: Elizabeth Virginia Krulder (California State University, Fresno)
Discussant: Todd A. Ward (bSci21 Media, LLC)
CE Instructor: Sharlet D. Rafacz, Ph.D.
Abstract: There are a number of important areas for further research within the field of Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) to better inform managers on how to improve employees' behavior. As one example, response deprivation may assist managers with increasing performance without the addition of costly reinforcers, but research within OBM is limited and several studies suffer from methodological limitations. Countercontrol can also be a concern for management, yet many of the publications in this area are theoretical or countercontrol is invoked as a post hoc explanation rather than being empirically investigated. Finally, performance scorecards (also known as the performance matrix) are a package intervention that includes a number of empirically-supported components for management to utilize in increasing a variety of workplace behaviors. However, further research regarding the necessary components of the scorecard is needed. The current symposium will present both analogue and applied research in each of these areas and discuss how the results have implications for future research but also for how management designs systems to motivate and improve employee performance.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience: Behavior Analysts, particularly those who are conducting research in organizational behavior management and/or are currently a supervisor or manager in their organization.
The Effects of Response Deprivation on Employee Performance in an Analogue Work Setting
(Basic Research)
ROBBYN WOOD (California State University, Fresno), Sharlet D. Rafacz (California State University, Fresno)
Abstract: The response deprivation model includes depriving a behavior below baseline levels and then providing access to the behavior contingent on the completion of a different behavior. With the response deprivation model, supervisors can use any behavior that is already occurring, particularly low-probability behaviors, as a reinforcer for any other behavior. This is particularly important for organizations because it decreases the need for other, more costly reinforcers, such as money. Within the field of Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) there have been few studies conducted utilizing response deprivation within a work environment. Those studies that have been conducted evaluated the effects of restricting high-probability behaviors; however, a majority of the behaviors in a work environment are low-probability behaviors. As such, the purpose of the current study was to examine the effects of restricting access to high- and low-probability behaviors and making access to those behaviors contingent on performing a different high- or low-probability behavior in an analogue work setting. The effects of restricted access to high-probability or low-probability tasks was evaluated in an alternating treatments design with five participants. Results of this study and how they inform managerial practices and future research will be discussed.

Evaluation of an Experimental Procedure to Evoke Countercontrol in an Organizational Analogue

(Basic Research)
ALEXIS BARAJAS (California State University, Fresno ), Miguel Angel Vieyra (California State University, Fresno), Sharlet D. Rafacz (California State University, Fresno)

One way an individual can control another person's behavior is through aversive consequences, such as threats of punishment. In behavioral research this is referred to as aversive control. Aversive control is widespread in our culture and its use is concerning because it frequently evokes negative side effects. Countercontrol is one of these negative side effects. Countercontrol is an operant response that is evoked by aversive control and that functions to punish the user of aversive control. This may take the form of acts of rebellion, revolution, protest, sabotage, and terrorism. Organizational settings frequently utilize aversive control and more research is needed to determine under what conditions the side effects of aversive control, such as countercontrol, may be evoked. The purpose of the current study was to create an organizational analogue in which statements made by a manager may evoke countercontrol responses. The study used an ABCDCD reversal design, and a total of 14 participants completed the procedure. Results indicated that the majority of participants did not engage in countercontrol, however, the procedure may have resulted in countercontrol responding by several participants. How individual results may inform managerial practices and future research will be discussed.

Flexibility in Goal Attainment: The Role of Overachievement in Performance Matrices
(Applied Research)
BLAIN HOCKRIDGE (California Autism Center & Learning Group), Sharlet D. Rafacz (California State University, Fresno)
Abstract: There are few studies in the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management (JOBM) that examine the effectiveness of individual goal setting components (O’Hora & Maglieri, 2006). For instance, some versions of the performance matrix, an employee behavior scorecard, allow employees to achieve points above a specified goal level (overachievement) for certain behaviors to make up for other goals that are not met even though there is no evidence to justify doing this (Daniels & Daniels, 2006). While some versions of the performance matrix are used frequently in applied settings, little research regarding their utilization is available (Plowman, 2005). As such, the current study examined the effect that eliminating the possibility of overachievement on a performance matrix would have on the safe driving behavior of six fork lift drivers at a ceramics manufacturing company. The overachievement and non-overachievement matrices were compared in a counterbalanced ABACX and ACABX reversal design. Results of the study showed that both versions of the performance matrix significantly increased the safe driving behaviors of all participants, but differences in level of improvement, cost, and employee preference may have implications for designing performance matrices in the future.
How Priority Weights Effect Employee Behavior Allocation on Performance Scorecards
(Applied Research)
SHARLET D. RAFACZ (California State University, Fresno), Andrew Olson (California State University, Fresno)
Abstract: Only a small number of studies in the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management (JOBM) have examined the effect that performance matrices (also known as performance scorecards) have on employee performance. The performance matrix is a multicomponent intervention that targets several performance measures simultaneously using goal setting, feedback, and incentives. The limited research in this area tends to target groups of individuals and very few studies provide an analysis of the individual components or interventions present in the performance matrix. One such component is the priority weighting of target behaviors. The purpose of the current study was to investigate the effect that priority weight manipulation on a performance matrix has on behavioral allocation across target behaviors. Utilizing an alternating treatments design, five participants were exposed to two sets of priority weighting across four target behaviors. Specifically, equal weighting (25% for each behavior) was alternated weekly with a matrix that had prioritized weighting (40%, 40%, 10%, 10%). The goal was to see how high, equal and low weights impact individual performance and how shifting weights may further increase or decrease target behaviors. Results of the intervention will be presented and how these findings inform design of performance scorecards in the future discussed.



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