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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Paper Session #239
Supporting Staff Performance Through Organizational Behavior Management
Sunday, May 26, 2019
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Hyatt Regency West, Ballroom Level, Regency Ballroom A
Area: OBM
Instruction Level: Basic
Chair: Michelle Fuhr (University Pediatricians Autism Center)
Using Ethical Standards to Combat Negativity in the Workplace
Domain: Service Delivery
MICHELLE FUHR (University Pediatricians Autism Center; Wayne State University)
Abstract: Negative workplace cultures reduce employee satisfaction (Morrison R.L, 2008; Venkataramani, G., Labianca, G., & Grosser, T., 2013) which can have a detrimental effect on the company and the clients it serves. Although people typically enjoy a positive culture in the workplace, negative culture can occur through ineffective conflict resolution. As Behavior Analysts, we have ethical obligations which should limit our participation in negative workplace culture as well as encourage our commitment to positive culture. This extends to our ethical obligations when supervising others and expands to our commitment to our field. Our opinions of other treatment facilities and providers can foster a negative culture in our field and create an offensive image. Participants are encouraged to ask themselves: What is my role in creating and maintaining a positive culture? And what do our ethical guidelines recommend for conflict resolution? Determining what our roles are in contributing to a positive culture, and using our ethical standards to combat negativity, we can make a more positive environment with less turnover.

Effects of Aggression Subtypes in Adults With Developmental Disabilities on Direct Support Professional Job Turnover and Performance Outcomes

Domain: Service Delivery
ROSE NEVILL (University of Virginia), Susan Havercamp (Ohio State University)

There is an estimated annual turnover of 48.1 to 53.6% (M = 50%) in direct support professionals working with adults with autism and related developmental disabilities. Risk of turnover is substantially increased when direct support professionals are required to manage challenging behaviors, such as aggression, in the work environment. Such a high turnover rate translates into reduced continuity of care, negatively impacted quality of behavioral interventions that are delivered, and in turn reduced quality of life of care recipients. The current study explored the relationship between subtypes of aggression experienced, turnover, and cognitive outcomes of direct support professionals supporting adults with developmental disabilities. Results found that being the recipient of verbal aggression from adults with DD predicted a significantly higher risk of burnout and job turnover in direct support professionals than other aggression subtypes, such as physical aggression, despite caregivers indicated experiencing an equal severity of aggression across subtypes. These findings are used to make recommendations for the implementation of function-based treatments for verbal aggression while exploring opportunities for promoting direct support professionals’ coping behavior, such that risk of burnout and staff turnover is minimized.

Clinical Decision Modeling in Behavior Analysis: An Organizational Management Approach for the Adherence of Scientific and Ethical Standards
Domain: Service Delivery
MICHAEL JAMES CAMERON (University of Southern California ), Penny Gilliotte (University of Southern California), Alexandria Emily Leidt (University of Southern California)
Abstract: Decision theory involves the construction of a system of behaviors fundamental to planning, and the process for acting on a decision. Selecting an option for behavior-based action implies that there are alternative decision pathways to be considered. In consequence, within a decision-making process, it is necessary to: (a) identify the scope of reasonable choices; (b) select the option that aligns with stakeholder values, goals, objectives, mandates and applicable laws, and; (c) develop a decision implementation plan. Although decision modeling has been used for over a decade in scientific disciplines such as medicine, the methodology is in a nascent stage of development within behavior analysis. However, the field of behavior analysis is poised to benefit from advances in other disciplines and to build upon the important contributions of LeBlanc, Raetz, Sellers, and Carr (2016) and Brodhead (2018). The purpose of this paper is to: (1) describe and demonstrate a technology-enabled platform for designing decision models, (2) provide an overview of areas in behavior analysis that will benefit from a Clinical Decision Support System (CDSS), and (3) support the community of Board Certified Behavior Analysts, Board Certified assistant Behavior Analysts, and Registered Behavior Technicians interested in optimizing clinical and ethical accountability by using an information and knowledge management system.
Improving Staff Performance in a Clinical, Behavior Analytic Setting: An Empirical Study
Domain: Applied Research
MADELINE JANE BURKE (Applied Behavior Services, LLC)
Abstract: The present study evaluates the effects of an interdependent group positive reinforcement system compared to an interdependent group positive reinforcement system with a response cost system on staff performance. This study takes place in a clinical, behavior analytic setting that serves children with autism, developmental disabilities, and emotional disturbances. Performance areas measured in this study include arriving to work on time, maintaining work area organization, accurately collecting data, correctly implementing client programs, communicating with supervisors, obtaining their walkie-talkie, charging their walkie-talkie, performing their daily chore, and going the extra mile (helping others with their tasks, taking on an extra chore, etc.). Four groups of randomly sorted participants competed to earn the most points by the end of each phase of the study and to earn the most overall most points at the conclusion of the study. Results showed that positive reinforcement system alone increased staff performance at a greater rate than positive reinforcement system with the response cost system. Based on results, recommendations are provided for the use of various reinforcement systems to improve staff performance in clinical settings and for future research.



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