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Association for Behavior Analysis International

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Ninth International Conference; Paris, France; 2017

Event Details

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Paper Session #67
Topics in Organizational Management: Leadership Behavior
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
10:30 AM–11:20 AM
Studio F, Niveau 2
Area: OBM
Chair: Jonathan Krispin (Valdosta State University)
Leadership Versus Management: Does the Three-Term Operant Contingency Distinguish Between These Roles?
Domain: Theory
JONATHAN KRISPIN (Valdosta State University)
Abstract: Stogdill (1974) asserted that there were as many definitions of leadership as there were people trying to define it. This is evidently true among behaviorists as well despite our penchant for definitional precision. Some have defined leadership as effective application of operant principles leading to organizational success of some sort, while others have simply assumed the premise that leadership consists of behaviors exhibited by leaders, adding problem-solving, decision-making, and using verbal behavior to articulate organizational rules to the effective application of operant principles. Similarly, behavior analysis has struggled to define the distinction between manager and leader. The most common criterion for identifying a leader appears to be relative position on the organization chart; the superior is designated as leader, while the subordinate is designated as follower. The present paper presents a new conceptualization of leadership and management as complementary sets of behaviors explained in the three-term operant contingency. Simply stated, management behaviors are those related to organizational mechanics and are operations performed on the antecedent side of an operant/culturant, while leadership behaviors are those related to behavioral dynamics and, therefore are those operations performed on the consequence side of an operant /culturant in an organizational context. Implications are discussed.
 
Exploring the Issue of Leadership Succession During Large-Scale Organizational Change
Domain: Theory
DOUGLAS ROBERTSON (Florida International University), Martha Pelaez (Florida International University)
Abstract: Significant changes in a large organization often require interventions that produce immediate results and, simultaneously, interventions that build or transform the system to create sustained improvements. System building usually requires time, which means that leadership change may occur during the course of the change effort in an evolving organization. Previously, we have discussed a case study of interventions aimed at both immediate results and systems building at a large public metropolitan research university (enrollment: 56,000) that were designed to transform the administration of the undergraduate curriculum in order to reorient it toward significantly improving undergraduate student success. The complex set of university-wide interventions were branded the Graduation Success Initiative (GSI) and were able to improve the on-time graduation rate by 16 points in its four years of operation (2011-2015) and win a national award from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. Both macrobehaviors (behavioral patterns shared by a large proportion of individuals who occupy various roles in the university) and metacontingencies (recurring patterns of interlocking behavior contingencies that occur in nested hierarchies and exist at the cultural level) were targeted for change. In 2014, leadership changed at the university, and in 2015, rolling reorganizations began. As a result, contingency fields for the universitys existing change projects were de-stabilized, and reinforcement systems became unclear. The universitys production on performance based funding were affected within a year, and it dropped from the top three among the states 11 public universities to fifth, facing the real possibility the next year of falling to the bottom three and losing $26 million in performance based funding. This case study of changes in the contingency fields and reinforcement systems related to new leadership behavior raises the issue of productive ways to handle leadership succession while large scale organizational change is in progress, which is the subject of this paper.
 
 
 

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