Management And Organisational Behaviour

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Management and Organisational Behaviour

Management and Organisational Behaviour


If one were to ask business managers to identify the most common problems they have in the workplace, most would likely say people problems for example, employees' lack of motivation, difficulty hiring the right staff, and trouble preventing turnover. Remedies for such problems include managers searching for motivated employees who have good attitudes and who are conscientious. Managers expend much energy finding and keeping employees with these coveted characteristics, and human resource specialists, psychologists, and consultants spend considerable time developing procedures to select such people.

In popular business books, one tends to find that most researchers focus on the personality traits and characteristics of desirable and undesirable employees for example, whether employees have a good attitude or whether they are motivated but pay very little attention to why certain employees have a bad attitude or why others are not motivated. Typical approaches to addressing people problems in the workplace tend to describe good and poor performers but fail to focus on changing what people at work actually do. Unfortunately, if organisational results are not where they should be, the primary culprit is, in fact, what people are or, maybe more important, are not doing. As Daniels and Daniels (2004) stated, “Every result is produced by someone doing something. If you want to improve results, you must first get employees to change what they are doing” (p. 27). Thus, if a manager can understand how to change behaviour and maintain that change, she will have a significant advantage over her competitors. Organisational behaviour management (OBM) is a “systematic, data-oriented approach to managing behaviour in the workplace” (A. C. Daniels, 2004, p. 4) and can provide such an advantage.

Because of the competitive nature of business in today's global and fast-paced economy, there is a great deal of pressure on organisations to (a) change rapidly in order to keep pace and (b) employ methods that their competitors are using. This pressure to change rapidly can result in organisations implementing popular interventions without empirical support for efficacy. Consequently, organisations may spend an inordinate amount of money on ineffective systems (e.g., management by wandering around). In a popular 1980s book, Peters and Waterman (2003) identified 43 organisations they considered to be excellent for a number of reasons. Bailey and Austin (2006), however, subsequently reanalyzed these organisations and reported that only 14 of the original 43 organisations would have still been considered excellent just 2 years later. Why such attrition? Most likely, these organisations were implementing unsupported fads that did not sustain long-term, real performance change. OBM, in contrast, approaches workplace people problems by relying on science-based methods and behaviour-analytic principles.

Behaviour analysis is the scientific study of behaviour, and applied behaviour analysis (ABA) is the application of behavioural principles in an attempt to solve problems of social relevance (Baer, Wolf, & Risley, 2005). Although behavioural researchers have studied basic principles of learning for well over a century, they began applying these principles in the workplace only in the ...
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