HOW TO IMPROVE HUMAN PERFORMANCE --- BEHAVIORISM
IN BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY by Thomas K. Connellan. Harper & Row, 1978



PREFACE (px)

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS (pxi)

1) THE PERFORMANCE CRISIS (p1-11)

2) SYSTEMS THEORY AND HUMAN PERFORMANCE (p12-23)

3) BEHAVIOR AND PERFORMANCE IN ORGANIZATIONS (p24-40)

    3.1) Historical perspective of behaviorism in business and industry (p24-28)

    3.2) Behavior, performance, and management (p28-40)

      [1] What is behavior? (p28-32)

      [2] Personality and behavior (p32-33)

      [3] Motivation and behavior (p33-35)

        Table 3.1 Nonbehaviors, Behaviors and Results:

        Behaviorists don't deal with abstractions but with specific behavior patterns. They are not concerned with changing a behavior that does not affect job performance. They look for a relationship between a behavior that needs to be changed and improvement of organizational performance.

        They look at job-related behavior and try to increase the number of behaviors that are helping move organizational performance in the right direction. They seek techniques of reducing or altogether eliminating those behaviors that are counterproductive to job performance. (p34-35)

    3.3) Seeking high-impact areas for improvement --- Small changes in employee behavior can produce dramatic results in job accomplishments. (p35-40)

4) ANALYZING HUMAN PERFORMANCE PROBLEMS (41-57)

    4.1) Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs" (42-45)

      [1] Physiological needs (p42-43)

      [2] Need for security (p43-44)

      [3] Social needs (p44)

      [4] Need for esteem (p44-45)

      [5] Self-Actualization (p45)

Click on the following graphic perspective of Maslow's famous theory, for more details:

MASLOW'S THEORY OF MOTIVATION AND HUMAN NEEDS

Maslow's Theory


Motivation and Human Needs

4.2) Fulfillment of needs --- Ego needs are met on the job by recognition given for work well done; by opportunities for accomplishment, achievement, and independence of action. Self -actualization is met on the job by giving an individual the opportunity to realize his or her full potential. People at this level of "self -actualization" or "need gratification" are generally engaged in a continual program of self-development and find that the job itself provides its own intrinsic rewards. (p45-48)

    [1] Predictability --- We can say in advance what will occur if certain conditions are present in the job situation. (p47)

    [2] Measurability --- We can not only predict what will happen but we can also measure changes in operational results or changes in employee behavior as a result of instituting changes in the job. (p47)

    [3] Understandability --- We know the cause-and-efect relationships between the behavioral events we are examining. (p47)

    [4] Controllability --- We have the ability to change the conditions under which behavior is taking place and to produce the outcomes we predicted. (p47)

Now there is a scientific approach or "technology" to predicting, measuring, understanding, and controlling human behavior, which makes it possible for you to increase the amount of behavior in your organization that is supportive of organizational goals, and you can decrease, minimize or eliminate behavior that is nonsupportive of organizational goals! (p48)

4.3) The ABC's of behavior (p48-57)

These basic principles are worth knowing. In school you learn your ABC's of the English language vocabulary. It's not oversimplifying this issue to suggest that there are "ABC's of Work Behavior" as well. (p48)

    [1] Antecedent --- The antecedent is what happens before the behavior occurs. It is a stimulus that provokes the behavior and is often in the form of cues from the environment including, but not limited to, something that someone else says or does, job routing cards, standards or objectives, notices on the employee bulletin board, machinery or equipment-any cues for employees suggesting they behave in a certain manner. (p48)

    [2] Behavior --- This is something that the employee says or does on the job. It is usually an overt action such as filing a report, stamping a piece of paper, painting a part, coming to work on time-any one of a multitude of behaviors in which an employee engages in getting a job done. (p48)

    [3] Consequence --- This is what happens after the employee behaves in a certain manner on the job. Consequences of behavior include bonuses, overtime pay, reprimands for excessive scrap, compliments for high-quality work, derision or compliments from fellow employees, or even attending a sales meeting in Honolulu. (p48)

FIGURE 4.3 Basic Model of Behavior

From this basic model, it is possible to analyze human behavior at work. It is interesting to note the relationships between behavior, antecedent, and consequence. For instance, examination of the antecedent can tell you a great deal about whether that behavior will occur at all. It does not, however, tell you much about whether that behavior will occur again!

Consider the case of an employee who is new to the job. Suppose that he is working for a contractor and his foreman welcomes him to the job, gives him a hard hat, and says that hard hats are very important. "We all wear hard hats around here for a couple of reasons. First, it is required by OSHA and second, the hard hat will keep a rivet from seriously injuring you, if a rivet were to fall from one of the upper stories and land on your head." This statement is the antecedent to the behavior of wearing a hard hat.

If all we knew about the job situation was this information, we could safely predict that the employee would wear the hard hat, at least for a while. Having instructed the employee on the importance of wearing a hard hat, showing him how to put it on, and making sure it is adjusted to the proper size, we might well leave him and walk away, secure in the knowledge that he will now wear his hard hat. Sure enough, we come by a couple of hours later and find him walking around with his hard hat firmly in place, thus protecting himself from the dangers that abound on the construction job.

With our mind at ease, we can now go about our other duties. However, we have considered only two of the three elements in our basic analytical model for examining job behavior (the ANTECEDENT and the BEHAVIOR). We note with satisfaction that the behavior is occurring at least during the first day on the job. We have not yet examined the consequences of wearing the hard hat, which determine whether the behavior will continue to occur.

Let's suppose that about a week later we go back and find, much to our chagrin and embarrassment, that the employee is no longer wearing his or her hard hat. Still concentrating only on the first two parts of our model (antecedent and behavior), we might conclude that he or she had forgotten our instruction, and we might again inform him why wearing the hard hat is important as well as giving him or her the correct techniques for adjusting hat size and making sure the hat is firmly in place. Once again, he or she acknowledges his or her understanding of our explanation, places his or her hard hat firmly in place, and marches off to perform his or her tasks. The next day we notice that by mid-morning that he or she is no longer wearing his or her hard hat.

We might conclude that although examining the behavior and what happens just before it is useful in predicting the behavior's first occurrence, it is perhaps not so useful in predicting whether that behavior will occur again. Pleased with our insightful look into human behavior, we would then begin to observe the consequences of that behavior. Examining this portion of the behavioral model, we note the following consequences:

    (1) It is August and very hot. The hard hat does not give much ventilation and can be extremely uncomfortable during the summer months.

    (2) Our new employee has found out that no one in the last three years has been injured while not wearing a hard hat, and he or she is willing to take a chance that he or she won't be injured.

    (3) We overheard two of his or her colleagues teasing him or her at lunchtime and asking whether he or she was going to put some stick-on flowers on his or her hard hat so it would look cute.

It begins to be clearer why the hard hat was removed (Figure 4.4). In examining the BEHAVIOR and the CONSEQUENCES that relate to it, we can rather accurately predict whether the behavior will occur again. The general foreman can make the behavior start to occur, but he or she has a lot of work ahead of him or her to ensure that the employee will continue wearing the hard hat. The general foreman's directions are not enough to cause the behavior to be sustained beyond a few hours. In fact, the consequences are such that the employee wears his hard hat only when the general foreman is present, he removes it whenever the foreman is way.

The employee has the ability to relate certain consequences to certain cues, or antecedents, of behavior, and he or she behaves accordingly.

FIGURE 4.4 Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence Relationships

Using this basic model of "Antecedent, Behavior, and Consequence" as a starting point, we may develop a model for analyzing human behavior. We must observe the individual in his or her job environment and examine those factors that affect the antecedent that leads to the behavior. We have to examine the behavior itself and the job situation in which the behavior takes place so that we can alter the elements that affect the work behavior. We must also study the job situation to determine whether the behavior has positive consequences for the employee.

To develop trouble-shooting skills in analyzing human performance problems so that we will have a "technology" for dealing with these problems, we must stay within the parameters (limits) of the "Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence" model. This model gives us the basis for examining human performance problems in the job situation. More importantly, using this behavioral model gives us a methodology for attacking problems that have previously defied definition and solution, such as "morale," "attitude," and "motivation." The model forces us to examine the individual in the job situation by asking the question in Table 4.1. If there is a performance problem, we have to analyze that problem and develop solutions to it; but to do this we must first develop answers to each question. Then we can determine where the problem lies and find the solution to it.

TABLE 4.1 Performance Analysis

ANTECEDENT


      [1] Does the employee know what is expected?
      Are the standards clear?
      Have they been communicated?
      Are they realistic?

      BEHAVIOR


      [2] Can the work behavior be performed?
      Could the employee do it if his or her life depended upon it?
      Does something prevent its occurrence?

      CONSEQUENCE


      [3] Are the consequences weighted in favor of "good" performance?

      [4] Is there feedback about the consequences in relation to job performance?
      If yes, is the feedback immediate, specific, positive?

      [5] Are improvements being reinforced?
      Do we note improvements even though the improvement
      may still leave the employee below company standards?
      Is reinforcement specific?

NOTE --- If the manager is going to use this information, he or she should not ask the questions we have posed because he or she will only get opinions. Opinions are not very useful in building a sound technology for changing human behavior.

What is essential is going into the organization and gathering information so that the manager can develop answers to the questions based upon factual data, not just employee opinions.

This is a somewhat lengthy process but a more successful one. In answering the questions, people often put into the answers their opinions, biases, and other irrelevant information. To develop a workable solution to human performance problems requires effective decision-making ability. A "good" decision based upon "poor" information is a "lousy decision" (ineffective and/or inefficient)!

If you want to avoid lousy decisions regarding human performance, don't ask the questions expressed here! Go gather your own information so that YOU can effectively develop your own answers!

      ANTECEDENTS --- Does the employee know what is expected?

      WORK BEHAVIOR --- Can the work behavior be performed?

      CONSEQUENCES --- Are the consequences positive for performing
      correctly? Is there good feedback? Are improvements being noticed and
      reinforced?

Our model as shown in Figure 4.5 has important implications for today's managers. In the context of this model, a manager's job can be defined as encompassing these specific responsibilities:

    [1] Specifying the needed behaviors to accomplish the job. Setting the standards of performance related to those behaviors. Seeing that the cues (antecedents) for the job behavior are clear. Seeing that nothing interferes with the task being performed so that the relationship between the antecedent and the behavior is not broken.

    [2] Arranging some positive feedback as a consequence for the correct behavior. Seeing that this necessary feedback is imparted to the employee. Reinforcing improvements in employee performance.

    [3] Within the context of the elements discussed so far, we can construct the model shown in Figure 4.6. This model encompasses the basic concept of "Antecedent- Behavior-Consequence" examined earlier. It includes those parts of the model that are related in the first seven steps and combines it with what we will examine in the remaining chapters of the book (steps 8 through 13).

5) OBJECTIVES AS ANTECEDENTS TO BEHAVIOR (p58-73)

    5.1) Expectations and standards: antecedents to behavior (p58-59)

    5.2) Expectations and behavior (p59-62)

    5.3) The importance of "outlining" specific job expectations (p62-64)

      [1] As a system of leadership within an organization, a "results-orientation" that outlines specific job expectations is of substantial benefit and unquestionable value. First, it is based upon both organizational and individual performance. By specifiying accomplishments that are needed, organization goals and objectives of employees are spelled out. Everyone moves in the same direction toward the accomplishment of organizational objectives. (p62-63)

      [2] At each level of the organization, there are specific job behaviors that each individual has to perform if goals are to be met. Each employee in the "chain-of-command" has to develop specific "action plans" to ensure that the targets are met. (p63)

      [3] If the "targets" are not being met, the behaviors associated with the targets are probably not being performed!

      [4] The supervisor of the nonperforming employee must begin the "coaching" process, clarifying goals and showing what behavior is required.

    5.4) Sources of information for "job standards" (p64-67)

    Figure 5.2 Flow Chart Analysis

    5.5) The use of performance indicators in establishing "Standards of Performance" (p67-70)

      [1] Quantity = How many someone produces.

      [2] Quality = How well he or she does it.

      [3] Timeliness = How long it takes.

      [4] Costs = How much it costs the organization!

    5.6) Characteristics of good standards (p70-73)

      If a "work standard" is to be a useful guide for the employee ("job performer") ---

        [1] It must be specific, realistic and sensitive to change!

        [2] It must fit the requirements of the observable job!

        [3] It must describe the terms of job outputs!

      Summary: The first characteristic (or requirement) for setting useful work standards is that they have specificity. The second requirement for good work standards is that they are realistic. The third characteristic of good work standards is that the standards fit the requirements of the job. The fourth characteristic (or requirement) is that they must be observable or measurable!

      Example: Olympic runner being told what a time limit is to qualify and then removing the timing clock before he or she runs! (p73)

      If there is no "tracking" mechanism (or "measuring criteria") for determing performance "rating values," there is NO observable or measurable "work standard." Therefore, the performance rating system is ineffective and inefficient!

6) TRAINING AS A "BEHAVIOR-CHANGE AGENT" (74-90)

    6.1)Training effectiveness (p75-78)

    6.2) Developing objectives (p78-79)

    6.3) Objective-oriented content (p79-80)

    6.4) Training methods (p80-84)

    6.5) Maximizing "ROI" (Return on Investment) in human asset development (p84-89)

      [1] Look for job-related performance change in training management (p8485)

      [2] Check the potential "ROI" before you develop (p85-87)

      [3] Make sure the job environment supports developmental efforts (p87-89)

7) IDENTIFYING CONSEQUENCES OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR (p90-105)

8) DESIGNING FEEDBACK SYSTEMS (p106-122)

    8.1) Feedback should be specific in relating to a goal (p115-118)

    8.2) Wherever possible, feedback should be self-administered (p118-119)

    8.3) Express Feedback POSITIVELY Instead of negatively (p119-120)

    8.4) Feedback should be immediate (p120-122)

    8.5) Relevant feedback should go to ALL levels of the organization (p122)

9) REINFORCEMENT TECHNIQUES --- HOW TO DEVELOP BEHAVIOR (123-142)

    9.1) Types of reinforcers (p127-131)

    9.2) Contingency management (p131-133)

    9.3) Shaping (p133-136)

    9.4) Scheduling reinforcement (p136-142)

10) HOW TO STOP BEHAVIOR --- PUNISHMENT AND EXTINCTION (p143-151)

    10.1) Punishment (p143-147)

    10.2) When to use punishment (p147-148)

    10.3) Extinction (p148-151)

    10.4) Reinforcing incompatible behaviors (p151)

11) KEY INGREDIENTS IN DEVELOPING BEHAVIOR-CHANGE PROGRAMS (p152-163)

    11.1) Selection of appropriate projects (p153-154)

    11.2) Avoiding the fad effect (p154-155)

    11.3) Willingness to tolerate setbacks (p155-156)

    11.4) Commitment from the top of the appropriate rrganizational unit (p156-157)

    11.5) Development by line management (p157-158)

    11.6) Patience in obtaining results (p158)

    11.7) Relationships to standards of performance and breakthrough objectives (p158-159)

    11.8) Subordinate involvement in projects (p159)

    11.9) Data collection (p159-160)

    11.10) The Hawthorne Effect (p160-163)

12) APPLICATIONS (164-180)

    12.1) Quality control (p166-170)

    12.2) Sales improvement (p170-174)

    12.3) Warehouse management (p174-177)

    12.4) Health care (p177-178)

    12.5) Rippling stone effect (p179-180)

    12.6) Behavior change and self-management (p180)

      [1] Behavioral technology has helped managers improve the performance of their individual departments and the overall organization. In each case, however, a key ingredient precedes the improvement. That is, the manager's own behavior must change!

      [2] To repeat, the use of behavioral technology in organizations can be successful IF managers are willing to change their own behavior first. Behavioral technology thus becomes a system of self-management.

      [3] Behavioral technology forces managers to examine performance problems and examine HOW their own behavior might be causing those problems!

      They may be inadvertently reinforcing the wrong work behavior of employees, failing to acknowledge improvements in performance levels, mistiming reinforcement or punishment, improperly using feedback systems, or any of the small steps THEY might take that would have a big impact on employee behavior.

      [4] Managers who follow the behavioral techniques described in this book will find not only that their own behavior will change, but that such behavior change pays off twice --- in improved employee morale and improved productivity!

      Any technique that brings about these two results should be incorporated into every manager's "tool kit" of effective leadership ideas.

NOTES (p181-182)

INDEX (p183-185)


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