SAFETY AND ACCIDENT PREVENTION:

Most organizations, especially manufacturing firms and others in which dangerous equipment it used, are very concerned about safety. However, since accidents occur at such a relatively low frequency, most studies have focused on reducing identifiable safety hazards or increasing safe behaviours (for example, wearing earplugs which went from 35 to 95 percent compliance according to one study; wearing hard hats; and keeping the safety guard in place on dangerous equipment). A review of the research indicates the considerable success that behavioural management techniques have had in these areas. Some actual company examples are Boston Gas, where employees without accidents are eligible for lottery drawings; Virginia Power, where employees can win from $50 to $1000 for safe work habits; Southern New England Telecommunications, which give gift coupons to employees without accidents; and Turner Corporation, a New York based engineering and construction firm, where employees can earn company stock if they meet safety goals. All these companies report improved accident rates through the use of a behavioral management approach.

BEHAVIOURAL MANAGEMENT:

Behavioural management applies the principle of behaviouristic learning theory, especially operant conditioning and reinforcement. The environmental contingency of employee behaviour, antecedents, and particularly, consequences, and their impact on performance effectiveness is the focus of attention.

STEP - 1 : IDENTIFICATION OF PERFORMANCE BEHAVIOURS:

In this first step the critical behaviour that make a significant impact on performance (making or selling widgets or providing a service to clients or customers) are identified. In every organization, regardless of type or level, numerous behaviours are occurring all the time. Some of these behaviours have a significant impact on performance, and some do not. The goal of the first step of O.B. Mod. is to identify the critical behaviours - the 5 to 10 percent of the behaviours that may account for up to 70 or 80 percent of the performance in the area in question.

STEP - 2 : MEASUREMENT OF THE BEHAVIOUR:

After the performance behaviours have been identified in step-1, they are measured. A baseline measure is obtained by determining (either by observing and counting or by extracting from existing records) the number of times that the identified behaviour is occurring under present conditions. Often this baseline frequency is in and of itself very revealing. Sometimes it is discovered that the behaviour identified in step-1 is occurring much less or much more frequently than anticipated. The baseline measure may indicate that the problem is much smaller or much bigger than was thought to be the case.

STEP - 3 : FUNCTIONAL ANALYSIS OF THE BEHAVIOUR:

Once the performance behaviour has been identified and a baseline measure has been obtained, a functional analysis is performed. A funtional analysis identifies both the antecedents (A) and consequences (C) of the target behaviour (B), or simply stated, an A-B-C analysis is performed.

STEP - 4 : DEVELOPMENT OF AN INTERVENTION STRATEGY:

The first three steps in an O.B. Mod. approach are preliminary to the action step, the intervention. The goal of the intervention is to strengthen and accelarate functional performance behaviours and/or weaken and decelerate dysfunctional behaviours. There are several strategies that can be used, but the main ones are positive reinforcement and punishment - positive reinforcement.

A Positive Reinforcement Strategy: Positive, not negative, reinforcement is recommended as an effective intervention strategy for O.B. Mod. The reason is that positive reinforcement represents a form of positive control of behaviour, while negative reinforcement represents a form of negative control of behaviour.

A Punishment - Positive Reinforcement Strategy: There is little debate that a positive reinforcement strategy is the most effective intervention for O.B. Mod. Yet realistically it is recognized that in some cases the use of punishment to weaken and decelerate undesirable behaviours cannot be avoided. This would be true in the case of something like unsafe behaviours that need to be immediately decreased.

STEP - 5 : EVALUATION TO ENSURE PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT:

A glaring weakness of most human resource management programs is the absence of any systematic, built-in evaluation. A comprehensive analysis of the evaluation of human resources programs concluded that the typical approach is “to review a program with one or two vice presidents at the corporate office, various managers in the field, and perhaps a group of prospective trainees. It continues to be used until someone in a position of authority decides that the program has outlived its usefulness. All of this is done on the basis of opinion and judgement”.

REFERENCES:

Organizational Behaviour by Fred Luthans Industrial Safety & Health Management by C. Ray Asfahl

Commitment to SAFETY is commitment to PRODUCTIVITY

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 Bio-Data
Dr. Mukesh S. Dalal - Consultant Psychologist