Organizational Behavioral Modifications

Organizational Behaviour Modification (OB MOD) is the process of modifying the behavior of members of the organization for the interest of the organization itself. Its motive can either be to motivate the employee or improve organizational performance. Therefore, it is important to derive desired performance from employees. Fred Luthans and Kreitner first developed this technique to establish a behavioral approach to human resource management. The process is not merely the modification of behavior but also the systematic management of its consequences. There are several benefits of OB MOD, but at the same time, their several criticisms as well. 

Models of organizational behaviour
  • Autocratic Model
  • Custodial Model
  • Supportive Model
  • Collegial Model
  • System Model

1. Autocratic model

It is simply based on strength and power. The manager who manages the task to be done has complete authority over the workers. Lower-level managers have some authority, but the ultimate decision lies with the top management. The idea behind this is that managers have business expertise and lower-level employees have comparatively fewer skills.

2. Custodial model

The model is based on the topic of providing employees with economic and other benefits to create loyalty. This is done so as to procure greater skilled and motivated employees.

3. Supportive model

This model intends to create leadership. It does not depend on authority or incentives to create impact but rather uses a supportive approach to motivate staff to derive the desired behavior. The idea is to create a positive workspace where their ideas and efforts are valued.

4. Collegial model

This model believes in teamwork. Everybody works in a team and as a team. Due care should be taken to ensure that each member is actively participating. Status and job titles hold no position under this model. This model is apt for modern organizations with diverse yet unified work cultures.

5. System model

It is a contemporary mode that focuses on balancing out organizational and individual goals. The organization should be able to provide a positive work environment to its employees. The employees would also expect good remuneration as the firm is adding value to customers through their efforts. The model is a combined effort of managers and subordinates.

Benefits of ob mod

  • Employee Development

It serves as a medium by which managers can eradicate undesirable behavior. Positive reinforcement helps to achieve the desired behavior. During the process, managers gain valuable social insights about the employee, which can be used for training and development. 

  • Can be put to the test

OB MOD deals with a person’s external behavior. Managers observe how a person behave under specific situation. Since it deals with observed behavioral patterns, it can be put to the test.

  • Control over employee behaviour

Through behavioral modifications, managers can redirect employees’ behavior to the interest of the firm. It can be used as a tool to control employee behavior. Operant conditioning can be used to control employee behavior through a manipulative reward system.

  • Comparatively easy to use

The techniques in OB MOD are simple and easy to use; because of this, OB MOD has gained popularity and is widely used across the world. It is used in domains like human resources, executive development, motivation, and many more.

Criticisms of ob mod

Despite the given benefits, there are several criticisms of OB MOD. The criticisms are on the ground that they are unethical and manipulative in nature.

  • Skinner’s Box

The operant conditions of OB MOD are derived from the work of B.F Skinner, who conducted an experiment with white rats based on which the conditions were formed. Critics argue that human beings are being equated to rats and that an actual organization is more complex than a box full of rats.

  • Against the concept of personal autonomy

The technique tends to ignore the individuality of a person. This is against a person’s creativity and freedom.

  • Based on the assumption that individual behavior is controlled by the environment

To an extent, this can be argued to be true, but to a greater extent, the behavior of a person is dependent on certain cognitive and affective variables residing in the individual. No care is being given to people’s perceptions, ideas, or emotions.

  • Traditional Method

OB MOD is no innovative new method of influencing employee behavior but rather a new name given to an existing method and been in practice in the past as well.

  • Against the modern motives

The concept of using re-enforcement techniques to modify employee behavior is in favor of the traditional mentality that employees need to be directed at work and should be told what to do and is in contrast with the modern concept of a self-motivated worker with creative freedom.

  • Difficult to analyze each employee

It is difficult for managers to psychoanalyze each employee and match their performance with the reward system. Moreover, it is difficult to equip lower-level managers with reinforcement techniques, and employee behavior is complex and diverse.

  • Not necessarily applicable in an organizational setting

Behavioral modification techniques are applied to young school students or patients with behavioral disabilities. It is more suitable for a laboratory setting than an organizational setting. 

Despite these criticisms, OB  MOD is used increasingly in business organizations across the world as a tool for improving and shaping employee behavior. There are seven steps in OB MOD.

  • Identification
  • Measurement
  • Analysis
  • Intervention
  • Evaluation

1. Identification 

The first step is the identification of behavioral and essentially performance-related behavior and then categorizing it as desirable or undesirable behavior. Then identify critical behavior that is likely to have an impact on the organization’s performance and take due action. This can be done by speaking to the employee or his superior as both are directly related to the job. An example of critical behavior is absenteeism.

2. Measurement

The next step is to measure the frequency of critical behavior. This can be done by observation or by checking records. If frequency exceeds the acceptable limit, then no action is required else if frequency exceeds the acceptable limit, immediate action should be taken to control the behavior.

3. Analysis

Once the frequency is measured, the next step is to analyze the behavior. Analysis may include the reason for such behavior, the consequences of the behavior, and the impacts of the consequences on the firm.  Functional analysis should be able to identify the consequence of not just the critical behavior but every other behavior of the employee.

4. Intervention

After the successful identification and analysis of the critical behavior, an effective intervention strategy should be designed to modify the behavior. The strategy may be positive or negative reinforcement, punishment, or extinction. After the strategy is adopted, the frequency of critical behavior is measured again. If there is a behavioral change and it is in the right direction, the manager will decide the reinforcement schedule that is to be maintained.

5. Evaluation

The last step is to evaluate the strategy and see if undesirable behavior has been replaced with desirable behavior and if the change is permanent or not. If there is a permanent positive change, the intervention strategy was successful, but if there is no desired change that has happened, then the strategy adopted should be changed.

Organizational Behavioral Modifications help the firm to eliminate undesirable behavior and ensure that the organizational goals align with the individual goals of its employees. When that happens, the firm’s overall performance improvises. 

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