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Organizational Performance Management: Behavior and Coaching

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Evidence-based management(EBM) means translating principles based on best evidence into organizational practices. Behavior is about science, it’s important for manager to know that behavior as all consequences are a result of the behavior. The Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence Model (ABC Model) tells us antecedents would drive the behavior, moreover, the consequences would follow the behavior. Thus, consequences can either increase the behavior or decrease the behavior, it is critical for the manager to identify and communicate the right desired behavior among employees. On the other hand, the technology of performance management (TPM) contributes towards bringing about the discretion effort. Moreover, tools like PIC/NIC analysis, performance measurement, reinforcement schedules, and Applied Coaching & Leadership Process (ACLP) can help the manager to ensure keep that desirable behavior in an organization.

Evidence-based Management

Evidence-based management(EBM) means translating principles based on best evidence into organizational practices. Through evidence-based management, practicing managers develop into experts who make organizational decisions informed by social science and organizational research—part of the zeitgeist moving professional decisions away from personal preference and unsystematic experience toward those based on the best available scientific evidence. (Rousseau, Denise M. 2014.)

EBM is an evolution in the practice of management, a knowledge-intensive, capacity-building way to think, act, organize and lead; It is also a no-fad, no-fluff approach to developing better managers and leading effective and adaptive organizations and a product of the distinct yet interdependent activities of practitioners, educators and scholars.

There are five principles of EBM: Face the hard facts, and build a culture in which people are encouraged to tell the truth, even if it is unpleasant; Be committed to ‘fact based’ decision making – which means being committed to getting the best evidence and using it to guide actions; Treat your organization as an unfinished prototype — encourage experimentation and learning by doing (encourages agility); Look for the risks and drawbacks in what people recommend — even the best medicine has side effects; Avoid basing decisions on untested but strongly held beliefs, what you have done in the past, or on uncritical ‘benchmarking” of what winners do.

EBM Incorporates when using of scientific principles in decisions and management processes, systematic attention to organizational facts, advancements in practitioner judgment through critical thinking and decision aids that reduce bias and enable fuller use of information, ethical considerations including effects on stakeholders.

Understanding Behavior in Organizations

Behavior psychologists assume that the conditions in the workplace drove the behavior and provided a foundation for PM. Behavior is based on scientific knowledge and has actual explanations and actions. Skinner discovered the principle of reinforcement and defined it as any consequence following a behavior that increases the potential it will occur again in the future (Daniel, 2014, p. 12)

All behavior has a consequence; even doing nothing or not having a reaction are consequences. To change results, you must change behavior (Daniel, 2014, p. 19). It is possible to produce consistent results by effectively managing behaviors. Therefore, managing by results could be demotivating to the employees, it is by either micromanagement or a punishment approach. Laws of behavior can empower the managers to arrange conditions that drive the desired behavior, making it very important to understand behaviors and achieve goals by behavior management.

Behavior and Non-behavior

A behavior is as any observable, measurable activity of a person. Anything a dead man can do fails Dr. Ogden Lindsley (1965) ‘Dead Man’s Test’ to qualify as a behavior (Daniel, 2014, p. 25). Performance is a combination of one or more behaviors to produce a specific accomplishment. Non-behaviors are usually opinions rather than descriptions and based on value systems different from others(refer to Appendix A [Lecture Power Point]). Generalities, attitudes, states, and values are not behaviors. managers need to understand the difference between behavior and non-behavior so they could achieve goals by behavior management.

The ABC Model is the Antecedent – Behavior – Consequence Model, the three-term contingency. The three-term contingency refers to the fact that an antecedent always precedes a behavior and consequence follow it (Daniel, 2014, p. 105, refer Appendix B Figure 1 [Lecture Power Point] for details of ABC Model).

The technology of performance management (TPM) makes the differentiation between a coach and a manager. TPM describes how the managers can get the employees to put in a discretionary effort and deliver more than required. Shaping is a crucial skill for managers and can make the differentiation between a successful manager and an effective manager possible. If a manager delivers his goals every year and ensures that people do what they must, then he is a successful manager. However, if the manager encourages the employees to drive change and ensures their continuous improvement, he is a coach or an effective manager (refer to Appendix C Figure 3 [Lecture Power Point]).

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Managers Need to understand Consequences

A consequence can increase or decrease the occurrence of a behavior. A consequence that increases the probability of repeating a behavior is a reinforcer (Daniel, 2014, p. 140), and shaping, effective use of consequences that lead to desired performance outcomes (results plus behaviors that lead to desired results), is powerful — since shaping involves use of consequences, and since all behaviors have consequences, shaping is always occurring (unintentionally, or intentionally). Employees just meeting standards is not a desired outcome since maximizing employee performance leads to more rapid change regarding increasing value for customers and stakeholders, therefore, employees can shape their manager’s behavior (managing up).

Decreasing and Increasing Behaviors in Organizations

All behaviors have consequences, and these consequences have effects. Schedules for reinforcement can help increase or maintain a behavior. On the other hand, punishment and penalty reduce behavior (Daniel, 2014, p. 266) (refer to Appendix B Figure 2 and Appendix D Figure 4 [Lecture Power Point]). Consequences that increase behavior — positive and negative reinforcement is any event, action, or objective that has increased the frequency of a behavior. (Daniel, 2014, p. 139) A positive reinforcer (R+) is any consequence that follows a behavior and increases the likelihood of the behavior occurring again, and negative reinforcer (R-) is any event, action, or object (potential punisher) that causes a person increase behavior in order to escape it or avoid it (Daniel, 2014, p. 140).

On occasion managers may be faced with behavior such as complaining, poor quality work, or inappropriate social behaviors. Most behavior analysts immediately think of extinction as the reduction procedure to use in such cases(Daniel, 2014, p. 263). However, sometimes extinction is not the most benign and appropriate way to resolve these issues.

What happens to performance under extinction depends on the person’s history of reinforcement on the prior schedule. For example, there are rather unique distinctions between using extinction with behavior under the control of positive reinforcement (R+) as compared to negative reinforcement (R-)(Daniel, 2014, p. 263)(refer to Appendix D [Lecture Power Point]). In addition, R- is default if not R+. Which leads to unintended consequence of a negative environment.

Consequences that Increase the Rate of Improvement of Desired Performance Behavior

When applying performance management to improve organizational performance, one of the more important tasks is to help upper-level managers and supervisors find reinforcers for their employees(Daniel, 2014, p. 171). There are four main characteristics of effective reinforcers: Controllable, Available, Repeatable, and efficient. To increase the rate of improvement, feedback needs to be perceived as R+, and only R+ leads to maximized discretionary effort.(refer to Appendix C and Appendix E [Lecture Power Point]).

Explain the importance of understanding the power of using positive reinforcement (R+), and how only R+ can maximize employee performance by creating discretionary effort.

Consequence Used Most by Managers

Most managers use negative reinforcement. Since most of the managers do not understand the difference between positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement, the majority of performance improvement efforts are driven by negative reinforcement. In addition, because negative reinforcement increases behavior, some managers don’t see the need for positive reinforcement. In other words, as a result of using negative reinforcement to reach their goals, the managers may receive bonuses and other positive consequences(Daniel, 2014, p. 143). Nevertheless, negative reinforcement almost always produces negative reports from employees as it relates to management and the workplace in general. When leaders endorse the use of negative consequences as the primary way to achieve organization results, directly as an active participant or indirectly through policies and systems, it always produces ethical concerns and an organization that never performs up to its potential(Daniel, 2014, p. 144).

Using PIK/NIK Analysis to Determine Effective Consequences?

Explain how managers can use the PIK NIK Analysis to determine the strength of consequences.PIC/NIC analysis is a tool used for understanding consequences, it answers why a person engages in any behavior that may seem irrational to others. The PIC/NIC analysis more focused on the behavior than the result, it works to create an environment which supports the desired antecedents and consequences. PIC/NIC analysis creates a separate analysis for each problem, for most practical purposes, the PIC/NIC analysis exercise will offer insight and better understanding of both the current and desired performance conditions, and consequences drive behavior, small certain immediate consequences are more powerful than a consequence that may occur in future which could be positive or negative and would be either certain or uncertain. Therefore, PIC/NIC analysis benefit the determination the strength of consequences.

Applied Coaching and Leadership Process

Introductory paragraph. Explain that the process involves using TPM concepts such as understanding how to shape employee performance behaviors so that discretionary effort occurs in a five-step process. Then, go through each step.

Applied Coaching and Leadership Process (ACLP) is a process help to identify the problem and address it for reinforcement to work. It uses techniques like pinpoint, measure, feedback, reinforce, and evaluation/ change to assist management. It is the most common and easy way to evaluate the change in behavior. (refer to Appendix F [Lecture Power Point]).


The ACLP is critical to help reinforcement and achievement of goals. Each step in the plan is an opportunity for positive reinforcement and shaping so that the employees engage using maximum discretionary effort. One can achieve fluency only by skill, and pinpoint plays a critical role here. The receiver determines the consequences, not the giver. It is important to ask the right questions at every step and revisit the desired behavior and the expected performance. ACLP gives an opportunity to measure behaviors, evaluate the change, and share feedback as and when required, to reinforce the right behavior. (refer to Appendix G [Lecture Power Point]).


  1. Rousseau, Denise M. 2014. The Oxford Handbook of Evidence-Based Management. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.
  2. Daniel, A., Bailey, J., (2014) Performance Management, fifth edition

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