Based on the three-contingency model of performance management, I make the following argument: (1) Often, we fail to behave as we should because the natural contingencies supporting appropriate behavior are ineffective; the natural contingencies involve outcomes for each individual response that are either too small, though of cumulative significance, or outcomes that are too improbable. The delay of the outcome is essentially irrelevant. The psychodynamic model of the cognitive motivational theorists provides a poor explanation for why we fail to behave as we should.
Behavior analysts can and should but rarely do account for the ontogenic continuity of behavior, thus leaving the field open to the reified, biological-deterministic traits of personality theorists.
The well-written, carefully reasoned article by B Roberts (2002) pulled my chain almost as violently as did the articles by Geller and S Roberts (2002).
This critique of Goltz and Hietapelto’s operant model of power suggests: * The definition of power and leadership are too narrow. * Powerful leaders rarely manage performance through operant contingencies. * The opportunity to manage the behavior of others is rarely the reinforcer controlling the behavior of the powerful. * The aversiveness of control by the powerful is rarely the basis for resistance to organizational change. * Much behavior-analytic extrapolation from the Skinner box is unwarranted.
E. Scott Geller’s main problem is that he’s a mentalist in behavior-analyst clothing. And his main virtue is that he’s a mentalist in behavior-analyst clothing. I disagree with everything Geller (2002) and Steve Roberts (2002) wrote. But I agree with their main point. Their main point is not that we would better sell behavior analysis to mentalists, if we too became mentalists; that was just an excuse for Scott and Steve to hop on their soap box and preach mentalism in the guise of Scott’s active-caring model. Their main point is that we would be better OBMers, if we became mentalists.
Olson, Laraway, and Austin (2001) propose an increased emphasis on the establishing operation in organizational behavior management. Their proposal raises interesting questions about theory, science, and practice. (1) What should be the role of theory in behavior analysis? (2) Should we try to find problems that match our solutions or vice versa ? (3) What is the relative importance of the establishing operation and the performance-management contingency in managing organizational behavior?