1 PSY 6450 Unit 7 Goal Setting Schedules of Reinforcement

PSY 6450 Unit 7

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PSY 6450 Unit 7. Goal Setting Schedules of Reinforcement. Schedule. Exam (27 points), Monday, 11/12 Exercise (8 points), Wednesday, 11/07. SO1: Locke/Latham maintain that difficult goals lead to higher levels of performance. Goals should be realistic and challenging but not too difficult - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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PSY 6450 Unit 7

Goal SettingSchedules of Reinforcement



Exam (27 points), Monday, 11/12Exercise (8 points), Wednesday, 11/07


SO1: Locke/Latham maintain that difficult goals lead to higher levels of performanceGoals should be realistic and challenging but not too difficultFrom a behavioral perspective. Why? There are 3 problems.

Diagrams and analyses will be provided in lecture


SO2A: Specific goals are better than general goals (Locke). Why from a behavioral perspective?

Goals affect performance only because of the consequences that follow behaviors that lead to goal attainment.

When goals are specific They specify the response requirements The criterion for reinforcement/reward Thus, both employees and managers can easily discriminate

successful from unsuccessful performance Goals function like task clarification in the sense that the

employee knows exactly what good performance consists of They also provide an explicit “evaluative” component which may

be necessary for feedback to function effectively (in fact, I have recently come to the conclusion that some type of evaluative component is a necessary condition for feedback to work, in most situations - exceptions, self-competition or strong generalized reinforcement for signs of achievement and being the “best”)

(material is from an analysis by Fellner & Sulzer-Azaroff, 1984, jOBM. Time to update the literature review, do your best goals next; evaluationComponent does NOT have to be goals - could be achieved a number of ways, but goals “work” )


SO2B. What are the problems with “do your best” goals?

What about “do your best goals?” They preclude objective assessment because no

performance criteria are stated Employees may set lower goals than the supervisor

and anticipate rewards that they then don’t receive Remember, most employees evaluate themselves better

than their supervisor evaluates them

(material is from an analysis by Fellner & Sulzer-Azaroff, 1984, jOBM. Time to update the literature review)


SO3A: Translation of “desire and intention” to to attain the goal Behavioral translation, where the control of behavior is

based on the past reinforcement contingencies:Goals will control behavior if, in the past, when a goal has been set, reaching a goal has been rewarded and/or not reaching a goal has been punished or criticized Emphasis is on what happened in the past Emphasis is on the consequences of behaviors that have led

(or not led) to goal attainment, not the goal itself as is emphasized by Locke (which is an antecedent)

(note cognitive way of talking about goals and effects: “rational” theory in the sense that we set goals and then in advance direct our behavior - thecontrol of the behavior is in the “here and now,” not in the past consequences)


SO3B: We do talk to ourselves about goals. Thus, rule-governed behavior plays a role.

What rule is a goal likely to evoke? (according to Malott)

(must recognize that we do talk to ourselves about goals before we engage in behaviors that will lead to goal attainment, and it would not berealistic or good to ignore that - too simplistic an analysis - 3C on next slide)

If I don’t get to work on this, I will not meet the goal and I willlook bad

Once that rule is evoked, how does it control behavior? (according to Malott)

The rule sets up noncompliance with the rule as a learnedaversive condition, and compliance with the rule (getting towork) immediately decreases that aversiveness


SO3C: Goal as an MO

How could a goal function as an MO?That is, what effects would it have

Reinforcer establishing? Evocative?


SO4: Assigned vs participative and self-assigned goals At the present time, the research indicates that

assigned and participative goals are equally effective There are no consistent data whatsoever indicating that

participative goals influence behavior more effectively that goals established by management

The key issue appears to be not how a goal is set, but whether a goal is set (of course the goal must be realistic and attainable)

(issue came up at ABA last year, with a student -from another program-arguing and maintaining that participative goals were better)


NFE: Feedback and goals Not in SOs, but we do know that goals combined with

feedback are more effective than either alone Feedback enhances the effectiveness of goals Goals enhance the effectiveness of feedback

Whenever possible, the following combination should be used: Graphic feedback that displays performance over time Goals Some type of performance consequence


SO5: Daniels vs. Dickinson

Daniels maintains that if you set a goal and if performance meets but does not exceed that goal, the contingency is a negative rather than positive reinforcement contingency Also maintains that negative reinforcement

contingencies are bad contingencies because they represent aversive control

In order for negative reinforcement to work there must be a pre-existing aversive stimulus that the behavior terminates or avoids

Is this a correct analysis?

(answer is not in sos or on your ppt)


Dickinson’s position

Analysis will be provided in lecture


Main point repeated

Analysis will be provided in lecture


Example: Union National Bank

Baseline: 1,065 items per machine hour Feedback: 1,800 items per machine hour Incentive, top incentive rate was for 2,500 items per

machine hour: 2,700 items per machine hour Incentive 2, top incentive rate was for 3,500 items per

machine hour: 3,500 items per machine hour During the first incentive phase, proof operators

met but did not exceed the goal (except to a level than insured they met the goal)

Yet during the second incentive phase when additional incentives (reinforcement) was provided, they increased their performance (but again, only to a level that met the goal)


SO6: Most common mistake re goalsAnswers will be provided in lecture

What is the most common mistake that business people make after implementing a goal setting program for employees?

Why is that a problem?

What are employees going to do?

(mgrs loose their common sense when they become managers. social isolation and criticism)


What about successively increasing goals? NFE

Daniels recommends that you first set goals low so people can meet them, then gradually increase them

Wilk & Redmon used successively increasing goals Sulzer-Azaroff used successively increasing goals Proceed with caution

You may be able to successively increase goals if rewards are not tangible, but with tangible rewards, particularly with incentives, you should never increase the goal level without increasing the reward levelTiered reward systems work well Union National Bank - increased incentive rate Pampino et al. (U2) - an additional lottery ticket Performance matrix - more points for higher levels of performance


Schedules of Reinforcement The basic schedules of reinforcement are

emphasized way too much in OBM. They are not very relevant. I’ll come back to this in a moment

Muchinsky characterizes “reinforcement theory” almost entirely in terms of schedules of reinforcement and their manipulation

Provides definitions and examples of basic schedules

I correct his definitions in SO7 (NFE)


SO8: Muchinsky states that hourly pay is an example of a FI scheduleIs it?Why or why not?

Will be discussed in class


Schedules of Reinforcement Back to Dickinson’s point: The basic schedules of

reinforcement are emphasized way too much in OBM. They are not very relevant.

SO9: Hantula’s conclusions after reviewing the effects of schedules of reinforcement on organizational behavior - review covered 1971-1994 Reinforcement schedules (in comparison to hourly pay) are an

effective way to manage work, however The parameters of the schedule did not result in consistent

differences in performance. Rather, the presence of a contingent relationship between performance and rewards was the critical factor with respect to improving performance

Bucklin & Dickinson found the same thing in a review of monetary incentives


SO9: What does this mean? Performance contingent rewards do increase work

performance, But different schedules of reinforcement (e.g., FR

vs VR schedules, FR1 vs FR4, FR1 vs VR2, VR2 vs VR4) do not affect performance differently in work settings

(ABA presentation set up incentives for staff in human service setting - very nice study - spent many, many hours deciding what reinforcement schedule to use - wasted hours).


SO10: Why are these results differentthan the results of research on basic schedules?

In the operant laboratory, different schedules of reinforcement do generate different response rates and patterns of performance. So, what may account for the differences seen in the laboratory and in applied settings?

Before answering, why does anyone care? Why is this analysis important? Our basic principles of behavior have been called into question

(particularly by expectancy theorists in I/O) because humans do not show the same response patterns as nonhumans

That is, they claim this proves that our basic principles are incorrect

So, we have to be prepared to answer these criticisms and concerns


Two reasons why humans do not usually display the typical performance patterns displayed by nonhumans in an operant laboratory setting

1. Although schedules used in applied settings are indeed schedules of reinforcement, they are rarely, if ever the same schedules examined in the laboratory, even though they are called the same thing (e.g., FR1, FR3, etc.). Given that they are not the same, we should not expect the performance patterns to be the same

o Example, FR3 for riding a college campus bus. Every third student was given a token that could be traded for merchandise at local stores

o What’s wrong with “this picture?”


Two reasons why humans do not usually display the typical performance patterns displayed by nonhumans in an operant laboratory setting

2. Adult humans tend to describe contingencies to themselves and then their behavior is controlled by their self-stated rules

o FI: Slow responding is reinforcedo FR: Fast responding is reinforced o Fergus Lowe’s (Welsh behavioral

psychologist) study with infants, 2-3 year olds and 5-year olds


Wilk & Redmon article

Study was conducted as Dr. Braksick’s doctoral dissertation while she was at WMU

Excellent model of how to do research in the real world; few better examples

Follow-up of a study conducted at WMU in our admissions and orientation office Pam Liberacki, Director of Admissions and Orientation

Leslie was hired as a consultant to implement the program at U of M based on the success of the program here

(not going to go over many of the SOs)


SO11: Why was the efficiency measure used? Provide the formula.Participants were 16 clerical workers at


Number of tasks completed Performance efficiency Employee satisfaction


SO11: Why was the efficiency measure used? Provide the formula. Performance efficiency formula:

Total number of tasks completed by all participants Total number of hours worked by all participants Why is this an important measure - why not just

use the total number of tasks completed? The total number of hours worked by the employees differed from

week to week If you only looked at the total number of tasks completed, you

wouldn’t know whether workers were completing more tasks because they were working more hours or whether they were completing the more tasks in the same amount of time

If workers completed more tasks but also worked more hours, then you have not increased performance

(asking you to learn the formula to make sure you understand it)


Skipping to SO16: What procedure was used to verify that the supervisor actually delivered the feedback? After feedback was given during the week day,

the employee placed a check mark on the next entry on their data sheet If you use a graphic feedback display, have employees

initial the graphic feedback display If you post a graph, have employees initial the posted

graph More modern technology: send the graph or feedback

via email with verification that the email has been opened by the recipient (not as good - employees could conceivably open the email and not look at the feedback, but better than nothing)

(I am pointing this out because it is an excellent procedure - it’s simple, doesn’t require any extra effort on the part of the researcher, yet does confirmthat feedback was provided as it was supposed to be provided - fidelity of implementation of the IV - a lot of our students at WMU have used this orsomething similar in their studies )



Base GS GS Fdbk Graph

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685 861 1049CreditEval

582 994 1243DataEntry



Base GS GS Fdbk Graph

Filing 983 1703 4188

5077 8822 13389MailRoom

685 861 1049CreditEval

582 994 1243DataEntry

SO19: Most importantly, what does this study reveal?

The important role thatgraphic feedback playsin improving performance

(click highlight: go back to preceding slide - abrupt immediate increase even over previous phase of GS and verbal fdbk)


Questions over Wilk and Redmon?


SO20: Sulzer-Azaroff et al. (NFE)

Purpose of the studyTo determine whether targeting behaviors (rather than accidents/injuries) would lead to a decrease in accidents/injuries

First BBS study to focus on behaviors and prove a link between that focus and reduction in accidents

Prior study in a university chemistry lab, but too few accidents/injuries to document the link to a reduction in accidents/injuries


SO21: Target behaviors/conditions or accidents and injuries? 21A Some behavior analysts feel very strongly

that it is inappropriate to target accidents and injuries rather than behaviors/conditions Employees will not report accidents and injuries if you

target those and reward low accident/injury rates - of course, that is a very bad thing

If you target low accident and injury rates, supervisors are more likely to use aversive control (when an accident/injury occurs, they will punish/criticize workers)

(paper company - lottery based on low accidents/injury rates)


SO21: Target behaviors/conditions or accidents and injuries?

21B But, what is the danger of targeting only behaviors/conditions The ultimate goal is to reduce accident/injury rate. If

you don’t at least measure those, you won’t know whether you have really been successful

What if you targeted the wrong behaviors/conditions?

(paper company - lottery based on low accidents/injury rates)


SO23: Determining where to start in an organization

How were the departments selected, and why were departments selected on this basis? Records were analyzed to determine which

departments had the highest accident and injury rates and the initial program was implemented in those departments

Focusing on these “hot spots” would give the greatest initial payoff

(we like big pips! Improvements will help convince others in the organization that the program works and is worth the time and effort toImplement. Champions within the organization who are “on board” and enthusiastic. Roll-out the program to other departments)


SO25: What was the cost of one lost time accident/injury?$17,000 in compensation costs alone

Annual savings estimate of $55,000Why is this important?

Safety programs make good sense economically

Conflict between operations and safety

(students working in a local paper company, behavior based safety assessment - death. Operations killed it - 1/2 of 1% of operating budgetwent to worker’s compensation expenses. Always cost out the expenses involved in accidents/injuries)


Questions over Sulzer-Azaroff et al.?


Parsons et al. article This is the best study I have seen about a large

scale OBM intervention in a human service setting

The study was conducted in five group homes for the developmentally disabled

In the study objectives, I point out some very useful procedures that could be implemented in any human service setting although clearly some of the details of the procedures would have to be modified

Implemented a total system intervention package


Parsons intro, cont.

There are two studiesI only have one SO over E1 because I

wanted to focus on the intervention, but part of the beauty of this work is having the normative data from E1 when analyzing the results from E2


Overview of Experiments 1 & 2 Experiment 1

Benchmarking study on treatment and services 22 living units in six state residential facilities 18 were certified as intermediate care facilities under

Medicaid (which means services can be reimbursed through Medicaid)

Experiment 2 Purpose was to develop and implement a comprehensive

management system to improve treatment services in five group homes

Group homes were Medicaid certified Medicaid had reviewed services and the facilities had been

given a time-limited mandate to improve services or face de-certification. Improvement was critical - “critical business issue.


SO26: Results of E1, the benchmarking study

24A On average, what percentage of resident behavior was off-task?

When developmentally disabled clients are in grouphomes, 2/3 of their time is spent in activity that that appears to have no habilitative value. This suggeststhat residential facilities are not fulfilling their activetreatment obligations

24B On average, what percentage of resident behavior was active treatment?


General point (NFE)

These data actually confirm earlier benchmarking studies Iwata et al. (1976) found staff spent 45% of their time off-

task and only 4% engaged in active training Behavior analysts have become very skilled at

developing treatment programs, but the problem is getting the direct care staff to implement those programs Need to train human services professionals in PM Most find themselves doing staff management (and

systems management), yet many do not take PM courses Confirmed by several graduates of the BA program

(Very few academics focus on OBM in human service settings)


Organizational structure, staff, and residents

IntermediateHome Supv

IntermediateHome Supv

1. Group Home Supervisor

IntermediateHome Supv

IntermediateHome Supv

2. Group Home Supervisor

IntermediateHome Supv

IntermediateHome Supv

3. Group Home Supervisor

IntermediateHome Supv

IntermediateHome Supv

4. Group Home Supervisor

IntermediateHome Supervisor

IntermediateHome Supv

5. Group Home Supervisor

Area DirectorBA in Education

Faculty Program DirectorPhD, Experimenter

110 Direct care staff

165 Residents


Intervention: Four basic components (NFE)

Structure (scheduling) and reassignment of staff Structure and scheduling is a recurrent

intervention in human service settings Task clarification Individual accountability

Staff trainingMonitoring of performanceSupervisory feedback

One of my purposes with the SOs is to point out the systems aspects of the program - they implemented monitoring and feedback systemsfor individuals at EACH level of the organization - we often intervene at the direct care staff level, but who provides PM to the grouphome supervisors, and to the supervisor of the group home supervisors? We forget to do that, yet are often surprised our interventions don’t last


SO29 (skipping 27-28) 29A How often did each supervisor or assistant

supervisor observe each staff person?

Once a week

29B What procedure was used to verify that the supervisor observed and gave feedback to the staff member immediately after the observation?

Each staff member initialed the checklist

I am pointing this out because this is basically the same procedureused by Wilk & Redmon and it permits the assessment of the integrityof the intervention without observers. Remember this procedure!


SO30: Now we have supv. monitoring and giving feedback to staff with verification

What procedure was put in place so area supervisors knew whether the supervisors were indeed observing and giving feedback to staff?

Each week the observation forms were given to thearea director who supervised all group home supervisorswho reviewed them

(watch wording for SO30, too close to SO29; interestingly, the authors don’t indicate whether the area director summarized and gavefeedback to the group home supervisors re conducting the observations, but… next slide )


SO31: Now we have the area director monitoring the performance of group home supervisors - who givesfeedback to the area director? (NFE) The data on resident behavior collected by researchers

(independent of the preceding measures on staff observations) were summarized and graphed, and sent to the program director weekly.

The program director sent the graphs along with comments to the area director, who then sent the appropriate graphs to each group home supervisor

Note two separate and independent measurement systems Were supervisors observing and giving feedback to the direct care staff How was the supervisory system affecting resident behavior - was

decreasing resident off-task behavior and increasing active training Also note that the resident behavior data were collected by:

8 staff members Student interns (number wasn’t specified)

Extremely labor intensive


SOs 33& 34: Back to why the normative data from E1 was so important

SO33: What very nice contribution does the normative data provide when analyzing the results of the study?

Most studies would have reported the improvement in resident behavior in comparison to baseline During baseline off-task behavior averaged 64%,

which decreased to 41% during the PM intervention That looks like a nice decrease (23% decrease) but

residents were still off-task 41% of the time

(cont. on next slide)


SO33, cont.

With the normative data they could also report Their baseline average was similar to the average

off-task behavior in the 22 other group homes (18 of which were Medicaid certified): 64% and 67%, respectively (so maybe they weren’t doing that badly to begin with!)

Not only did off-task resident decrease considerably, but it is now well below the normative average, so…


SO33, cont.

Not only could the administrators and researchers show that these group homes had improved considerably, they could also show that they were doing considerably better than other state residential facilities


SO 34: Why is it important to collect normative data from a staff perspective? Basically, so you know realistically, what good

performance is given typical staff-to-resident ratios The residents were profoundly developmentally disabled,

typically nonverbal, and required assistance in self-care routines

The agency can only hire a certain number of direct care staff due to budgetary constraints - and usually these type of organizations are understaffed

It is simply unrealistic to assume that it is possible to have 0% off-task resident behavior - so back to the original question - what is good performance?


SO37: What is the potential disadvantage of targeting staff behavior in contrast to resident behavior? As the authors note, and I mentioned briefly earlier, while

group home supervisors observed the behaviors of staff and gave feedback to them weekly immediately after the observations, neither staff behavior nor supervisor observation behavior were graphed and fed back to supervisors or staff

Rather, the feedback that was given was feedback on the % of off-task resident behavior and % of time residents were involved in active treatment To truly determine a functional relationship between staff and

supervisor behavior and resident behavior, you would have to measure both (however, I admit I am convinced by the data)


SO37, cont. The authors make the point, however, that there is a

disadvantage of monitoring staff behavior Maintain that staff frequently do not like to be observed and often

react negatively - from mild nervousness to out right hostility But, they do not react as negatively when resident behavior is

monitored and reported Thus, this may have made it more likely that supervisors would

continue to use the system It’s an interesting point - but I don’t know how valid it is

I looked at the reference given, but it was to a book written by Reid et al. for practitioners, and no data were provided

It would be an interesting (but difficult) study to conduct


Highly recommended book:

Reid, Dennis H., & Parsons, Marsha B (1995)

Motivating human service staffHabilitative Management Consultants

PO Box 2295Morganton, North Carolina 28680


Questions on the Parsons et al. article?


In-class exercise

Was the continuous reinforcement (CRF) schedule used in the Latham & Dossett article a true CRF schedule?

Was the variable ratio 4 (VR4) schedule used in the Latham & Dossett article a true VR4 schedule?