Action Plan to Maintain or Modify Performance Behaviours
The preceding oudine of the behaviour modification approach provides a framework to manage the performance patterns in an organization to attain the job objectives and, eventually, the organization’s objectives. This framework and related procedural steps, illustrated in Figure 3.3. considers four aspects: (1) the employee; (2) the behaviour; (3) the consequence of that behaviour; and (4) the work environment. These aspects provide the manager with the essential information for developing appropriate strategies for behaviour change. The framework assumes that the employee is capable of performing the behaviours that lead to accomplishing the job tasks.
Figure 3.3 Action plan to maintain or modify baseline performance level
The first step is to specify the desired performance level in specific, measurable terms, such as 'the telephone operator must answer 90 per cent of the calls within the first three rings of the telephone’. The second step is to identify the baseline behaviour in terms of the unit of measure used in step 1. Thus, the baseline behaviour might be identified as 75 per cent of the calls are currendy answered within the first three rings. In step 3 compare the data of steps 1 and 2. If identical, then proceed to steps 4a and 5a. Step 4a enables the manager to analyse and identify the reinforcers (i.e., the rewarding events). In step 5a, the manager provides feedback by administering the reinforcers that are identified in 4a to maintain the baseline behaviour. If different, then plan intervention strategies as indicated in steps 4b, 5b and 6.
In step 4b, analyse and identify the environmental conditions that maintain the present performance level; these are the rewarding events such as peer approval. Also analyse and identify the environmental conditions that block or prevent performance behaviour at the desired level. These are the aversive events such as lack of incentives to perform better, a stressful job, or work overload. Step 5b is the development of an intervention programme. It involves managerial actions to rearrange the reinforcement contingencies such as providing incentives for higher performance levels.
Step 6 is an equally, if not more, critical step. In this step, the manager evaluates the intervention programme. If the desired performance level is reached, then the manager will maintain this level continuing the rearranged reinforcement contingencies initiated in step 5b. If the desired performance level is not reached, the manager will revise the intervention programme. For this purpose, the manager will need to repeat steps 4b, 5b and 6, as appropriate. Sometimes, if the job content changes necessitating a new set of desired behaviours, it might even be necessary to go back to step 1 and repeat the entire process.