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Is OBM Research Evolving?

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I will argue that this can only be good for the field of OBM. Hyten (2009) called for more OBM research that directly influenced the bottom line for organizations which would in return increase the demand for our services. For a long time, most of our published research involved small-scale interventions at the individual employee level. For instance, JOBM was full of research that focused on improving customer greetings at restaurants or coffee shops. Many of these interventions could not be directly tied to organizational profit or in cases when this was possible, our researchers did not stick around long enough to measure this.

The Purpose

The purpose of this is not to belittle these kinds of research, after all OBM interventions whether "small" or "large scale" necessitates behavior change at the employee level. Moreover these kinds of research were important because they showed repeatedly that the principles of behavior could be successfully applied to organizations. However, these studies did not fully convey the scope of OBM.

However, in the past three years, the JOBM has published more research containing interventions that affect business results like Hyten (2009) called for. Since 2010, we've seen numerous articles published on Behavioral Systems Analysis and Organizational Safety; in fact an entire edition was dedicated to the former.

We've also JOBM publications integrating OBM with Industrial and Organizational Psychology (I/O Psychology) approaches. This is important because it addresses one major criticism of OBM. The criticism is that I/O Psychology addresses major issues (read: profit related issues) that many organizations care about and as a result is more marketable. These types of publications prove that OBM can also address organizational challenges that directly impact business results. I believe it is in our best interest to continue along this path.


Hyten, C. (2009). Strengthening the Focus on Business Results: The Need for

Systems Approaches in Organizational Behavior Management, Journal of Organizational Behavior

Management, 29, 87-107.



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