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What is OBM?

Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) is a branch of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) that deals with behavior within organizations. ABA is concerned with the application of the science of behavior; consequently OBM involves the application of the science of behavior in business and industry.

It is rooted in the science of behavior analysis which views behavior as a scientific subject matter and examines the orderly relations between behavior and the environment to allow for the prediction and control of behavior (Bucklin, Alvero, Dickinson, Austin, & Jackson, 2000). OBM utilizes a scientific approach to understanding how individuals behave within an organization.

Frederiksen and Lovett (1980) described the defining characteristics of OBM.

  1. The goal of OBM is to improve performance and satisfaction and to make organizations more effective in achieving their goals,
  2. The primary subject matter is the behavior of individuals and groups in organizational settings,
  3. The theoretical and conceptual basis is behavior analysis, and
  4. The methodology relies on direct observation of behavior as the main dependent variable.

OBM interventions have proved successful in the areas of manufacturing, engineering, safety, sales, vendor performance, customer service, research and development, and information management among others (Culig, Dickinson, McGee, & Austin, 2005).


Bucklin, R. B., Alvero, A. M., Dickinson, A. M., Austin, J., & Jackson, A. K. (2000).

Industrial-organizational psychology and organizational behavior management: An

objective comparison. Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 20(2), 27-75.

Culig, K. M., Dickinson, A. M., McGee, H. M., & Austin, J. (2005):

An Objective Comparison of Applied Behavior Analysis and Organizational Behavior Management Research. Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 25(1), 35-72

Frederiksen, L. W., & Lovett, S. B. (1980). Inside organizational behavior management:

Perspectives on an emerging field. Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 4(2), 193-203.