Organizational behavior management in human service settings: Problems and prospects

Lee W. Frederiksen, Anne W. Riley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The vast human service system in this country undoubtedly provides services to virtually all Americans at sometime in their lives. While these services are typically taken for granted on an individual level, they are often vociferously attacked on an institutional and policy level. Regrettably, the concern that these agencies have become inadequate to their tasks do have a basis. The frequently cited problems of inefficient use of resources, drastically increasing costs which burden taxpayers and lack of demonstrably effective interventions make it difficult to substantially refute these concerns. Yet despite the sometimes justified criticism it is unlikely that thehuman services will cease to exist. They serve many critical functions in modern day society. They serve needs that would be difficult or impossible to meet without radical alterations in the very fabric of developed society. The question then becomes, “ Can they be made more effective?” It is our contention that they can be. More specifically, we assert that Organizational Behavioral Management (OBM) can serve a significant role in improving the effectiveness of human service agencies. OBM is not a cure-all or a quick fix for the many challenges anddifficulties facing human services. It cannot fundamentally alter society’s priorities or create resources where none exist. However, it is a tool that can improve the effectiveness of human service personnel. It is a systematic and well documented approach that can reduce cost, improve productivity, and help organizations achievePortions of this paper were presented in a symposium entitled “ Organizational Behavior Management: Application to the Human Services,” Jon P. Ziarnik, Chairman, Association for Behavior Analysis, Milwaukee, May, 1982.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationImproving Staff Effectiveness in Human Service Settings
Subtitle of host publicationOrganizational Behavior Management Approaches
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781136549687
ISBN (Print)0866562826, 9780866562829
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


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