Behavioral Interventions

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Volume 9 Issue 1 (January 1994), Pages fmi-fmi, 1-73

Enhancing professional performance through organizational change (pages 27-42)


Transferring the technology derived from research into the routine operation of professionals serving developmentally disabled clients may present a challenge. Assuming this is due in part to the contingencies operating within the system, methods need to be sought to alter the way they are arranged. Performance management (PM) lends itself to this type of organizational change. In the present case example, the management of psychological services at an institution for developmentally disabled people was reorganized to incorporate the key elements of PM: Selecting contextually relevant and appropriate goals (i.e., consonant with the state, institution, departmental, unit and individual client objectives), devising and applying measures of relevant performances, and intervening with feedback, reinforcement and goal setting while evaluating ongoing change. The self‐selection and completion of goals among the 40 professionals participating in 4 groups was supported by biweekly review and reinforcement sessions plus occasional delivery of extrinsic rewards. Professionals increased the number of goals they reported accomplishing and the number they planned to achieve gradually began to match more closely the number reported accomplished. Results were sufficiently promising to encourage future functional analyses of such an organizational operation as well as of the components that might contribute most heavily to its success.

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