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Bridging the Gap with OBM Marius Rietdijk, Ph.D. thought that I must find out more says Rietdijk. “I read everything I about the applications of learning could of Skinner‟s, and also Perfor- theory in companies,” he said. He mance Management Magazine and had no idea at the time that his the Journal for Organizational Be- quest for information would eventu- havior Management (JOBM). Then ally take him on a journey to Ameri- one day, my professor said, „You ca and beyond. should go and see those people in America.‟ The first person I met was The first stepping stone took the Aubrey and he was so kind that he form of a book on organizational Clinical psychologist, organizational asked me to stay in Atlanta for a behavior management. Rietdijk read few weeks to take courses.” This and social psychologist, business the book and wrote a summary for a consultant: these four pursuits pivotal meeting took place in 1995. Dutch management journal as well Rietdijk regrettably couldn‟t stay for would keep the busiest person‟s as a subsequent book chapter on calendar full. Now add politician, the courses, as his trip had already the subject; both publications gen- been mapped out—a rigorous yoga instructor,researcher, and erated interest in the local business writer and you will have a brief pro- agenda that also took him to Detroit, community. Then working as a sen- file of Marius Rietdijk, assistant pro-ior researcher at Nyenrode Univer- fessor of business administration at sity, a business school in Holland, Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. he came across Beth Sulzer- Rietdijk began to discover a com- Azaroff‟s book, Behavior Analysis mon thread in many of his interests for Lasting Change in which she decades ago, when during his stud- referred to and recommended the ies, he questioned why industrial work of Aubrey Daniels. “I had organizational psychology em- changed a bit from psychology to ployed none of the learning theories business schools, but I was still very offered by clinical psychology. “I excited about behavior analysis,” © 2010 Aubrey Daniels International, Inc. All rights reserved. ADI • Bridging the Gap with OBM 2 Western Michigan University, and sultant you must show that you real- trained—a funny case to begin the New York to meet with other mov- ly made a difference in a company. story. Then I apply OBM methods to ers and shakers of the behavioral There are research methodologies a small department of a factory. community. “For me it was reinforc- for doing that; for example, taking a Next, I increase the level of analy- ing of course, having read a lot baseline measure of performance. sis, because I found in the OBM about behaviorists, behavior analy- Many consultant colleagues are literature that we should not only sis, and [Organizational Behavioral more focused on relevance, but not look at the department level but also Management] OBM, and then I on rigor. They don‟t really prove at the large-scale level. I made made the appointment with Aubrey whether their work has an effect . . . some minor changes and a publish- that I could come back another time Academic colleagues are more fo- er wanted to publish it,” he says. to do courses and to have my cused on scientific research, not so “Because they had not published APMT certification, so that I could much on relevance. Both rigor and anything at all about OBM in Hol- also apply this in Dutch companies.” relevance are getting more and land, I thought that I should publish more important in the future.” it first in Dutch.” By then, Rietdijk had completed his studies in clinical, organizational, Rietdijk‟s thesis, Organisaties condi- and social psychology. He decided tioneren. De invloed van beloning to begin work on his doctorate in en straf op werkprestaties economics and business administra- (Conditioning Organizations: The tion, but he wanted to focus his the- influence of reward and punishment sis on OBM. No such concentration on work performance) was pub- of study existed in Holland, but that lished by the VU University Press. didn‟t deter Rietdijk, who proceeded “It connects OBM with mainstream to develop a Ph.D. thesis based on management journals, and is reada- OBM while convincing his profes- While working on his doctorate, ble for undergraduates,” Rietdijk ex- sors of its validity. “They didn‟t reallyietdijk kept his long-awaited ap- plains. “Van Gorcum publishers know much about it or really under- pointment with Aubrey Daniels. He have published a simpler version stand it, but I was convinced by the returned to America and completed named Gedragsverandering in literature,” he explains. “I had to in his advanced performance manage- Organisaties. Hoe het beste van fact shape the community here in ment certification and soon after- mensen gedaan te krijgen (Behavioral my direction so that they under- ward conducted his first three-day change in organizations: How to get stood what I was proposing.” workshop in Holland. For a time, the best from people). This book he left the world of academia to avoids the academic contribution of The Ph.D. was twenty years in the work as an OBM consultant, and OBM to management science, but making while Rietdijk worked as a operates his own firm today; but just explains and gives an overview tenured professor with a continuing both worlds remain a draw for of OBM. It got more distribution and goal to bridge the gap between ac- Rietdijk, who also works as a pro- was nominated to be one of the ademia and the business world. In fessor and teacher. In fact, Rietdijk best three books of the last two an interview with Valentin Bejan has achieved another milestone: his years contributing to bridge the gap entitled “Rigor and Relevance in thesis has begun to bridge the gap between HRM/Organizational theory Business Science” he explains that between his business and academic and practice. It was not the winner, both communities could prosper by colleagues. “It starts with the very but still a nominee out of hundreds applying OBM methods: “As a con- simple case of a parakeet that I of books.” Rietdijk is currently in the © 2010 Aubrey Daniels International, Inc. All rights reserved. ADI • Bridging the Gap with OBM 3 process of translating the book into tire performance management sys- behavioral English. tem on the Web as a learning pro- strategy and gram for managers,” says Rietdijk. effect in eve- Rietdijk believes that keeping a foot ry aspect of in both business and academia can He also offers interactive workshops his career further achieve his goals. “I am still to introduce people to and educate and personal doing consulting because I think if them about behavioral methods. “I interests. you want to have good data for sci- ask people in the audience what Rietdijk also entific articles, you must also do their issues are with regards to be- owns and intervention work. I think we need havior. We select a behavior and I operates his the practical interventions in real lifedo an ABC analysis with the group own yoga studio and states that he and also the other way around. without telling them it‟s an ABC now sees meditation—which he analysis,” he says. “I draw two col- teaches and practices—as a behav- “There is a big gap between theory umns, A and C, on a flipchart, and I and practice and that is also how I ioral therapy that incorporates a write what they say about what is systematic approach to relaxation. think OBM can help business sci- affecting the occurrence of that be- ence. If we understand the needs of This observation may very well lead havior. I put the things they say in him down another path of discovery. business, we can offer a contribu- either the antecedent column or the tion to business. That may be how “Relaxation is just a physical phe- consequence column. Very quickly, my thesis can contribute, by market- nomena; I don‟t see it as a mental the antecedent column fills up, be- thing,” he explains. “I think that yo- ing the field of OBM to a broader cause they use antecedents all the and also scientific management ga‟s stretching and relaxation tech- time if they want to change behav- niques are very systematic. I don‟t community. I have relationships ior. However, after explaining the here with the business community think I‟ve read anything about the ABC model, they understand the behavior analytical view of medita- and also behavior management importance of positive, immediate scientists, and I am convinced that tion, but I‟m really excited about it.” and certain consequences.” OBM can really contribute to help When he started his consulting firm, management solve problems.” Recently, Rietdijk was invited to Rietdijk found that networking conduct a four-day workshop in seemed the best way to spread the In a project with Dutch Railways, Sardinia, Italy, sponsored by the Rietdijk‟s consulting firm emphasized word about OBM technology, and Sardinian government. “The stu- he soon found himself involved with the importance of social reinforcement dents appreciated the practical ap- described as “compliments linked to local politics. Today he is a city plication (OBM), for which I used performance.” Managers monitored councilor in his town of Amstelveen, the book of the Daniels brothers where he not only talks with local the contingent reinforcers that they and ADI‟s fluency program. Be- gave throughout the day in the form journalists about behavioral meth- cause of the good evaluations, they ods, but applies those methods of positive comments about specific immediately invited me to return performance. “It worked so well that himself. “In politics, it is very cus- next year. How reinforcing can be- tomary to fight with and punish each we decided to start a website (pli- havior analysis be?” he remarks. menten.com) to give everyone in other,” he comments. “But I am not punishing. I just want to shape good the world a chance to monitor their Picking up a book on behavioral compliments/verbal reinforcement management practices made a last- behavior. I want to give compli- ments to the right behaviors to im- and set goals. We included an en- ing impact on Rietdijk‟s life. He sees prove performance. Then the at- © 2010 Aubrey Daniels International, Inc. All rights reserved. ADI • Bridging the Gap with OBM 4 mosphere improves and the results shop” and with equal humor describes dren—and even apply it at the soci- also improve.” himself as “almost like a priest who ety level,” he says. Rietdijk has studies behavior analysis.” made that clear, not only through Today Rietdijk is a strategic partner words but through specific, observ- with Aubrey Daniels International “I hope I have made the point clear able, and very positive action. In and he serves on an advisory board that you can connect behavioral short, as Aubrey Daniels might say, at the Cambridge Center for Behav- analysis and methods to not only when it comes to behavior analysis, ioral Studies. He says, with a laugh, companies and all levels of an or- Rietdijk “walks the talk.” that for him, being around behavior- ganization, but to one‟s daily life— al scientists is like being in a “sweet your pets, your family, your chil- ADI 3344 Peachtree Rd, Suite 1050 Atlanta, Georgia 30326 tel: 678.904.6140 email: info@AubreyDaniels.com web: AubreyDaniels.com blog: aubreydanielsblog.com © 2010 Aubrey Daniels International, Inc. All rights reserved.
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