Graduation Year

2004

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Applied Behavior Analysis

Major Professor

Clark, Hewitt B.

Keywords

contextual fit, establishing operation, coworker mentor, antecedent manipulation, EBD

Abstract

The population consisting of young people with Behavioral/Emotional/Learning challenges typically experiences poorer outcomes related to employment, in part due to lower performance levels. Effective strategies, which have a positive impact on work performance for this population, are needed. Goal setting has been used to bring about behavior change, or increase 'motivation', in many fields of study. Goal setting can be conceptualized as an establishing operation (EO), which increases the reinforcing value of goal achievement, and thereby increases the probability of the occurrence of behaviors related to reaching the goal, i.e., task completion.

This study empirically examined the impact of a goal setting procedure on work-related behaviors through the use of a singlecase experimental design, to detect the individual results of the goal setting intervention, which included the manipulation of environmental events to explain behavior change, or 'motivation'. It was hypothesized that the goal setting procedure would have a positive impact on work performance for these young people with challenges in a work-type setting. Results showed that the goal setting procedure did have a positive impact on the work performance of both participants, especially when additional prompts were included in the goal setting procedure. Although goal setting may serve as an EO, the goal setting procedure, which included additional elements such as prompts and feedback, seemed to be more effective.

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