Many people are fascinated by the factors and principles that drive behavior, not to mention the practice of manipulating these factors to bring about behavior changes. If you have an interest in this field but aren’t keen to work in the areas of treating developmental disorders and medically problematic behaviors that are usually associated with applied behavior analysis, a role in the business field may make sense for you. Behaviors on the part of both the people within a business organization and the consumer audience outside it are what drive success or lead to failure. With a background in behavior analysis, you could work in the business world in different capacities, including the practice of organizational behavior management, the role of market research analyst or the area of human resources.
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The Field of Organizational Behavior Management
When you have heard of organizational management in the past, you probably thought about leadership strategies and senior management roles, not about behavior analysis principles. Yet this area of organizational behavior management is somewhat different, according to the Behavior Analysis Certification Board.
In the field of organizational behavior management, behavior analysts often work in a consulting capacity, advising clients on how to improve the variables in the workplace that affect behavior, rather than as in-house employees. This allows the behavior analyst to approach problems from an outsider’s perspective and gather data to conduct objective assessments of workplace systems, processes and culture through a method that the Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) Network calls Behavioral Systems Analysis.
Based on this analysis, behavior analysts can find opportunities for improvement in key areas, including employee performance management and behavior-based safety practices that decrease accidents in the workplace, to improve productivity, efficiency and income.
Emphasizing Analysis in Business
Profitable businesses typically take calculated risks, not reckless ones. When they decide whether to offer new products and services or discontinue old ones as well as how, and for how much, to sell these offerings, they base those decisions on more than a hunch. They base them on data, which a professional known as a market research analyst or a consumer behavior analyst is responsible for collecting, evaluating and interpreting.
Although market research analyst doesn’t have “behavior” in the job title, it is an excellent option in the business arena for workers with a degree in behavior analysis. That’s because understanding the factors and variables that drive consumer behavior – and, in turn, the market – requires an understanding of the scientific principles used in behavior analysis. Market research analysts use some of the same methods of gathering data as behavior analysts working in other fields, such as interviews, surveys, questionnaires and literature reviews, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). They also glean information from focus groups and public opinion polls.
Market research analysts most commonly work in the industry of management, scientific and technical consulting services, followed by finance and insurance, wholesale trade, management and offline publishing industries, the BLS reported.
Changing Employee Behavior in a Human Resources Role
You might not equate the field of human resources with behavior analysis, but HR is all about managing an organization’s workplace – and that includes the human behavior involved. As part of your background in behavior analysis, you are likely to complete coursework in learning styles, which can aid your efforts in employee training, and in motivation, which can help you encourage workers to reach their full potential.
Historically, companies have looked for a slightly different background in their human resources personnel, but the Society for Human Resource Management reported that the use of behavioral assessments in the hiring process is on the rise. As a result, job candidates with experience administering and evaluating behavioral assessments, as well as the principles behind employee motivation and training, are in demand.
If you envision yourself putting your behavior analysis education and skills to work in the HR field, then it might be wise to take a few business courses as well. The BLS reported that studies in professional writing, industrial relations, accounting and general business – and, of course, psychology – are among the most important subjects found in a human resources degree program.
Human resources is one field in which leadership roles have their perks. HR managers, who usually have at least five years of experience, make a median wage that is more than $52,000 higher than HR specialists – nearly double their median salary, the BLS reported.