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What is behaviour management?

Like organisational behaviour, the term ‘behaviour management’ has many definitions. Let’s have a look at some of the definitions found in the literature.

According to Encyclopedia.com:

Behaviour management refers to a class of therapeutic techniques for altering behaviour by changing one or more aspects of an individual’s environment.

(Encyclopedia.com 2005)

In this regard, behaviour management focuses on the aspects of life related to the individual or the situation the individual is in. This is based on personality theory and therapy, which, according to the theorist Bandura (1977), incorporates a three-way interaction between the environment, behaviour and psychological processes.

In Wikipedia (2018), behaviour management is contrasted to behaviour modification in such a way that behaviour management deals with restoring order while behaviour modification focuses on changing the behaviour.

Behaviour management skills are of particular importance to all kinds of organisations, especially those that deal with large groups of people, such as the construction industry and education.

Behaviour management techniques therefore include the following approaches:

  • Identification of the problem or negative behaviour
  • Education about replacement behaviours
  • Alterations to the individual’s environment to reduce negative behaviour
  • Positive reinforcement to encourage new behaviour and negative reinforcement to discourage the inappropriate action

Your task

Based on the definition given in this article, how could a manager use behaviour management to address behavioural challenges?

What are the challenges a construction manager would face when attempting to promote good behaviour or discourage negative behaviour?

How could they use the environment and behaviour management techniques to do this?

Share your thoughts in the comments and respond to posts from other learners.


Bandura, A. (1977) Social Learning Theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall

Encyclopedia.com (2005) Behaviour management [online]. available from https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/behavior-management [14 August 2019]

Wikipedia (2018) Behaviour management [online]. available from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Behavior_management [14 August 2019]

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This article is from the free online course:

Organisational Behaviour in Construction: An Introduction

Coventry University