Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D
Brett DiNovi, M.A., BCBA
Brett DiNovi & Associates
As a professional and as a leader you may at times be asked to do things that are against your best judgement; however, serving the larger interests of your clients and acting consistent with best practices is part of your responsibility as a behavior analyst. When you are asked to respond to demands in the work place in ways that you believe compromise your client’s welfare or are unethical it is in your best interest to respond authentically, openly, and respectfully about to these demands.
In a recent video by Brett DiNovi & Associates, Brett DiNovi, M.A., BCBA, speaks about the necessity of “speaking your truth” in how you handle such situations. He aptly makes the case that acting to authentically let your ‘truth’ be known may feel difficult but will often serve you better in the long-run.
Brett notes that in organizations where you are asked to engage in unethical behaviors, there is a tendency for those same leaders to later fire employees for doing what they have been asked to do. Brett’s statements point to the effects of competing contingencies within organizations. In Organizational Behavior Management, we often note a tendency for leaders and organizations they serve to be myopic in their focus. That is, your supervisors, or the departments in which you work, can become so concerned with achieving short-term goals that they miss the long-term implications of their behavior. These same leaders, departments, and organizations tend to later punish professionals for doing as they were told. In a sense, these leaders and organizations are only concerned with putting out the fire before them, at the expense of their employees and clients.
Brett makes the case that it is in your best interest to stay true to yourself and what you know as best practice. Behave in accordance with your values and standards for ethical and professional behavior. If your employers chose to engage in unethical or unprofessional behavior, you should make your feelings known authentically and respectfully. Strive to educate and lead by example as a professional. If you continue to be pressured to act in ways that are inconsistent with your values, consider leaving the employer and finding an organization in which you are more appreciated.
If you find yourself in such a situation, we might also recommend taking appropriate measures to protect your professional reputation. Consider asking for references from other employees and document your interactions and instructions with your supervisors. In all you do, try to set a good example for others, and protect and appreciate others who stand for professional and ethical standards.
To learn more about unethical practices, be sure to check out the full video, and to subscribe to Brett DiNovi’s YouTube channel and let him know what you would like to see in future videos. Also be sure to subscribe to bSci21 via email to receive the latest articles directly to your inbox!
Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D is the President and Founder of bSci21Media, LLC, which owns the top behavior analytic media outlet in the world, bSci21.org. bSci21Media aims to disseminate behavior analysis to the world and to support ABA companies around the globe through the Behavioral Science in the 21st Century blog and its subsidiaries, bSciEntrepreneurial, bSciWebDesign, bSciWriting, bSciStudios and the ABA Outside the Box CEU series. Dr. Ward received his PhD in behavior analysis from the University of Nevada, Reno under Dr. Ramona Houmanfar. He has served as a Guest Associate Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, and as an Editorial Board member of Behavior and Social Issues. Dr. Ward has also provided ABA services to children and adults with various developmental disabilities in day centers, in-home, residential, and school settings, and previously served as Faculty Director of Behavior Analysis Online at the University of North Texas. Dr. Ward is passionate about disseminating behavior analysis to the world and growing the field through entrepreneurship. Todd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Brett DiNovi, M.A., BCBA has the unique and distinguished experience of studying the principles of applied behavior analysis under the rigorous scrutiny of both Dr. Julie S. Vargas (formerly Skinner) and Dr. E.A. Vargas at West Virginia University’s internationally recognized program. For the past 26 years, Brett has used behavior analytic principles to create large scale change across school districts, Fortune 500 companies using principles of Organizational Behavior Management (OBM), and across individual learners. Brett has been a OBM consultant in Morgantown WV, an instructor at West Virginia University, a guest lecturer at numerous universities, a speaker on multiple Comcast Newsmakers TV programs, an expert witness in due process hearings, has publications in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, and has been in in executive leadership positions across schools and residential programs nationwide. In addition to an award from South Jersey Biz Magazine for “Best Places to Work,” an award for “Best of Families” in Suburban Magazine, and the distinguished “Top Ranked U.S. Executives” award, Brett’s proudest accomplishment is being a role model and father for his daughter and two stepchildren (one of which has autism). Brett can be reached at email@example.com
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