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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Kenneth L. Beauchamp

First Committee Member

David A. Wilder

Second Committee Member

Judy L. Agnew


Aversive control measures in the form of punishment and negative reinforcement are widely used in business and other organizations. The purpose of the present study was to systematically evaluate an alternative to aversive control. The effect of a package intervention consisting of a weighted checklist, weekly graphic feedback, and contingent social positive reinforcement in the form of praise was used with a university housing staff to increase duty performance.

Five undergraduate Resident Assistants served as participants. A multiple baseline across staff members was used to evaluate the effect of the intervention. Results indicate that the intervention increased performance by an average of 45% and decreased variability in performance. These results suggest that interventions based on feedback and positive reinforcement are effective, cost efficient, and represent a practical alternative to aversive control measures.



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