Date of Award

Spring 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


STEM Education & Professional Studies


Occupational and Technical Studies

Committee Director

John Ritz

Committee Member

George Haber

Committee Member

Suzan Thompson


The purpose of this study was to develop a model for employer training to manage employees who possess counter-productive behaviors. With the increasing encouragement for employers to hire without discriminating, the number of individuals with disabilities in the workforce will rise. There is limited training in universities and businesses to teach how to deal with difficult individuals.

Qualitative research in the form of focus groups was conducted. The following research objectives were developed: 1) Identify components of counter-productive behaviors that need to be managed in the workplace. 2) Develop behavioral management strategies that need be learned by employers. 3) Integrate the findings of counter-productive behaviors with behavior management strategies into a model that can be used to instruct employers in the management of counter-productive behaviors of employees.

From the research, a conceptual model was developed using the andragogical model of Knowles, Holton and Swanson (1998). In planning the framework for the training, the instructional design of Morrison, Ross and Kemp (2007) was used. Two levels of training for a company were developed for: 1) top management and 2) middle management and front line supervisors.

Objectives for top management were to obtain: 1) knowledge of profitability of training, 2) knowledge about laws mandating hiring, 3) knowledge about laws mandating accommodation and 4) approval for the training of middle management and front line supervisors.

Objectives for middle management and front line supervisor training were: 1) identify counter-productive behaviors, 2) obtain knowledge of possible causes of counter-productive behaviors, 3) obtain knowledge of possible accommodations and modifications and 4) evaluate understanding and willingness to implement strategies in the workplace.

Five employee counter-productive behaviors of absenteeism, difficulty concentrating, inappropriate social skills, impulsivity and negativity were reported. Additional counter-productive behaviors of anger outbursts, anxiety, communication, irritability, over activity, shifts in mood, excessive talking and lack of awareness of nonverbal social cues were suggested.

The most frequent accommodations were flexible breaks and scheduling. Other strategies reported were creating task lists, modifying workspace, relocating worker to a different workspace, use of ear phones to block out noise and use of a mentor. It was also determined that employees do not request accommodations or modifications for fear of retribution on the job. This model provides a guide for detailed training to meet the objectives of top management, middle management and front line supervisors of a company.


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