ABC approach is a methodology adopted to study the behavior patterns of a person. ABC relates to Antecedents, Behavior and Consequences. The three words may look very simple, but the complexities involved in this study are exceptionally high. Understanding the ABC's of behavior enables one to build up effective strategies and combat erratic behavior of a person. For organizations, understanding employee behavior can lead to increase in efficiency as well as more productivity. Employee happiness can also lead to employing better strategies.

So, what do you need to know about ABC's of behavior?

This methodology is highly useful in analyzing the reasons for a particular behavior by a person. What do you do when an employee constantly misses deadlines or when you see a high performing employee suddenly not being as productive? You need to follow the ABC approach in the said order for finding a logical conclusion and remedy to problematic behavior.


In order to find out the reasons for the peculiar behavioral pattern, it is important to analyze the incidents that triggered or stimulates the behavior. Every behavior, good or bad has some of its influence from the past events or the society or the environment. A behavior is ones attempt to communicate a particular need or want. Hence, it is important first to understand the circumstances that lead up to the current behavioral pattern. This is considered to be a pro-active way to prevent the behaviors occurring. It is based on the principle of prevention and is better than a cure.


Behavior refers to what the person did or what was his behavior pattern. The behavior can vary from person to person. If the antecedents are known, it is comparatively easy to derive ways or strategies that can mellow down the behavioral traits of a person. The strategies include staying calm and speaking in an even tone, lend an ear, try to empathize with the person and use gentle hand gestures which have a positive impact on the person. It is important here to recognize the right time to get out of the situation. It is also important to ensure personal safety of all involved.


Consequences can be positive or negative depending on the kind of behavior shown by the person, which in turn depends on the antecedents. There are chances that the results may reinforce the undesirable or desirable behavior. Consequence in this context refers to how successful their behavior was in meeting the desired outcome. For example, if ones goal is to socialize and returns late consistently from lunch to satisfy socialization needs, the perceived consequence is positive. However, if one takes an extended lunch and their peers do not show up, the perceived consequence is negative because their need was unmet.

Author's Bio: 

Bobby Harris is a driven, experienced and knowledgeable professional within areas such as healthcare, childhood education, abuse intervention and crisis prevention; organizational leadership and intellectual / developmental Disabilities.