Force control has long been cited as a method for dealing with positional uncertainties when performing assembly tasks. Various techniques have been developed based on control theory but these have not been widely adopted by industry due to the highly specialized and labour intensive task of developing force controllers for a robot manipulator using traditional methods. Behaviour-based robotics has proven successful when applied to tasks performed in dynamic and noisy environments. A behaviour-based approach is proposed as a valid alternative to the traditional control theory approaches under conditions where optimal or provable stable control is not critical. It is demonstrated that robot force controllers designed according to a behaviour-based methodology can be developed to successfully perform active compliant motion tasks and provide benefits of reduced development effort and robust task execution in industrial assembly environments.