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Essay on Human Performance and Improvement

4 pages
921 words
Boston College
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Human performance improvement which has interchangeably been used with terminologies such as human performance technology (HPT), or human performance assessment (HPA) is focused on the advancement of the performance of people or the workers. Some of the methodologies used in HPI include lean and six sigma, motivation, technology, knowledge management as well as training (Van Tiem, Moseley, & Dessinger, 2012). The levels that HPI focuses on are the organizations, societal. Processes as well as individual performances. Some of the interventions of HPI are from other fields and disciplines such as the total quality management, behavioral psychology, and human resources management. HPT combines three vital fundamental processes which are performance analysis, cause analysis, and intervention selection (Dunnette & Fleishman, 2014). This paper focusses on these three contributors and provides a comparison of various terms associated with HPI. Finally, the implications for the future if HPT will be discussed.

Key Contributors of Three Figures and Impact on The Field

The process of performance improvement starts with the comparison of the present as well as the desired levels of the individual as well as organizational performance. Such a process aids in the identification of the performance gap. The second step is the cause analysis which determines the impact of the work environment and the people. According to Van Tiem, Moseley, & Dessinger (2012), the work environment consists of factors such as information, resources, and incentives. People, in this case, makes reference to the motives, capacities, and skills of individuals in an organization. The last aspect is that of selecting the most appropriate intervention based on the identification of the cause and the desired levels of performance. As such, the three fundamental concepts in HP include performance analysis, cause analysis, and intervention selection. The three ideas have varied impacts on the field of HPI. Performance analysis aids in the identification of the present as well as desired levels of performance (Brethower, 2012). Cause analysis, on the other hand, ensures that the impact of work environment is determined. The last aspect of intervention selection makes sure that only the right intervention is implemented to ensure that the present condition is transformed to the desired levels of performance.

Comparing and Contrasting PI, HPI, PT And HPT

The terms performance improvement (PI), human performance improvement (HPI), performance technology(PI) and human performance technology (HPT) have been used interchangeably. However, they have various similarities and differences. One of the similarities between the terminologies is that they all refer to the science as well as the art geared towards the improvement of not only the people and processes, but also the performance of organizations as well as the society (Van Tiem, Moseley, & Dessinger, 2012). However, the difference is that whereas human performance technology (HPT) and human performance improvement (HPI) are focused towards the development of the people/workers performance, Performance technology (PT) refers to the application of various methods, procedures, and approaches in the improvement of work, worker, and the workplace. Ultimately PT focuses on the advancement of the world. Dunnette & Fleishman (2014) state that despite the name that is used, PI focuses on the systematic process for the linkage of organizational goals and strategies with the workers who have the responsibility of achieving those objectives. The terminologies all refer to the science and art of selecting and implementing solutions as well as using intuition and creativity in overcoming challenges which inhibit human performance improvement.

Implications for The Future In HPT

There is a possibility that the future HPT will be bright or dull depending on the manner in which PT practitioners focus on answering various critical questions. One of those is what constitutes to good practice in the area of human performance technology. The next question relates to the differences between proper research as well as exemplary practice. The last problem which will determine how the future of HPT will be is that on the units of analysis which will result in the best practice of HPT (Brethower, 2012). The implications of the uncertain nature of HPT implies that organizations need to define their own standards which will stipulate what will make proper research and practice. Additionally, the adoption of HPT should be based on established principles so that the implementation can result in the best performance for organizations. Moreover, the organization should strive to ensure that they have an exemplary practice which would result in the accomplishment of the desired performance goals.

In conclusion, performance improvement (PI) which has interchangeably been used with human performance improvement (HPI), performance technology(PI) and human performance technology (HPT) relies on three essential processes; performance analysis, cause analysis, and intervention selection. The fundamental concepts ensure that the present performance is established and the desired one and eventually ensures that the intervention selected is the most appropriate. The differences between the terms are that they focus on different aspects of organizational performance. However, the similarity is that they all focus on the art and science of ensuring improved individuals, corporate, and societal performance. The future of HPI is that of uncertainty based on questions surrounding what constitutes good research and exemplary practice. The implications of such a dilemma are that organizations should have their standards which will guide their implementation of HPT.


Brethower, D. M. (2012). The future of HPT depends on whether practitioners focus on foundations or fads. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 25(1), 47-58.

Dunnette, M. D., & Fleishman, E. A. (Eds.). (2014). Human Performance and Productivity: Volumes 1, 2, and 3. Psychology Press.

Van Tiem, D., Moseley, J. L., & Dessinger, J. C. (2012). Fundamentals of performance improvement: A guide to improving people, process, and performance. Wiley.

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