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A Publication in the Berrett-Koehler
Organizational Performance Series
Richard A. Swanson and Barbara L. Swanson,
Tools for Diagnosing Organizations and
Documenting Workplace Expertise
Second Edition, Revised and Expanded
Richard A. Swanson
Analysis for Improving Performance
Copyright © 2007 by Richard A. Swanson
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Production Management: Michael Bass Associates
Dedicated to my father
Walter G. Swanson
February 23, 1912–November 4, 1993
Blessed is the man
To whom his work is a pleasure,
By whom his friends are encouraged,
With whom all are comfortable,
In whom a clear conscience abides, and
Through whom his children see God.
—William Arthur Ward
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Detailing System Tasks 93 107 9. Data Collection Methods PART THREE Documenting Workplace Expertise 10. Theoretical Foundation of Performance Improvement 11 3. Developing Task Inventories 125 135 143 12. Documenting Process-Referenced Tasks 13. Concepts for Diagnosing Performance 5. Constructing a Performance Improvement Proposal 7. The Performance Diagnosis Process 49 57 6. Detailing Procedural Tasks 14. The Nature of Workplace Expertise 163 187 15. Documenting and Improving Work Processes 8.Contents Preface xiii PART ONE Analysis: The Key to Improving Performance 1 1. Documenting Job Descriptions 11. Case Study of Analysis for Performance Improvement 37 PART TWO Diagnosing Organizational Performance 4. Linking Improvement Programs to Important Organizational Goals 3 2. Detailing Knowledge Tasks vii 217 47 155 123 79 .
Organizing and Prioritizing Analysis Work for Maximum Performance Impact 259 17. From Analysis to Performance Improvement Appendix References Index 277 295 305 About the Author 317 269 .viii Contents PART FOUR Managing Analysis Work to Improve Performance 257 16.
1 Theoretical Foundations of Performance Improvement 16 Figure 2.1 Figure 5.4 Interdependencies of Subsystem Inputs.1 Acme International Distribution Division Organizational Chart 39 Figure 3.4 Shipper Overtime: January–December 41 CHAPTER 5 Figure 5.4 Figure 5.List of Figures CHAPTER 1 Figure 1.7 Diagnosing Performance Process 58 Articulate the Initial Purpose Steps 59 Assess Performance Variables Steps 63 Performance Diagnosis Matrix 65 Specify Performance Measures Steps 67 Determine Performance Needs Steps 69 Overall Process of Diagnosing Performance ix 72 .1 Overview of Analysis for Improving Performance Process 9 CHAPTER 2 Figure 2. Processes.2 Figure 5. and Outputs 30 CHAPTER 3 Figure 3.3 Inventory Error Rate: January–December 40 Figure 3.2 Returned Goods Rate: January–December 40 Figure 3.2 Taxonomy of Performance 24 Figure 2.6 Figure 5.3 Figure 5.5 Figure 5.3 Systems Model of Performance Improvement 25 Figure 2.
3 Acme International Performance Improvement Proposal 90 CHAPTER 7 Figure 7.2 Sample Process Flowchart 97 Figure 7.3 Figure 8.1 Documenting Expertise 130 Figure 9.6 Integrated Flowchart of Improved Work Process 103 CHAPTER 8 Figure 8.5 Integrated Flowchart of Existing Work Process 102 Figure 7.3 Features of the Five Analyses of Expertise Tools 134 CHAPTER 10 Figure 10.2 Figure 8.3 Performance Diagnosis Matrix for Health Care New Business Managers (NBMs) 98 Figure 7.1 Documenting and Improving Work Processes Steps 94 Figure 7.1 Developing a Job Description 136 CHAPTER 11 Figure 11.x List of Figures CHAPTER 6 Figure 6.1 Figure 8.1 Developing a Task Inventory 144 Figure 11.2 Task Inventory for R&D Team Leader in a High-Tech Medical Company 153 .2 Overall Process of Documenting Workplace Expertise 132 Figure 9.4 Interview Technique Summary 110 Questionnaire Technique Summary 113 Observation Technique Summary 116 Organizational Record Technique Summary 119 CHAPTER 9 Figure 9.2 Tram Ride Time Performance Graph 87 Figure 6.1 Constructing a Performance Improvement Proposal 80 Figure 6.4 Flowchart Steps (Partial List) within the Health Care Insurance Sales Process 101 Figure 7.
4 Blow Molder 173 Figure 13.6 Analysis of a Shipper’s Procedural Task 182 CHAPTER 14 Figure 14.2 Automobile System Spine with Driver and Cruise Control Subsystems 196 Figure 14.1 Analyzing Procedural Tasks 166 Figure 13.1 Process-Referenced Task Identiﬁcation 159 Figure 12. Operation.2 Two-Axis Matrix Showing Equilibrium among Potential Exploitative Relationships in Industry and Business 231 Figure 15.3 Three-Axis Matrix Depicting a Human Resource Management Cube 232 Figure 15.5 Analysis of Shipper’s Systems Task 211 CHAPTER 15 Figure 15.4 Flowchart Model 233 Figure 15.5 Procedural Analysis of the Setup.3 Spine of the Voilà Purchase Order System 202 Figure 14.2 Example of First Page of Procedural Task Analysis Form 167 Figure 13.7 Example of Argumentation Dealing with Sexual Harassment 238 Figure 15. and Shutdown of the Blow Molder 176 Figure 13.1 Analyzing System Tasks 191 Figure 14.3 Procedural Analysis for Making a Telephone Call 171 Figure 13.5 Events Network Used in Resolving an Organizational Problem 235 Figure 15.1 Analyzing Knowledge Tasks 219 Figure 15.8 Example of Knowledge Task Description Focusing on Sexual Harassment 240 .List of Figures xi CHAPTER 12 Figure 12.4 Voilà Company 204 Figure 14.6 Dichotomy Example Involving Older Workers 237 Figure 15.2 Process-Referenced Task Standards 160 CHAPTER 13 Figure 13.
9 Analysis of Shipper’s Knowledge Task 245 CHAPTER 16 Figure 16.1 Systems Model of Performance Improvement: Interacting with Organizational Processes 270 APPENDIX Figure A.1 Financial Analysis of Investment Alternatives 267 Figure 16.6 Figure A.15 Job Description Form 278 Task Inventory Form 279 Procedural Task Analysis Form 280 System Description and Flow Form 282 System Parts and Purposes Form 283 Process Analysis Form 284 Troubleshooting Analysis Form 285 Knowledge Task Description Form 287 Two-Axis Matrix Worksheet Form 288 Three-Axis Matrix Worksheet Form 289 Flowchart Worksheet Form 290 Events Network Worksheet Form 291 Dichotomy Worksheet Form 292 Argumentation Worksheet Form 293 Graphic Modeling Worksheet Form 294 .3 Decision Matrix 268 CHAPTER 17 Figure 17.8 Figure A.13 Figure A.2 Figure A.14 Figure A.2 Financial Comparison of Performance Improvement Options 267 Figure 16.9 Figure A.4 Figure A.1 Figure A.3 Figure A.5 Figure A.10 Figure A.11 Figure A.xii List of Figures Figure 15.12 Figure A.7 Figure A.
Thus. a fairly universal analysis vocabulary has developed. One standard version is analysis. however. and worker levels. and performance technology—are exhibited in various ways. that determines whether performance improvement efforts support core organizational processes or are simply a series of activities taking place within the organization. Another more prevalent approach to improving performance. reengineering. backed by research and experience. and its requirements of organizational diagnosis and expertise xiii . process. quality improvement. not mastering the worker. and evaluation. It is how the analysis phase is carried out. One way clearly recognizes the organization’s core processes and their connectedness to basic inputs and outputs for adding value. implementation. Regardless of the specific approach used. standard performance improvement models include four to six phases. human resource development. team. design. the easy talk about analysis—at both the diagnosis of performance and documentation of expertise levels—can mean intense investigation from one perspective or a fairly simple and routine activity from another. Even though analysis practices are diverse. from analysis to evaluation. This is a book about mastering performance improvement and the work.Preface The fundamental premise of Analysis for Improving Performance is that systematic and thorough organizational performance diagnosis and documentation of workplace expertise provide the true basis for improving performance at the organizational. is a pattern of independent activities taking place apart from the core organizational inputs and outputs and having no direct connection to organizational performance measures. even though professional practices leave much to be desired. Organizational efforts at improving performance—such as organization development. My position. development. training. is that the analysis phase. Almost everyone claims that the up-front analysis phase is important.
I present practical tools in two major arenas: (1) diagnosis of performance and (2) documentation of expertise. these tools may appear to be complex. discounts the importance of the analysis phase. Yet. performance improvement interventions is driven by “feel-good” or “compliance” concerns rather than a concern about improving performance. the fundamental premise of this book is that rigorous workplace diagnosis and documentation provide the true basis for improving performance. with its emphasis on delivery. Diagnosis of performance analyzes the performance variables (mission/ goals. motivation. Documentation of expertise requires analysis of the work expertise needed to achieve optimal work performance. they are easily learned and highly effective. require an emphasis on the analysis phase—the content of this book.xiv Preface documentation. and knowledge work tasks. if anything. systems. This is not a book about organizational strategy focusing on alternative future states of the organization. if they are going to add value to the organization. It is also the phase that is most poorly executed. if not most. and individual performance levels. resulting in choosing interventions based on popularity ratings and reliance on crude job descriptions and task analyses. process speciﬁcation. in the way of substantive performance diagnosis. OVERVIEW OF THE CONTENTS Analysis for Improving Performance works on the assumption that performance improvement efforts. and the detailed analysis of varying tasks: procedural. This analysis involves the components of job description. process. capacity. The activity-oriented view of many. The activity-oriented view. is the most critical phase of the performance improvement process. Program delivery in these cases—not performance outcomes—is the focus. To meet these ends. The process . Again. processes. and expertise documentation is pursued. It relegates analysis to superficial opinion surveys. In reality. In most instances I provide both process and thinking models to explain each tool. At first glance. Little. task inventories. I know of several instances where organizations using the analysis tools in this book came to understand that their performance improvement issues demanded that they stop and reconsider their futures. from going out of business to modifying the fundamental purpose of the businesses. and expertise) at the organizational.
They are tools that can be learned to some degree by anybody savvy enough to hold a job in an organization. The cover image depicts an eighteenth-century brass sextant by the English School (© Private collection/The Bridgeman Art Library). and improve complex organizations. Onan Corporation. It measured the altitudes of celestial bodies to determine precise latitude and longitude positioning. and tools presented in this book. Citicorp. CIGNA. development. Kellogg Company. frames. and writing that led to this book. In the beginning. THE SEXTANT AS THE ICON FOR ANALYSIS FOR IMPROVING PERFORMANCE Navigating boats in open seas overwhelms and distorts the senses. the University of Minnesota. Sisson and Gil Cullen. . former executives of that ﬁrm. methods. important research funds were made available by the Manville Corporation. with the full support of Gary R. The sextant thus was selected as an icon for the critical up-front analysis theory. The sextant provided position and direction. much like the analysis challenge facing professionals wanting to improve performance in organizations. Xcel Energy. ships and sailors are easily lost. The analysis for performance tools in this book provide position and direction that allows the performance improvement professional to analyze. and guides effective performance improvement interventions. Without accurate reference points. navigate. The opportunity to engage analysis work teams of stakeholders can pay off in gaining time and commitment. The output of careful analysis is the critical information that accurately deﬁnes. including 3M.Preface xv models describe the steps and flow of the processes and the thinking models present the dimensions that need to be considered. The sextant was a navigational instrument invented in the nineteenth century. Scoville Press. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS A number of people and organizations have provided support for the research. and The University of Texas at Tyler. Additional organizations have provided support over the years.
Poor. David L. Willis P. Gradous. Torraco. Swanson. Lynham. Bjorkquist. Ruona. Sisson. Rochell McWhorter.xvi Preface Important contributions to the ideas presented in the book have come from Deane B. Barbara L. Laird McLean. Brian P. A. Martelli. Joseph T. Geroy. Gary R. Gary M. Swanson Lakeside. Passmore. Richard A. Norton. Ohio . I sincerely thank them all. Ronald L. Jacobs. Steve Piersanti. The results of intellectual exchanges with Thomas J. Richard Herling. Timothy McClernon. Sleezer have also made their way into the pages of this book. and Richard J. Murphy. Chermack. Russell Korte. Susan A. because each has had a positive impact on my life and on the book. and Catherine M. Wendy E. David C. Gene W.
PART ONE ANALYSIS The Key to Improving Performance Chapter 1 Linking Improvement Programs to Important Organizational Goals Chapter 2 Theoretical Foundation of Performance Improvement Chapter 3 Case Study of Analysis for Performance Improvement 1 .
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technology. quality improvement. and take-charge management.1 Linking Improvement Programs to Important Organizational Goals When Managers Decide to Follow Up There Is No Safe Haven for Performance Improvement Leaders Four Performance Questions about Outputs Analysis Work Is Important Long-Term Success Conclusion A s the role of performance improvement in organizations increasingly takes on strategic proportions through human resource development. reengineering. But while much is to be gained in terms of increased performance. 3 . Their organizations spend millions of dollars each year on development efforts aimed at their systems. organizational leaders are being held more accountable in this area. They face many conﬂicting demands on their services. Performance improvement professionals often find themselves in awkward positions. knowledge management. process improvement. money spent hastily on programs based on erroneous assumptions yields very little for the organizations and the individuals participating in them. and customers. employees.
Nohria and Berkley (1998) sum up the situation by stating. For example: ■ What about the quality problem in the Armstrong division? ■ Why are our engineers unable to integrate their CAD/CAM ﬁles with those of the customers’ engineers? ■ How can we reduce cycle time for our highest-demand product? ■ Why can only two of our twelve ﬁnancial investors regularly put together sound ﬁnancial deals? Each organization is unique. performance goals. With considerable conﬁdence. after a large investment in time and money. Instead. and challenges. everyone in the organization has the language of the consultant. the executives become enthusiastic about bringing the new messages home to their organizations and demand. and managers are expected to make proactive proposals for advancing their domains. They contract for performance gains. strategies. faddish. I can say that in the short or in the long run. one-sizeﬁts-all performance improvement efforts are not likely to ﬁt a speciﬁc organizational physique. “Hire the consultant and see that everyone in headquarters goes through the program. the performance improvement leader should be investigating business performance issues and offering sound proposals for development efforts that directly address important organizational goals. . they sometimes hear motivational speakers. By implication. are provided intensive development activities. The performance improvement manager who dutifully responds to line manager requests by charging out to hire an external expert is simply fulﬁlling the whims of his or her boss. Who. 203). When executives attend seminars. performance improvement efforts not accurately connected to an important organizational goal will be seen as the ill-ﬁtting garments they are and will be tossed out of the organization. then. holds those making unsubstantiated claims accountable? Nutt (2003) describes the failure to reconcile claims and reality as a common trap that decision makers fall into. but fail to acquire the results evidence. Each has its own mission. “The manager’s job is not to eek out novelty but to make sure the company gets results” (p. Hooked by the ﬁery delivery and the bold promises of the management evangelists.4 ANALYSIS: The Key to Improving Performance Everyone seems to have an opinion about the organization’s development priorities. but nothing else in the organization has substantially changed.” Then.
Participants were punished by managers or peer groups for implementing new ideas and expertise back on the job. In their eyes. 1986). the Quality Department had almost become an aloof operation seeing itself as a “College of Quality” rather than a part of the business. Meanwhile. The program did not ﬁt the culture of the organization. the same managers say they want hard numbers about the contributions that development programs have made to organizational success. Participants did not develop their expertise to the level of mastery required to perform on the job. McLagan. a manufacturer of high-technology medical devices sent termination slips to twenty-six of the thirty members of its quality staff. they often do not like what they ﬁnd: ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ The effort did not ﬁll a current or future business need. Managers have historically done little to ensure that the on-the-job performance of employees reﬂects what they have learned in organization-sponsored development programs (Parker. . For years. The situation had reached the point where major surgery—amputation of the department—was seen by management as the only way to cure this economic drain on the organization. The principles and systems covered in the program did not reﬂect the expected work performance. Senior management had given the director of quality a very loose rein and had allocated considerable resources to provide employee and customer education that was marginally connected to the organization’s mission and strategy. Managers also say they would provide more support for development efforts if such evidence were made available (Kusy. 2003). THERE IS NO SAFE HAVEN FOR PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT LEADERS One Friday afternoon. 2003. When upper management does decide to follow performance improvement programs with evaluation. 1986).Linking Improvement Programs to Important Organizational Goals 5 WHEN MANAGERS DECIDE TO FOLLOW UP It is discouraging to discover how rarely managers provide support for participants following expensive employee development programs (Holton & Baldwin. company insiders had casually discussed the quality function with a mixture of approval and disdain.
Swanson. by . The ﬁrst factor arises from management itself. In the absence of a true understanding of the proper role of development. Will the individual perform better after the intervention? 2. is to maximize productivity and economic return by producing and delivering quality goods and services required by the customer. Will the organization perform better after the intervention? All four question focus on outputs. Top decision makers work hard at setting mission. As a result. The internal environment of the organization reﬂects the complexity and ﬂuidity of its external environment. process. Performance improvement leaders. 2002. All four link development to the primary mission of the organization. Within a context of changing culture. and performance goals of their organizations. and technologies (Brache. & Kazanjian. and goals for the organization.6 ANALYSIS: The Key to Improving Performance FOUR PERFORMANCE QUESTIONS ABOUT OUTPUTS Four simple performance questions. and job performance questions. 2004. Drazin. are often distracted from focusing on the organizational. such managers let their personal agendas take over. Two factors seem to be the source of the distractions that pull professionals away from their focus on performance. Increasingly. 1. Many are ill equipped to advocate or implement a sound development process for responsibly connecting their contributions to the mission. Will the process perform better after the intervention? 3. 1999). Many general managers know little or nothing about sound performance improvement practices. management’s decisions to invest in development efforts are too often made apart from the four questions about performance improvement. performance improvement professionals are becoming members of this team. Managing the core enterprise of most organizations is subject to many uncertainties. The second factor arises from developers themselves. politics. The aim. Glynn. if they were asked at the outset of planning for improvement efforts. too. could radically change the role and contributions of the development functions in most organizations. work team. many development decisions are based. yet they strongly attempt to control new efforts and processes. Will the work team perform better after the intervention? 4. strategies. of course. strategy.
and directs the remaining steps. implementation. Beyond the analysis phase. and individual performance questions. ANALYSIS WORK IS IMPORTANT The top executives of a major ﬁnancial organization recently established a task force to evaluate its executive development center. development. learning how to diagnose organizational performance and document workplace expertise pays off for analysts. Performance improvement efforts that are based on sound analyses will almost always stand up to inquiry by decision makers when they ask any of the four performance questions—relating to organizational. and the integrity of the improvement effort. rather than on careful analyses of organizational. work team. process. it is considered the most critical. process. the other phases address the design.Linking Improvement Programs to Important Organizational Goals 7 default. Because the analysis phase defines. frames. work team. on a consultant’s promises or management’s wants and preferences. responsible managers ought to be asking the organizational. work team. These four steps comprise the analysis phase of the systematic performance improvement process and the scope of this book. and individual performance issues and the variables that impinge on them. and evaluation of the performance improvement effort. Performance improvement managers should be skillful in accessing the information required to answer these questions. process. ■ determining the underlying performance variables. or individual performance—or all four together. Development leaders ought to be able to show that their programs make a positive difference in their organizations in the form of improved performance. and ■ documenting the workplace expertise required of the performance goal. Competent. ■ documenting work processes. They wanted to know whether the programs the center offered were connected to . Thus. Responsible performance improvement efforts are realized through an orderly process that starts with ■ specifying an important performance goal. their organizations.
The goal is to develop interventions that have an impact on individual. Over the years. Further investigation showed that the program was severely lacking in content appropriate to the organization’s philosophy of doing business or to the required day-to-day work expertise of its managers. Most development and performance improvement programs based on the whims of organizational decision makers die out within two years. Their expertise and comfort levels increase by using proven diagnostic and documentation tools. They also wanted to examine the quality of the center’s individual programs. on managers and development professionals learning to work in partnership to achieve greater positive return from performance improvement activities (McLean. Unfortunately. process. 2005. 1999). It provided busywork for a whole cadre of staff members and consultants. they were not prepared to perform the up-front analysis required to connect the executive development function to the performance issues facing the organization. had honed their presentation skills to a high art. no substantial evidence could be found to support the idea that this expensive program had any positive impact on the organization. it was found that the center’s most popular offering was a program on “managing people” that had been in place for ten years. thereby providing a solid foundation on which to build responsible performance improvement solutions. This ten-year-old program had become institutionalized. The development staff. The future of most performance improvement functions depends. they had rated the program highly. who had banked on the program’s continuation into the distant future. several thousand managers had attended the program. Performance improvement professionals must be able to perform analysis work. process.8 ANALYSIS: The Key to Improving Performance the business plan. They must be able to analyze performance at the organizational. work team. work team. On investigation. at least in part. and year after year. Regrettably. But beyond the participants’ personal satisfaction with the course. . Swanson. it took a major investigation to uncover a lack of purpose and content that should have been confronted when the program was ﬁrst considered. and/or organizational performance. and job levels and must know how to interpret the resulting requirements for workplace improvement before implementing development solutions. Careful analysis and follow-through are the means for accomplishing high performance returns.
CONCLUSION The case for engaging in front-end analysis is a practical one. Analysis takes time but ends up saving more time than it consumes..1. The careful analytical processes that are expected and regularly performed in areas of strategic and tactical planning. That proposal leads to work process analysis and documentation of the expertise required for performance improvement. marketing. It results in an accurate connection to important and attainable performance gains. It is not an empty promise of performance. Analyzing organizational performance for goal attainment at one or more of the four levels culminates in a performance improvement proposal. Analysis reduces the amount of perceived chaos in the organization through professional expertise and purposeful inquiry. and systems engineering can also be applied to performance improvements. and knowledge management). The book’s core content focal points are displayed in Figure 1.g. This is a book that presents a variety of tools for directing performance improvement efforts. reengineering. total quality management. This is a book for take-charge . This is not a book about one perspective or technique promising to improve performance (e. This is a book focused on outcomes and performance. product development.1 Overview of analysis for improving performance process LONG-TERM SUCCESS The work of performance improvement professionals should be no different than that of other competent business leaders. The content boundary for this book is devoted to sound and systematic tools for diagnosing and documenting workplace performance and expertise.Linking Improvement Programs to Important Organizational Goals 9 Diagnose Performance • Organization • Process • Team • Individual Performance Improvement Proposal Document Work Process Document Expertise • Proposal • Benefits • Approval • Present Process • Improved Process • Process Tasks • Job Description • Task Inventory • Task Analysis Figure 1.
This is a book that facilitates team effort and commitment to organization-specific performance improvement efforts The following chapter steps back to provide the theoretical basis that underlies performance improvement in complex organizations. and exercises aimed at developing your expertise in diagnosing organizational performance and documenting workplace expertise— the keys to long-term organizational success.10 ANALYSIS: The Key to Improving Performance managers. and workers wanting to improve their organizations. tools. performance improvement specialists. The remaining chapters provide the “real-world” knowledge. . examples.
This observation is not intended to disregard experience. Fortunately. He goes on to say that without serious study. Gagne’s (1962) classic research on military training reported that people do not improve. through experience alone. and the creation of foundational concepts and theories. and performance improvement. Experience is an important part of sound theory but is inadequate by itself (Swanson. management. 11 . thousands of charlatans and well-intentioned practitioners are trying to ﬁll the void. we will continue to repeat our failed experiences without learning from them. we know enough about the theoretical aspects of performance improvement in organizations to be doing much better than present-day practices.2 Theoretical Foundation of Performance Improvement Purpose of This Chapter The Performance Improvement Theory Stool Models of Performance Conclusion M ake no doubt about it—we have a great deal to learn about change. Theories in all these realms are works in progress. While this research is going on. reﬂections. let alone get to excellence. 1990a).
Economic View Some analysts view organizations as instruments for increasing the wealth of shareholders—the economic view. They reach back for classic examples such as the book In Search of Excellence (Peters & Waterman. Descriptions of four common single-dimension views follow. 1996). Here the developer’s role is to apply solutions that will yield high returns on investments. managers assume that their job is to plan. critics of management scholarship and practice have harsh things to say. while obviously easier to understand. Increasing the quality or quantity of individual worker outputs is a major development goal. and individuals. are overgeneralizations in terms of their utility for understanding the true complexity of organizations. Satisfying line managers is the major goal. . Single-dimension views of organizations often become a roadblock to the theoretical foundation of organizations and performance. and control organizational processes. work teams. developers serve at the beck and call of powerful organizational leaders and decision makers. and those that tried to replicate the excellent practices identified through superficial investigation were most likely even worse off. managers assume that their job is to ensure high returns on all investments. 1982).12 ANALYSIS: The Key to Improving Performance As a result. The performance improvement professional’s role is to respond to line manager requests for activities and programs. which identiﬁed forty-three excellent companies and tried to distill their secret to organizational success. Apparently the excellent companies did not have a key to excellence. work processes. Power-Oriented View Some analysts consider powerful leaders in the organization to be the instruments for change—the power-oriented view. performance improvement professionals adjust themselves to adhere to and assist in implementing the economic agenda of the organizations. two-thirds of the companies has ceased to be excellent (Micklethwait & Wooldridge. Given this power view. In economically driven organizations. In power-driven organizations. Such views. Given this economic view. organize. But less than ﬁve years after the book’s publication.
managers assume that their job is to guarantee the high morale of workers. The role for developers in this context is to respond to calls for improved work methods and for workers’ adherence to ever-higher performance standards and goals. ■ The economically oriented analyst will tend to focus on strategies to optimize ﬁnancial return on organizational investments. In mechanistic organizations. In humanistic organizations. Here the developers’ role is to assist managers and workers in building their interpersonal skills.Theoretical Foundation of Performance Improvement 13 Mechanistic View Some analysts regard organizations as machines in which the goal is obtaining the maximum quantity and quality of outputs through smoothly running maximally efficient organizational processes—the mechanistic view. development is an important tool for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of established work processes. These organizational views. Given this humanistic view. Holders of these single-dimension views will tend to restrict themselves to a narrow set of problem situations and their solutions. . Given this mechanistic view. managers assume that their job is to ensure that organizational processes are highly efficient. provide inadequate foundations for organizational problem solving. whether applied singly or in partial combinations. which will then logically lead to increased outputs of goods and services on the part of satisﬁed workers. ■ The mechanistically oriented analyst will tend to focus on strategies for getting more and more output per worker or process. They limit what they will see or do as they work with managers and others on organizational change. and across the organizational hierarchy. down. Humanistic View Some analysts view organization as social entities in which a high quality of work life is a major goal—the humanistic view. ■ The power-oriented analyst will tend to focus on political strategies—on pleasing top managers. development is an important tool for improving the relationships between people up.
a taxonomy for performance and a system/process model are presented in graphic form to illustrate the taxonomic levels of performance and a systems view of the organization that includes the processes within it and the external forces. and systems theories’ contribution to a theory of organizational performance. ■ organizations are human-made entities having unique goals of producing goods or services. The stool sits on an ethical rug. psychological. Two major sections follow. The pool of potential theories claiming to inform organizational understanding is unmanageable. Second. a theoretical foundation for those wishing to understand and analyze organizations is presented. provide a vehicle for conceptually moving around during the process of improving performance. These relatively simple models. They help in mentally drilling down. The four single-dimension views of organizations presented earlier illustrate this point. and ■ a limited number of highly relevant core theories and their integration should serve as the theoretical foundation of performance improvement. First. or moving back and forth over time in the performance improvement process.14 ANALYSIS: The Key to Improving Performance ■ The humanistically oriented analyst will tend to focus on creating harmony in the workplace and on making work life more pleasant. PURPOSE OF THIS CHAPTER The purpose of this chapter is to provide a theoretical foundation for improving performance within an organizational context. I determined that ■ foundational theory is important to the practical work of analysis for improving performance. THE PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT THEORY STOOL Many disciplines and fields of practice have biases about organizational performance. Through my research and years of consulting work. . pulling back. A thinking model in the form of a three-legged stool is used as a visual metaphor with a leg each for economic. anchored in sound theory.
processes. Several of these models are based on extensive practical experience with improving performance (Nadler. Theory versus Model Models to improve performance have been developed and disseminated through books. 115). and expertise (Gilley. & Bierma. the theory of performance improvement is best derived from multiple core disciplines. 1992. Jacobs. You can have a model and no theory. . 1989). Shaw. and individual contributor perspective is broader than any single disciplinary theory. Disciplinary Theory for Performance Improvement Presently there is no universal view or agreement on the theory or multiple theories that support performance improvement. 1995). Rummler & Brache. Dean. In short. McLagan. and consulting projects. Reﬂecting the reality that most successful strategies for system and subsystem improvement require multifaceted interventions. Such models can guide improvement efforts through hypothesized relationships without having those relationships ever tested. Other models for improving performance have been embraced as ways to solve performance problems by addressing them as multidimensional problems that demand multidimensional solutions. 1989. a model derived from logic is no substitute for sound theory. seminars. Armed with a ﬂowchart and a description of its components. & Associates. process. In the past. Some models for performance improvement are little more than diagrams based on the author’s most recent consulting experience. whereas many have proposed sets of principles in the forms of comparative lists of added value.Theoretical Foundation of Performance Improvement 15 Performance from an organization. and you can have a theory accompanied by a supporting model. 2000). “A theory simply explains what a phenomenon is and how it works (Torraco. A model is not theory. products. some have called for systems theory to serve as a unifying theory so as to access all useful theories when required (Gradous. The beliefs about performance tend to range from single-dimension to an “anything goes” mentality. p. Gerstein. they are most likely too superficial to explain the complex dynamics of organizational performance. 1989. team. you can have a theory with no model. performance improvement professionals march into the workplace to effect change and ﬁnd that while these models may be powerful enough to effect change. 1997.
The theories have been visually presented as comprising a threelegged stool.1 Theoretical foundations of performance improvement . Team. pieces. particularly with the ad- Organization. 1997. complementary. Each of these three theories is unique. and Individual Pe rfor man ry eo ce Improvement Th Ethics Figure 2. For this reason. with the three legs providing great stability as a discipline and ﬁeld of practice functioning in the midst of uneven and changing conditions (see Figure 2. and psychological theory acknowledges human beings as brokers of productivity along with their cultural and behavioral nuances. and relationships that can maximize or strangle systems and subsystems. This approach celebrates short-term reactions and proxy results without having deep understanding or the ability to replicate results. In recent years.16 ANALYSIS: The Key to Improving Performance The alternative to having a sound theoretical and disciplinary base for the performance improvement profession is a rudderless state of random activity that is aggressively sponsored by atheoretical professional associations and greedy consultants (Micklethwait & Wooldridge. and robust. Process. It is comprised of psychological theory.1). 1995). economic theory. systems theory recognizes purpose. Economic theory is recognized as a primary driver and survival metric of organizations. they form the theoretical basis of performance improvement capable of responding to the realities of practice. 1996. Together and integrated. 1997). and systems theory (Passmore. a discrete and logical set of theories as the foundation of performance improvement is proposed. Swanson. Swanson.
and ethics plays an important moderating role. and (3) human capital theory. 2006. yet business and stock market accounting ignores this fact. Lyau & Pucel. the widely used book on organization development. Decision makers choose among options based on their forecasted return on investment. time. if you will— between its three theories and the context in which performance improvement functions. almost all business strategy literature ignores the human resource and psychological leg. Scarce Resource Theory. raw materials. the three theories are at the core of the profession. This is a simple and powerful notion that forces decision makers to separate . (2) sustainable resource theory. does not even have the words economic. a substantial amount of information about the economics of short-term interventions (Swanson. those expenditures will almost certainly be cut back or eliminated. Unless performance improvement expenditures contribute to the viability and profitability of an organization. Three speciﬁc economic theory perspectives are believed to be most appropriate to performance improvement: (1) scarce resource theory. Amazingly. Economists Bassi and McMurrer (in press) note that the companies investing in development of their workforce consistently outperform their sector competition. organizations must generate more income than they spend in order to exist. and improvement literature ignores the economic leg. the stool has been positioned on an ethical rug—a ﬁlter. and so on. Thus. require us to make choices as to how capital will be utilized in order to gain the greatest return. 2001). action. financial. 2001) and broader-based investments is available (Bassi & McMurrer. and measurement of economic outcomes? Over time. How could responsible performance improvement not include direct analysis. Scarce resource theory informs us that there are limitations to everything. In a similar vein. 1995). The limitations in money. Although there is still much to be learned.Theoretical Foundation of Performance Improvement 17 vance of the global economy and an unbridled free market condition. organization development. Economic Theory Foundation Minimizing economic theory in performance improvement is untenable. much of the change. While the ﬁeld of management would position the economic leg as the dominant leg. or cost–benefit analysis in its index. Organization Development and Change (Cummings & Worley.
. and medical care. In addition. Sustainable resource theory is much like scarce resource theory except for one major point: the concern for the long-term versus short-term agenda. Schooling. illustrates this domain. Economist Alfred Marshall (1949) argues that “the most valuable of all capital is that invested in human beings. Human Capital Theory. Becker implores the reader: I am going to talk about a different kind of capital. New industries of the future depend . economic theory is essential to understanding performance improvement. Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education. it is fully in keeping with the capital concept as traditionally deﬁned to say that expenditures on education. informa- . a computer training course. and lectures on the virtues of punctuality and honesty are capital too. Man-made competitive advantages replaces the comparative advantage of Mother Nature (natural-resources endowment) or history (capital endowments)” (p. in the true sense that they improve health. 15–16) These are not simply costs but investments with valuable returns that can be calculated. raise earnings. Sustainable Resource Theory. are investments in capital. human motivation. Conclusion. It includes theories of learning. 16). expenditures on medical care. . Thurow (1993) informs us that “in the future.” Since the performance improvement considered here takes place in organizations that are economic entities. or add to a person’s appreciation of literature over a lifetime.18 ANALYSIS: The Key to Improving Performance the most valuable and worthy initiatives from the many things that they could do if there were no resource limitations (Swanson & Gradous. Psychological Theory Foundation The psychological theory from which performance theory can draw is immense. (pp. 1964). Consequently. training. on brain power. management theories and methods should be properly viewed as useful derivatives of economic theory (see Drucker. Becker’s (1993) classic book. . 1986). etc. sustainable advantage will depend on new process technologies and less on new product technology.
1996). Passmore (1997) informs us that “psychology is the science of behavior and mental processes of humans and other animals. the professional literature addresses the psychological theory leg of the theory stool in an unpredictable manner. and (3) cognitive psychology (purposive behaviorism). (2) behavioral psychology. and often even the individual. It is no wonder. At best. Add to this the fact that performance improvement interventions are not regularly and systematically connected to the economic agenda via an analysis of the organization and its goals (Swanson. the profession relies almost exclusively focused on the behaviorist school of psychology and does not deal in any meaningful way with Gestalt psychology or cognitive psychology (purposive behaviorism). 210). then. How could responsible performance improvement professionals not integrate and use the vast body of knowledge from psychological theory? With such vast and divergent psychological theory available. 1996). Three speciﬁc psychological theory perspectives are proposed here to be most appropriate to the discipline: (1) gestalt psychology. and group dynamics and psychology-based theories of how we make decisions and behave in organizations. the work process. . we have something that resembles a teenager’s closet” (p. While psychological theory may have something for everybody. Fascination appears be the watchword of the psychological leg as questions from psychology are typically narrow and/or disconnected from the core purpose of the organization. Beyond that. it is more appropriate to focus on core understandings related to behavior and learning rather than fringe psychology theories and techniques. For example. that interventions based only on psychological theory are often dismissed as irrelevant by organization leaders unless they mirror the psyche of the top leader. Unfortunately. Most practitioners grab onto a small and relatively irrelevant slice of psychological theory and act on it in exaggerated ways. The response to this limited perspective is mainly focused on follow-up activity for situations that might be better understood through systems and economic theory—not by psychological theory alone (Holton. it has been poorly interpreted by the profession. the continued intrigue of such topics as transfer of training from the psychology perspective primarily focuses on the individual and individual perceptions. the performance improvement profession has yet to fully capitalize on its psychology leverage to improve performance.Theoretical Foundation of Performance Improvement 19 tion processing. Examples include fascination with reward theory and personality types. Yet.
as we have seen. reinforcement. chairs. operate in them. learned helplessness. learning involves moving from one whole to another. Behavioral Psychology. 1993). cognitive. Words associated with gestalt psychology include introspection. behavior. Cognitive Psychology.e.and long-term memory. Behavioral psychology is concerned with what can be seen. is purposeful. response. exercise. Gestalt is the German term for “conﬁguration” or “organization. We see people. learning by analogy. phenomenology. Since performance improvement takes place in organi- zations that are psychologically framed by those who invented them. and artiﬁcial intelligence.’ Purposive behaviorism is molar.. Gestaltists believe that people add something to experience that is not contained in the sensory data and that we experience the world in meaningful wholes (Hergenhahn & Olson. no more talk of instinctive behavior. Words associated with cognitive psychology. and present forces working on them. programmed learning. given their capacity. cognitive map. frequency. i. field theory. experience. trees. ‘gestalted. The holistic view of individuals and their own need for holistic understanding is in sharp contrast to a mechanistic and elemental view of human beings. and molar. recency. Thus.20 ANALYSIS: The Key to Improving Performance Gestalt Psychology. not a molecular” (Tolman. and relational theory. short. humanism. and drives. and no more attempts to study the vague notions of human conscious or unconscious mind. structuring. No more introspection. meaning. p. closure. include drive discriminations. punishment. ﬁeld-cognition modes. 419). practitioners must call on psychol- . Behavioral psychologists tell us that individuals respond the only way they can. Conclusion. Tolman’s (1932) term purposive behaviorism has been selected as the exemplar of this third important perspective from psychology. Purposive behaviorism attempts to explain goal-directed behavior and the idea that human beings organize their lives around purposes. life space. and renew them.” Gestalt psychologists inform us that we do not see isolated stimuli but stimuli gathered together in meaningful configurations. insight. law effect. 1932. and flowers—not lines and patches of color. information processing. cars. stimulus. Purposive behaviorism (and other cognitive psychologies) attempts to integrate theory from gestalt and behavioral psychology. “For purposive behaviorism. Words associated with behaviorism include readiness. and therefore behavior is what is studied. including purposive behaviorism.
206–207). outputs. Furthermore. 1993.Theoretical Foundation of Performance Improvement 21 ogy as also being essential to its theory (see Argyris. Gradous’s (1989) classic monograph sets the stage for serious consideration of systems theory by the human resource development (HRD) profession. The quality improvement profession recognizes the classic works of Deming (1986) and Juran (1992) when it comes to systems theory applications to processes and the organizations in which they reside. systematically designed development experiences and workplace systems provide a durable foundation for performance improvement. 1993). 1962). General Systems Theory. human motivation. 2000). and feedback. From a systems theory perspective. 1993. processes. put forth little effort. theories of learning. (2) chaos theory. 1995). or do not persist in their efforts (Bereiter & Scardamalia. a relatively small body of knowledge compared with economics and psychology. learning theories such as constructivism and situated cognition should be properly viewed as useful derivatives of psychological theory. a wide range of systemic disconnects adversely affects performance. Pfeffer & Sutton. Boulding’s (1956) classic article on general systems theory describes the paradox of a theory so general as to mean nothing and the . Thus. Systems Theory Foundation Systems theory. principles. contains a harvest of low-hanging performance improvement fruit. information processing. Moreover. closed systems) in comparison to system engineering that focuses on the less dynamic aspects of the organization and the limitations of a single theory in predicting human behavior (Bertalanffy. Performance cannot be improved if people choose not to perform. In addition. Bereiter & Scardamalia. and other psychologically based theories provide a core theoretical foundation for performance improvement. Three speciﬁc systems theory perspectives are proposed here as appropriate to HRD: (1) general systems theory. pp. At its core. general systems theory informs us of the reality of open systems (vs. general systems theory forces us to talk intelligently about inputs. Two examples are (1) not being able to clearly specify the required outcomes of the host organization and (2) not having a systematically defined performance improvement process (see Rummler & Brache. tools. Systems theory is a relatively young discipline made up of “a collection of general concepts. and (3) futures theory. 1997. problems and methods associated with systems of any kind” (Passmore.
Ethics As noted earlier. 1991. 10)—thus the need to go beyond general systems theory. 1989). Futures theory is “not necessarily interested in predict- ing the future. Chaos is a science of process rather than a state. Conclusion. 1987. “General Systems Theory may at times be an embarrassment in pointing out how far we still have to go” (p. Gradous. in no way resembles the reductionist view of most strategic planning efforts that end up with a single strategy. one can calculate the approximate behavior of the system” (Gleick. pp.22 ANALYSIS: The Key to Improving Performance seeming inability of a single theory from a single ﬁeld of study to ever reach a satisfactory level of theory generality. the potential ﬂux in those facts. Futures Theory. 1968. Chaos theory confronts Newtonian logic head-on by offering a revised motto away from determinism to something much softer: “Given an approximate knowledge of a system’s initial conditions and an understanding of natural law. in the context of planning for the future in uncertain conditions. . “Where chaos begins. Davenport. futures theory. . p. 5). classical science stops. 1956). 9). and the decision-making agility required of the future. In addition. The language and tools of alternative futures and scenario building are intended to create a true picture of the facts. 1973. ethics is viewed as the critical supporting theory for performance improvement. engineering technology theories and methods should be properly viewed as useful derivatives of systems theory (see FitzGerald & FitzGerald. 15). systems theory is logically at its core (see Buckley.” a “system of systems” that would perform the function of a “gestalt” in theory building (Boulding. p. 3. it is about the liberation of people’s insights” (Schwartz. Chaos theory purposefully acknowledges and studies phenomena that are unsystematic—that do not appear to follow the rules. . 1987. Since systematic performance improvement takes place in organizations that are themselves systems and subsystems functioning within an environmental system that is ever-changing. of becoming rather than of being” (Gleick. It serves as the ﬁlter between the three core . Chaos Theory. He goes on to talk about the power of a “spectrum of theories. Futures theory is critical for sustainable performance in that it prepares one to recognize and cope with an evolving future state. Thus. 1993).
Horton. Additionally. some argue about the exploitive nature of organizations and would criticize performance improvement professionals as unthinking arms of management (Korten. and the Academy of Management composed The Academy of Management Code of Ethical Conduct in 2004. These relatively simple models. and systems and the context within which performance improvement efforts take place. the Academy of Human Resource Development established Academy of Human Resource Development Standards on Ethics and Integrity in 1999. It lays out five tiers of performance: understand. the processes within.g. This taxonomy is more generally divided into two categories of effort: maintaining the system and changing the system. operate. These models help while you are engaged in the performance improvement process to mentally drill down. From the ethical beliefs perspective. 1986). Julliard (2004) notes that the social dimension of organizations elevates the role of ethics in quality management. Taxonomy of Performance The Taxonomy of Performance provides a lens that helps operationalize performance improvement theory for those who work in complex organizations. and the external forces from outside are presented in this section. or move your thinking around without getting lost.Theoretical Foundation of Performance Improvement 23 theories of economics. While systems theorists assure us that business and industry conceptually operate as an open system—one that interfaces with other systems and is continually influenced by those systems (Senge. rather. anchored in sound theory. & Kelly. 1990.. psychology. MODELS OF PERFORMANCE The taxonomic levels of performance and a systems view of the organization. pull back. improve. provide a vehicle for conceptually shifting around during the process of improving performance. troubleshoot. The bogeyman in the performance picture is not the pursuit of improved performance. Others argue that exploitation is a much more expansive concept (e. employees can exploit their employers) and that it must be dealt with as such (Swanson. 1996).2). and invent (Figure 2. . 1995). it is the possibility of inequitable distribution of the spoils of any gains in performance that have occurred. challenging them to act as the agent of democracy and equity (Dirkx.
or system To comprehend the language. it is no surprise to the experienced diagnostician that organizations that value.” Thus. establish. as short-lived as they might be. or system Figure 2. Improve or system to a better state or quality Maintaining the System Troubleshoot ————— Operate ——————— Understand To locate and eliminate sources of trouble in an existing method. device. sounds. process. process. device. device. For example. since almost all organizations are regularly struggling with the two categories. a quality improvement effort to “change the system” could hit a brick wall because there is no documentation of the expertise required to “maintain the existing system. and reward people for fol- . At the simplest level. These temporary.2 Taxonomy of Performance 1993)—the practical organizational goal is to establish closed systems. process. process. device. moving from the performance concern of change to the issue of how to maintain the system may be the critical ﬁrst improvement step. operational. However. or Invent system from study or experimentation Changing the System ——— To advance an existing method. or symbols of an existing method. closed systems are mastered and maintained at the understanding. I consistently observe organizations delivering support and resources at one level and expecting performance at another level. form. and troubleshooting levels. or system To run or control the functioning of a method. The result of undisciplined jumping from one tier in the Taxonomy of Performance to another can result in performance improvement schizophrenia. device.24 ANALYSIS: The Key to Improving Performance To produce a new method. they often get them mixed up. process. The closed system is imperfect. and thus the change tiers of the taxonomy of performance (improve and invent) provide the added dimensions to sort out the full range of possible performance issues facing the diagnostician. This is done without realizing the built-in discrepancy between their performance expectations and their interventions. for producing and delivering goods and services.
maintaining to improving). Also. troubleshoot.Theoretical Foundation of Performance Improvement 25 lowing rules have a hard time involving them in changing the system.. an important step in understanding a performance issue is to classify the problem or opportunity in terms of Taxonomy of Performance. Asking the general question as to what is going on here with the taxonomy in mind (understand. and context of performance improvement (see Figure 2. individuals who are trained to simply follow operational steps end up not understanding the system in which they operate and are not able to troubleshoot those systems. let alone improve them or invent new systems. It helps in mentally visualizing the overall system. and the external forces from outside. Thus. Environment • Economic Forces • Political Forces • Cultural Forces Organization • Mission & Strategy • Organization Structure • Technology • Human Resources Inputs Organization Processes 1 Analyze 2 Design 3 Develop 4 Implement Performance Improvement Figure 2. the processes within it. and invent) can lead to an initial judgment that will save a great deal of analysis time. maintaining) will require a much different response than moving the present performance from one level to another (e.3 Systems model of performance improvement Outputs 5 Evaluate .g. This relatively simple but holistic model provides a vehicle for conceptually moving around during the process of improving performance.3).g. operate.. Systems Model of Performance Improvement This section presents a system/process model in graphic form that illustrates the organization. improve. shortcomings within an existing system level (e. process. For example.
job relations. Performance is not system design. It appears as though there has been a detour during the past ﬁfty years. Torraco & Swanson. and the return of their methods to U. 1015). The most evident example is the short-term ﬁnancial view of company performance as judged by daily stock market data. and tools of a performance improvement effort. The journey of understanding performance for those who share the “human lens” has not been easy. Real Performance Is Output To perform is “to fulfill an obligation or requirement.26 ANALYSIS: The Key to Improving Performance Perceptions of Performance Organizational performance is mediated through human expertise and effort. capability. Swanson & Torraco. 1995. and individual performance outputs using simple and powerful tools called job instruction. process. Paralleling this history. 1998. they would use performance improvement tools that were masquerading under the name of “training.S. The massive “Training within Industry” (TWI) project that culminated with the ending of World War II is seen as the origin of contemporary performance improvement through HRD (Dooley. 1995). the TWI project delivered organization. The reality is that most leaders in organizations pursue performance improvement without special professional interventions. 1994). If yes. team. p. 2003. The performance language was simpler then—“Is it a production problem?” they would ask. the adoption of improvement practices in Japan under the leadership of Joseph Juran and Edward Deming. Ruona & Swanson. the quality improvement history reports a quality erosion after World War II. the performance lens will likely remain myopic. In contrast to this belief. 1945. The simple decision to start with the host organizational system as the primary avenue to performance alters the models. and process interventions. . and job methods.” Besides operating under a training title that they quickly outgrew. The range of performance perspectives forces the profession to face the realities of how others strategically view us and how we view ourselves (Swanson. Without this broad orientation beyond isolated individual. companies in the 1980s. thinking. the performance scorecards available to organizational decision makers generally ignore these elements. accomplish something as promised or expected” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.
There are those in the profession speaking directly to the topic of performance in an attempt to clarify the relationships among performance drivers (Holton. Chasing after individual or organization change without ﬁrst specifying a valid unit of performance is foolhardy and a waste of time. The actual fulfillment of the goods and/or services requirement is thought of in terms of units of performance. 1996). structure. 2001) and/or performance variables (Swanson. Systems theory informs us that (1) there are systems and subsystems and (2) all systems are open systems. Some are publicly owned. Numerous studies have demonstrated that employee satisfaction can increase while actual production decreases or remains the same. technology. or expertise. and economic milieu. and strategies—but not always. These. goals. and quality. time. Organizations are the host systems for the activity.Theoretical Foundation of Performance Improvement 27 motivation. Performance may be identiﬁed within missions. 1996). cultural. or other similar performance taxonomies. 1998. Some of these systems are profit-making organizations that produce goods and/or services for consumers. And. Performance is the valued productive output of a system in the form of goods or services. The realization that there are tiers of subsystems and larger host systems and that systems are open entities constantly changing is humbling. and human resource mix. can best be thought of as performance variables. This is because change can take place while “real” performance decreases! One example is to pursue employee satisfaction with the assumption that production will increase. The larger frame in which performance improvement functions includes organizations and the milieu in which they function. and some are owned by individuals or a group of individuals. competence. each has core processes related to producing goods and services. some are shareholder owned and publicly traded. Some are nonproﬁt organizations that produce goods and/or services for consumers. All these organizations function in an ever-present political. Performance improvement practitioners and scholars should not lose sight of the constantly evolving state of overall systems. . but not performance. Each has its own mission/ strategy. These realizations help prevent professionals from thinking and acting simply and mechanically. The reengineering fad is another example of the pursuit of change with the majority of instances ending up in performance losses instead of gains (Micklethwait & Wooldridge. These goods and/or services units of performance are typically measured in terms of features of production quantity.
. accounting for the sophisticated processes through which performance is expressed (e. performance can be systematically operationalized in any organization when we set out to demonstrated whether or not it has improved. 2002). Performance improvement can only be manifested through outputs. and change in outputs can only be assessed through some form of measurement.3 as a systems model of performance improvement. all functioning in the larger organizational context. work process innovation. and job performer levels (Brache. Given this holistic view. and the material resources through which their ideas reach the marketplace. their ideas. Thus. a process working with other core processes within the organization. stock market performance). in fact. process. . Developers work with managers in applying sociotechnical principles to organizational problems and opportunities. human behavior. improved. team. Performance issues will demand concrete actions. Again Most performance improvement professionals have accepted the view of organizations as complex. and making some judgment about whether performance has. Assuming that the challenge is to design and create high-performing organizations. The systems thinker achieves strategic beneﬁts by applying systems solutions to systems problems and opportunities. . many tools for intervening wisely exist at the organization. performance improvement can be viewed as a process functioning within the host organization. The final phase is focused on the assessment of performance results to heighten the intent of the performance improvement process. all the parts and subsystems need to work together to achieve the purpose of the whole organization. The analyst who takes a systems view will likely see the limitations of other views of the organization. In every workplace. the concrete determinants of performance are reﬂected in people. All of this is graphically portrayed in Figure 2. Performance cannot be described or improved without specifying its determinants. open systems. Additionally. The Systems View .28 ANALYSIS: The Key to Improving Performance The expectation is that performance improvement efforts will logically culminate with important positive gains in performance for its host organization. Performance improvement is not simply abstract notions about desirable ways to reach a better state.g. The systems-oriented developer will tend to focus on (1) deﬁning the organization or system broadly enough to include the root cause of the performance issue and (2) identifying the primary source .
systems can be identiﬁed by their purpose. which make them appropriate for study (Clarke & Crossland. In systems such as the human mind. Studying the parts individually can disrupt their usual interaction so much that the isolated part will look and act very different from its normal pattern in its normal context. First. rather than being taken apart and examined piece by piece. the human body. it is extremely important to study the whole system at the same time one studies an element. they are permeable so that forces in their environments. and solutions. and/or information with their environments. mechanistic. systems do work. Analysis work can be either the decomposition of a whole into its component parts or the piece-by-piece synthesis of component parts into a whole system. or contexts. Finally. they stop doing whatever they were doing in the system whenever you remove them from the system. Fifth. systems are assemblies of parts or elements that are connected in an organized way. . Fourth. economic. complex systems are open systems. At the same time. That is. affect each other in complicated and nonobvious ways. will affect what goes on within the systems. or elements. Both types of analysis work are important to performance improvement professionals. systems have boundaries. all the parts. a good way to identify the elements and interactions of a system of interest is to begin by identifying their collective output. opportunities. That is. Basic Systems Thinking Systems theory was ﬁrst applied by Ludwig von Bertalanffy (1968) to the field of biology and has since spread to influence a multitude of ﬁelds. the analyst taking this approach will acknowledge the power. Second. In turn. All the elements in a system interact. to focus on a single element and blame it for systems failure is counterproductive. complex systems exist to carry out a process of transforming inputs into outputs. For this reason. open systems influence their contexts as they exchange energy. of that system. That is. Third.Theoretical Foundation of Performance Improvement 29 of the power to take advantage of a performance opportunity. All complex systems have certain properties in common. and humanistic contributions to the performance problems. or the human organization. That is. or elements. 1985). it is possible to set lines of demarcation to determine the elements included in a system of interest as well as those that are excluded. Systems theorists believe that all conﬁgurations of things in the world should be viewed as wholes. That is. materials.
Systems thinking demands that analysts understand the powerful inﬂuences that driving forces in the environment have on the organization as a system and the challenges and opportunities these driving forces present to decision makers throughout the organization. They function interdependently with all the other subsystems in achieving the whole organization’s mission. that is.4). Depending on particular performance issues. and outputs (Figure 2. subsystems such as marketing. processes. to do its work. When customers do not seek an organization’s outputs. they take in inputs—energy. return them to the environment in the form of outputs: goods and/or services.4 Interdependencies of subsystem inputs. Every complex business organization consists of a number of subsystems. in due time.30 ANALYSIS: The Key to Improving Performance Even this simple portrayal of an organization as a system indicates that every organization has it environment and its inputs. and so on—from the environment. The organization exists to carry out its mission. people. Improving the work life of the people in the organization is not. The organizations that developers study are open systems. production. human re- Environment Organization I P O I P O I P O I P O Inputs Outputs Processes Figure 2. it must change what it does or die. and outputs . Every organization has a purpose. They then process these inputs and. processes. capital. the primary purpose of a business organization. Producing quality outputs for customers is the primary reason for the existence of any organization. each of which has its own internal customers. a mission. as some would have us believe. materials. distribution.
most of which will not yield to isolated personnel development efforts. Partial Solutions Don’t Work A software firm added new communication equipment to speed the process of answering customers who telephoned with software questions. Mechanistic and human relations developers focus on ﬁxing individual employees and managers. and their customers within the total organizational scheme. They understand the importance of examining the interdependencies between organization subsystems to identify the real sources of problems. Systems analysts. As a result. in contrast. their missions. responding to customers’ needs took a little less time following the development program. the organizational development department of a large manufacturing company implemented a program to increase . As another example. processes. and outputs—can be identified by their purposes. what is treated as a system on one occasion may be treated as a subsystem on another occasion. As expected. However. Besides purchasing the equipment and training the product support staff to use it. All such internal subsystems—each with its own inputs. and research and development may be singled out by performance improvement specialists. Rising customer complaints about the lack of response to their software problems prompted the vice president of sales to question the consultants about the effectiveness of their performance improvement effort.Theoretical Foundation of Performance Improvement 31 source development. they feel compelled to struggle more with the breadth and the depth of the analysis. and timeliness criteria for their acceptance of systems and subsystems outputs. They began hurrying each caller along. Internal and external customers alike are powerful because they determine the quality. are aware that causes are often far removed from organizational effects. Power-oriented analysts tend to simply look to top management for problems to be fixed by means of their development solutions. Decision makers within systems must heed the customers’ criteria for the goodness of systems outputs. increasing sales volume meant that the customer support staff had to respond to an ever-increasing number of callers. quantity. These systems-oriented analysts know that focusing activities and programs on the wrong targets is a waste of organizational resources. Thus. the economically oriented consultants offered training in listening skills and new methods for defusing the emotion of frustrated customers.
While attending a professional conference. these are not valid reasons for rejecting systems thinking. had completely missed a major systems issue. That is where systems thinking becomes useful. an employee survey identiﬁed a wideranging requirement for increased communication skills in a rapidly growing service organization. and techniques and not enough on the importance of integrating their use with the nature of the organizations they are trying to improve. This activity was in direct response to a request from the management team. and how to adapt it to the organization’s need. The driving force for the request was the company’s president. methods. and the framing of systems or in the dilemma of where to draw the boundaries around a subsystem so that it may be analyzed. The two situations were treated as unrelated events in this company. the personnel department was carrying out management’s directive to hire a consulting group to institute a new company-wide compensation system. The analysts failed to take a systems view of their growing organization and the requirement to assist increasing numbers of interdependent work groups in learning new ways to coordinate their work efforts. Because the survey did not establish that the real organizational performance issues was intergroup communication. Although this effort is always a struggle and never perfect. the corporate person who attends any national professional conference will be offered a huge list of presenters. exactly where in the organization to apply it. even though the power-oriented human resource staff was aware of the potential effects of the new compensation system on the appraisals. the relationships between elements. And the humanistically oriented staff. To take yet another example. the performance improvement staff focused on developing interpersonal skills.32 ANALYSIS: The Key to Improving Performance supervisors’ expertise in conducting performance-based appraisal interviews. working at the interpersonal skills level. each claiming the merits of his or her new tool. What these presenters can’t say is whether their new tool is appropriate for a speciﬁc organization. professionals place too much emphasis on creating new tools. For example. she had been persuaded by the urgent legal requirement to conduct unbiased performance appraisals. Systematic Performance Improvement Interventions In the performance improvement field. Simultaneously. But this approach is easier said than done. Systems thinking consistently results in a struggle to deﬁne the elements of the system. .
development efforts. implementation.3 shows the performance improvement process overlaid on the major elements of the organizational system. It results in an accurate identification of the actual . development. and work expertise documentation (review Figure 1. work process documentation and improvement. But practitioners and theorists do not agree on the detail and rigor required of the speciﬁc steps and subprocesses that make up each of the five phases. and research and development. systematic performance diagnosis. technology. economic. Therefore. and human resources (Tichy.Theoretical Foundation of Performance Improvement 33 In the end.1). and evaluation. production. or some combination of these will affect the change in performance. Performance improvement is displayed as one process within the organization. while the organization is broken into mission and strategy. Analysis is the ﬁrst and most critical phase of the performance improvement process. developer and manager also work together to determine whether management actions. Systemic and Systematic Performance Improvement Process Most theorists and practitioners agree that a systematic process should be used to carry out performance improvement efforts. it is clear to most people that systems theory. In addition. environmental forces. you see the core model of the organization within the environment. they document organizational processes and their improvements along with the expertise (precisely what people are required to know and be able to do) to perform in the workplace. The environment is further delineated in terms of economic. I divide the analysis phase into three parts: organizational performance diagnosis. and cultural forces surrounding the organization. 1983). Figure 2. I want to state clearly that I take a rigorous view of the performance improvement process. In this phase. distribution. developers and managers work together to achieve the critical steps of determining the organization’s performance requirements and the desired performance goal or standard. In the analysis phase. Performance diagnosis comes ﬁrst. political. and psychological nature of the organization. organization structure. Again. and systematic documentation of expertise are powerful means for dealing with complex performance issues. It is a problem-deﬁning/opportunity method that takes into account the systemic. design. They also agree that a general performance improvement process consists of five phases: analysis. The performance improvement process interacts with the other organizational processes—such as marketing.
skills. Work process improvement comes second. the remaining phases include design. Instead of gaining a true understanding of the performance problems. Beyond the analysis phase of performance improvement. and identifies process-referenced work tasks. and evaluation. and/or individual performances along with proposed systematic improvements to be made. development. CONCLUSION Managers of complex organizations face choices about improving performance and about the avenues they will pursue in achieving their performance goals. and knowledge work tasks are presented. team. It is a systematic method of analyzing and documenting the work expertise—the detailed knowledge. implementation. task inventory. can be costly to rectify. In contrast. in even the most humane organizations. These latter steps include job description. Specific methods for analyzing procedural. people with obsolete know-how . process. and task analysis. and discovered later in the evaluation phase. The linkage among all ﬁve phases is direct and substantive. Eventually.34 ANALYSIS: The Key to Improving Performance and desired organization. By contrast. Tools for executing the steps appropriate to diagnosing organization performance are described in Chapters 4 to 7. The analysis phase. Task analysis deﬁnes precisely what a person is required to know and do in order to perform a particular task. Work expertise documentation comes last. and attitudes required to perform on the job—as called for by the performance diagnosis. errors in the later phases are less costly to repair. systems. improves them. which must be completed ﬁrst. The quality of the effort during the analysis phase is critical because it spills over into the substance of all the remaining phases. What is more. deﬁnes and frames the entire performance improvement effort. Tools for executing the steps appropriate to documenting workplace expertise are described in Chapters 9 to 14. they may crudely choose to hire and ﬁre people or to streamline the process and fire the excess workers. Major errors can be made in any of the phases. but as you progress through the systematic development process. you encounter fewer opportunities to make serious process errors. the implementation phase only impacts the evaluation phase. When needed. this part documents existing processes. fatal errors made in the analysis phase. Documenting and improving work processes are covered in Chapter 8.
A systems-thinking person would judge these erratic organizational pulsings as ineffective and inefﬁcient. the remainder of this book provides the tools to systematically diagnose and document workplace performance and expertise—the critical ﬁrst steps in performance improvement.Theoretical Foundation of Performance Improvement 35 are discharged to allow the hiring of people who seemingly have the capacity to perform in the present system or the ability to reshape the systems. As a positive response. .
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Beyond having sound theories. The tools 37 . and tools. Interview Highlights Interview with Shipping Supervisor on Teamwork Conclusion W e know from the research on problem-solving behavior that good problem solvers control the definition of the problem— they do not unquestionably accept others’ judgments. strategies. If you are reading this book. they quickly convert them into ill-defined problems with questions like “Why?” and “How do you know?” They efﬁciently collect relevant data and are able to synthesize it into an accurate problem deﬁnition and solution that is independent of the predisposition of others. the most expert analysts and problem solvers are intelligent. experienced. and motivated. you are likely quite intelligent. and methods—while easily learned and used—are not very effective. Specialized methods designed for specialized problem domains and issues yield more accurate and effective responses. When they are confronted with well-deﬁned problems. methods.3 Case Study of Analysis for Performance Improvement Your Performance Improvement Role Acme International. We also know from the research on problem solving that general models. Inc.
produces. This book is meant to help build the needed expertise. Company Description Acme International markets. You also know very little about the shipping function. Rather. and together they reveal a picture of Acme International. The case in this chapter is a teaching case for learning processes and tools. In addition. This is the ﬁrst time you have done any work with the Distribution Division. the following are pieces of a puzzle.38 ANALYSIS: The Key to Improving Performance described in this book. case is being presented at this point in the book to provide a common learning anchor. Throughout the book. sells. It is both simple enough and complex enough to help in learning—to serve this purpose. The following profile of Acme International is not intended to be complete. Many believe that such work is beyond most people’s reach. and distributes a line of replacement seat covers for automobiles. designs. To suggest that everyone can do this work would be foolhardy. are fashioned from expert problem solvers in organizational diagnosis and expertise documentation. including the methods and tools presented in this book. examples relating to Acme International will be provided. The Acme International. My experience has been that people want to engage in analysis for improving performance more than they are adequately prepared to do so. once you study them. The case will unfold throughout the book. ACME INTERNATIONAL. YOUR PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT ROLE You are a performance improvement specialist for Acme International. each is interesting in itself. The motivation should be in the promise of these tools for yielding important results. Even so. numerous examples on other topics will be presented for the purposes of learning and generalization. INC. the plant manager is concerned and is expecting you to turn around a bad situation that appears to be getting worse. will be mastered through application and experience. You are relatively new with the corporation but have experienced a number of small successes in the Production Division during the past six months. pat- . Analysis for Improving Performance. Inc. All the colors.
and shipper overtime provide indicators of serious performance problems. The following run charts (Figures 3. Organizational Performance Records A number of regular business measures are causing concern for the managers at Acme. The organizational chart of the Distribution Division is shown in Figure 3. it has been experiencing numerous shipping problems. inventory error rates. sizes. and shapes of seat covers in the product line add up to about 130 total options available to meet customer orders. the Distribution Division has its own data processing system to maintain inventories.1 Acme International Distribution Division organizational chart terns. Off-Hand Comments As you have begun to move ahead on this important performance problem. Some examples: . snippets of information have come at you from a number of sources.Case Study of Analysis for Performance Improvement 39 Distribution Director Secretary Order Handling Department Head Order Clerks (5) Shipping Department Head Clerk (1) Inventory Control Department Head Shipping Supervisors (2) Data Processing Supervisor (1) Shippers (20) Terminal Operators (2) Figure 3. It is all secondhand information or opinion. and since then. Shipping. and Inventory Control.1. The Distribution Division has three departments: Order Handling.4) on returned goods rates. Because of the complexity of the product line. the division installed a new inventory control terminal. About three and a half months ago. Review them and see what you think.2 to 3.
In the Inventory Control Department ■ Computer terminal operators’ overtime is too high. New computer terminals were installed three and a half months ago. .2 Returned goods rate: January–December 7 6 Percent 5 4 Goal 3 2 1 0 J F M A M J J A S O N D Figure 3.40 ANALYSIS: The Key to Improving Performance 16 14 Actual 12 Percent 10 8 6 Goal 4 2 0 J F M A M J J A S O N D Figure 3. One new and one experienced operator were trained by the vendor.3 Inventory error rate: January–December In the Order Handling Department ■ A new streamlined system will be installed in six months.
Figure 3. ■ Out-of-stock items are too frequent. ■ Shippers have no formal training and are trained on the job. a shipping supervisor.3). ■ Returned goods are up over the past four months due to the wrong product getting shipped (see Figure 3. INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS Six people in the Distribution Division have agreed to be interviewed by the performance improvement specialist as part of the investigation. ■ Shippers are ignoring lift truck safety procedures.4).1). They include the director of Distribution. the head of Shipping.Case Study of Analysis for Performance Improvement 41 30 25 Percent 20 15 10 Goal 5 0 J F M A M J J A S O N D Figure 3. and a shipper (see the organizational chart. In the Shipping Department ■ Shippers’ overtime is too high (see Figure 3. as shown by the physical count. ■ Fifteen percent of the computer reports are late.2). The highlights from the interview notes are as follows: . computer reports) are too high (see Figure 3.4 Shipper overtime: January–December ■ Inventory rates (actual count vs. a terminal operator. ■ Warehouse cleanliness is marginal to poor. Seven of the twenty shippers have less than six months of experience. head of Inventory Control.
The computer keeps the running inventory. ■ Shippers ﬁll out a ticket for each order indicating product codes and numbers of items shipped. ■ Three or four months ago. ■ The manager of Shipping takes responsibility for the problem. Terminal operators get them and enter them. Head of Inventory Control This manager doesn’t get along with the head of Shipping and is 100 percent convinced there is a problem and that it is Shipping’s fault. . The head of Inventory Control is always correcting their reporting errors.42 ANALYSIS: The Key to Improving Performance Director of Distribution She acts powerful and talks in platitudes. ■ Overtime is up because terminal operators spend too much time correcting Shipping’s errors. she doesn’t know why. ■ Terminal operators are tops. The jobs here are simple. She is trying to do her job and is concerned about the problems with Shipping. all kinds of bad reports started coming out of Shipping. She tends not to acknowledge problems and plays it close to the chest. ■ Cleanliness in Shipping is a problem. ■ Shippers don’t know the codes. ■ The quality improvement director is blowing this situation out of proportion. ■ She is trained and knows the system. Terminal Operator She has been on the job for four years and thinks the present computer system is great. ■ Business cycles explain the performance records. ■ The Order Handling Department may need help with its new streamlined system. ■ Shipping is entirely to blame for the problems.
and one (Harry) has been out for three and a half months because of a heart attack. ■ The training is good—old-timers teach the new people. since he is 100 percent sure his shippers are well qualiﬁed. ■ Harry is the only one who knows the codes for the reports—he ﬁlled them all out. ■ There are only two supervisors. ■ Bill has been going crazy ever since Harry got sick. Shipper The shipper has ten years of experience and liked the job until Harry got sick. and all Bill is doing is running back and forth. Bill works the ﬂoor. ■ It has been a real problem since Harry got sick. he wants to get back to the warehouse as soon as possible. Then Shipping gets the wrong parts. and Harry works the ofﬁce. ■ Data Processing doesn’t know how to use its new system. and its reports end up going to Production. Normally. Shipping Supervisor The remaining shipping supervisor (Bill) is hassled and overworked. ■ Bill is best at working on the ﬂoor supervising the shippers and seeing to it that the trucks get off on schedule. and staff there have to make substitutions. He thinks he is being set up. It’s crazy! ■ Shippers are good. Everyone is overworked. ■ He hates paperwork.Case Study of Analysis for Performance Improvement 43 Head of Shipping This manager is catching ﬂak from the head of Inventory Control and is really tired of it. Harry loves it! ■ The clerk is now doing the paperwork. ■ He can’t do the job of two people. . The head of Shipping can’t get approval for a replacement. a solid system of on-the-job training is in place.
If the order is for a conservative color and we’re out of that. So. will radically cut back on the number of substitutions. the Acme performance specialist (PS) interviews a shipping supervisor (SS) expert in teamwork from the Acme Ohio operation. go for it. We also are realistic enough to know that there will always be some substitutions. The transcript follows: PS: Thanks for meeting with me. to make seat cover substitutions. including training. you don’t send a bright red substitute. PS: What do you mean by “cause more problems”? SS: Substitution is just a lot of common sense. But if the only thing we have that will work is a high-end product. SS: Yeah. but it gets complicated. the best decision is to have the exact item the customer wants. Your experience in team problem solving in Ohio has been invaluable to us. We don’t want to do anything dumb. The shipper goes to a bin. don’t substitute with a high-end product. . and the customer sends it back. As one source of data. you know—that will just cause more problems than it solves. If you’re dealing with a lowend customer. but nobody ever trained us to do it.” We’re hoping all the other changes we’re doing. makes a substitution. as you can imagine. we’re already beyond the “right solution.” SS: Well. If we don’t have that. Based on the new shipper job description and task inventory you helped develop. our big concern is to make the most reasonable substitute. among other tasks. finds it empty. What a mess. there really isn’t any one right answer to substitution decisions. we are moving ahead with a training program to prepare the shippers to work in teams of two to make seat cover substitutions. INTERVIEW WITH SHIPPING SUPERVISOR ON TEAMWORK You are thinking of proposing a shipper program to train twenty shippers on teamwork. and you get clearance to ship the high-end product to the low-end customer at the low-end cost.” ■ Everything is screwed up. The best overall solution we have right now is that “two heads are better than one”! PS: Tell me more about the idea that “there isn’t any right substitution.44 ANALYSIS: The Key to Improving Performance ■ Bill won’t ﬁll out the reports—“we do our best.
the history of backbiting among the top managers must be having a large negative effect on the organizational. CONCLUSION Clearly there are performance problems at Acme International. I’d bet anything that your people have what it takes to do an excellent job and to make reasonable seat cover substitutions. you will need to periodically refer back to this chapter. a performance analyst must be struck by the sudden appearance of negative performance indicators in the company production records at the time when a number of reported corporate changes took place. then. The key is to (1) make it clear that making seat cover substitutions is their job. . At first glance. PS: Is that it? SS: Sounds simple. See you after lunch.Case Study of Analysis for Performance Improvement 45 SS: You know. That’s the way it used to be here in Ohio. Thanks for your trouble! You’ve been a big help. Even so. and you’ve seen some of it ﬁrsthand. these shippers have apparently been working day in and day out without talking to each other. team. and individual performances. In some ways it is. process. The Acme International case will continue to unfold throughout the book. this looks like a performance issue that could be easily addressed. As each phase of diagnosing organizations and documenting workplace expertise portions of the case are presented. what is it they need from training? SS: We’ve talked before about this. I know. PS: I see that you have some work backed up as a result of this time we had. and (3) see that they follow through on the job. PS: Well. I guess we’ll be meeting with the corporate trainer on that topic after lunch. They need training on how to keep their hands off the shippers’ work and how to coach people without turning them off. While much more information is needed. (2) give them some uncomplicated training on a simple problem-solving method that requires them to work in pairs. The hardest part will be with your supervisors.
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PART TWO Diagnosing Organizational Performance Chapter 4 Concepts for Diagnosing Performance Chapter 5 The Performance Diagnosis Process Chapter 6 Constructing a Performance Improvement Proposal Chapter 7 Documenting and Improving Work Processes Chapter 8 Data Collection Methods 47 .
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4 Concepts for Diagnosing Performance Performance Diagnosis Concepts Conclusion “Y ou know it when you see it!” can be said about a smooth-running organization—or an inefﬁcient one. along an interstate highway. The automobile repair station. was staged with personnel who treated me courteously. and relied on a sophisticated technological backup system. I was blasted with messages. I had the experience of being a consumer of services provided by an automobile repair organization and a health care organization. Within minutes of encountering each organization. hit me soon after entering the door. In a single day recently. 49 . But analysis at this level does not represent performance diagnosis and will do little or nothing to improve the situation. can tell you that a place is or is not functioning well. Even so. wore clean uniforms. worked as a team. had a professional manner. The health care organization I visited later that day could have learned a great deal from the repair station. The egotism of the staff. the mere detection that the ship isn’t moving or that the crew is on the edge of mutiny doesn’t qualify a person as a performance diagnostician. It is amazing how quickly an outsider. combined with their poor work systems and inept communication. on entering an organization.
& Associates. It is (1) a problem-defining method that results in an accurate identiﬁcation of the actual and desired performance at the organizational. and individual). The up-front performance diagnosis should result in (1) a formal proposal to management that views the situation. I have seen HRD activities focused on narrowly conceived and trivial work performance when the same organization was experiencing crippling inefficiencies resulting from the lack of basic work expertise among large segments of its workforce. Campbell. These tools help less experienced professionals succeed and experienced diagnosticians become more efﬁcient. 1988). The research has consistently shown that performance improves through responsible and systemic performance improvement efforts (Campbell. system design. and the performance evaluation criteria for success. (2) speciﬁcation of performance at the current and desired levels of attainment. I regularly see managers with a solution in search of a problem. From a systems perspective. It requires intellect. often based on management fads. it does not make sense to think about isolated snapshots of performance. I have seen managers set “new” performance goals that were lower than existing goals without even being aware of their backward move. motivation. process. experience. This is what management cynics refer to as the “flavor of the month” approach to performance improvement. For example. Since few of us are naturally equipped for this work. Also. capacity. bright people with a great deal of experience using appropriate tools are the best diagnosticians. Performance diagnosis is not casual work. Thorough diagnosis of performance examines key performance variables (mission/goals. work team. and effort. work team. (3) a specific performance improvement intervention for a specific audience. and/or expertise) at four distinct levels (organization. and individual levels and (2) the specification of interventions to improve this performance in the form of a performance improvement proposal. and (4) management’s required commitment to the intervention. Even worse. process. we need tools that can facilitate the diagnostic process and direct the energy required of the effort. . Clearly.50 Diagnosing Organizational Performance Performance diagnosis is much more. The resulting information and its interplay are the basis for prescribing appropriate interventions for performance improvement. the proposed intervention. Accurate performance diagnosis is the ﬁrst step in improving performance.
and reviewing records to be sure to include relevant elements from the organizational system. For example. In a situation with such a welldeﬁned and limiting analysis frame. neither analyst nor managers will probably have an accurate analysis frame. will provide the direction and looseness required to move ahead with the performance diagnosis. a performance issue can be clearly stated. reviewing these concepts will help reinforce the conceptual model for understanding and directing performance analyses. At first glance.” Caution is required here in that the situation is so tightly framed that important related factors may well be ignored. these concepts may appear to be wellunderstood information. At the start. Other managers will conﬁdently assure the analyst that “ﬁrst-line supervisors in the Accounting Department need more timely information for decision making in order to make major productivity gains. Everything is all messed up. and adjusts the boundaries of the analysis frame by asking questions.” The manager’s reaction was to pull back so far that there were no boundaries to his or her thinking. Thus. Keeping the performance problem somewhat ill deﬁned. As part of the diagnostic process. the analyst checks. Framing the Performance Diagnosis The performance diagnostician frames the situation from a systems perspective to help determine the causes of perceived performance opportunities or problems. Both diagnosticians and managers should resist the temptation to precisely define the performance issue too early in the process. though the precise conceptual relationships will vary for each situation. but with some focus. Setting boundary frames that are too broad can result in inefﬁciencies in collecting excessive and unnecessary amounts of data to fill up the oversize . observing. Such a general and ill-defined analysis frame provides little if any utility. But my experience has shown that what is obvious to one person may not be obvious to another. Approaching a performance diagnosis with a frame that is too large or too small can be troublesome. rechecks. but that does not mean that the statement is accurate. some managers will greet the analyst with “Help! I don’t know what’s going on.Concepts for Diagnosing Performance 51 PERFORMANCE DIAGNOSIS CONCEPTS A number of concepts direct the work of diagnosing performance in organizations.
work team. the decision makers. systemwide components that impinge on the situation. The cautious analyst checks and rechecks by asking: ■ “Am I using too small of an analysis frame?” Probably.52 Diagnosing Organizational Performance frame. ■ “Am I using too large of an analysis frame?” Probably. and the analyst (Sleezer. and respond when necessary to the unique characteristics of the organization. 1991). A major concern is how to frame the organizational system or subsystem so that the true factors influencing the performance are included within the analysis frame. Even if the performance improvement effort appears well polished. Setting too-narrow boundaries can result in ineffectiveness because inadequate data are collected. not the performance itself. monitor. . when people intensely disagree about the performance issues being discussed. and the language used to inﬂuence behavior. and Analyst Threaded throughout the performance diagnosis process is the need to recognize. it can prove to be ineffective and costly when it is off target. process. Probably you have established an appropriate frame if more than one case of an organization. when the conclusions are too easily reached. or individual performance problem has been identiﬁed. Characteristics of the Organization. Even experienced performance improvement professionals will sometimes err in establishing the boundaries for a performance analysis. ■ “Am I using an appropriate analysis frame?” Probably. if the critical data from the broader frame and smaller targeted frame conﬁrm the data from the boundary you thought to be appropriate. resulting in inaccurate identiﬁcation of the performance opportunity/problem and its root cause. Decision Makers. The distinguishing features of these critical characteristics that affect the performance diagnosis are as follows: ■ Organizational characteristics such as the internal and external environment. organizational culture and politics. Performance improvement interventions resulting from framing errors will generally be aimed at a symptom of the performance. These subtle and abstract dimensions are rarely factors that ﬁrst come to the surface in analyzing performance.
Concepts for Diagnosing Performance 53
Decision-maker characteristics that include the expectations and
level of consensus among multiple decision makers, and their
level of support for the performance improvement intervention
Analyst characteristics, including his or her level of diagnostic
expertise and information-gathering biases (Sleezer, 1991, pp.
357–358). Expert analysts, like experts in most ﬁelds, have more
tools in their toolbox than they use in any one situation. Furthermore, experts choose the best approach and tool for a particular situation, not the tool they simply like to use.
Paying close attention to the characteristics of the organization, decision makers, and analyst during the diagnostic process is important
in obtaining a common perception of the real performance issue and
proper remedy. In the end, the analyst and the organizational decision
makers must agree. A paradox emerges, however, because a common
perception can build from a smooth sales pitch as well as from a disciplined diagnostic process. In fact, support for implementing an intervention can be gained even when the intervention does not show much
promise of improving performance. The emphasis on substantive improvement in performance differentiates this book from theories and
practices that are barely, if at all, connected to performance. For example:
Quality management: ISO 9000. This approach does not actually promise to improve quality. It offers documentation tools
that have the potential to improve quality (Du Pont, 1989).
Workplace learning. The adult learning perspective of workplace
education and training does not promise to improve organizational or worker performance. It promises worker knowledge
with “the possibility of performance change or general growth
of the individual” (Nadler & Nadler, 1990, p. xxxvii).
Knowledge management. The simple idea of getting good information to the right people in a timely manner is not nearly
enough. Until now, knowledge management has not taken into
account the fact that such efforts are deeply social in nature and
must be approached by considering human and social factors
(Thomas, Kellogg, & Erickson, 2001).
Thus, the eager and well-intentioned manager agrees to invest in
an intervention that is supposed to make things better. The true state
of affairs is that many interventions do not deliver what they promise
and can even hurt the performance of an organization. Piecemeal and
54 Diagnosing Organizational Performance
nonsystemic performance improvement interventions have the potential of disrupting operations more than improving them. At a minimum, they can waste resources in terms of direct and indirect costs.
Politics of Performance Diagnosis
Organizations are human-made entities. As such, they can carry
human frailties as well as human strengths. Thus, there is a human dynamic to diagnosing performance that people often characterize as the
politics of the organization. In the end, the politics boil down to ego
and power issues. They pose no small challenge in carrying out the
Possibly the biggest deterrent to successful diagnosis is distrust of
organizational leaders who are viewed as unethical, uncaring, and unfair by those working in the organizations. These leaders are suspect
when it comes to sharing the gains in mission-related performance that
generally are converted into ﬁnancial gains. When organizational leaders
exhibit extraordinary greed, such as William McGuire, CEO of UnitedHealth Group, employees and stakeholders will likely withhold support and information. McGuire took $1.6 billion in stock options
(beyond his extravagant salary) in just one year (Forelle & Bandler,
2006). At $58,000 a year, a nurse would have had to begin working in
500 B.C. up to the present day to earn the bonus money that McGuire
made in a single year (Coleman, 2006). Such personal greed at the top
of an organization has to impact those throughout the organization
and the society in which such greed takes place. Fortunately, in this
case, investors’ negative reaction to this news caused a serious loss in
market value for UnitedHealth (Forester, 2006).
Later you will be introduced to the ethics undergirding performance improvement theory. It is important to recognize that performance
improvement and the follow-up decisions related to the distribution of
the gains resulting from that performance are two totally distinct categories of action. Yet, if participants believe or know that follow-up
gains will be distributed unfairly, they will hesitate to participate honestly and openly in the performance diagnosis and intervention. For
example, the failures around Hammer and Champy’s (1993) organizational reengineering movement, which was built on ﬂawed logic, was
predictable given its total disregard for the psychological foundation
of organizations (Swanson, 1993). The high rates of reengineering
failures can be partially blamed on the negative consequences to many
Concepts for Diagnosing Performance 55
of the organizational members being asked to support reengineering
The politics surrounding the performance diagnosis process also
explains why in so many situations the analyst is an outsider—either as
a staff person from another organizational division or as an external
consultant. The external person can be seen as more objective with
nothing to personally gain other than the truth of the situation. This is
particularly true if the analyst is a gray-haired seasoned professional.
The external person is less susceptible to insider egos and power tactics
that would be difﬁcult for an insider to ignore.
I once executed a performance diagnosis in a Fortune 50 ﬁrm that
was very political. The roadblock to progress and excellence was the top
manager, who had been pointing his finger at his underlings. Before
presenting the results of my diagnosis to the top management team, the
division director of organization development coached me to soften
my conclusions. I did not. The executive in charge demanded to know
where I got certain information. I reminded him of the conﬁdentiality
agreement. He got red in the face and announced that he did not care
and wanted to know the names. I refused again. Then, on their own,
managers spoke up as sources of information, verifying my conclusions. Within six months, the top executive was reassigned. Two years
later, I received a call from one of the managers informing me of the
positive impact of the performance diagnosis on the organization, that
they were still referring to the diagnosis, and that the integrity of the
management team was at an all-time high.
On many occasions, I have been brought in by an in-house performance improvement professional to lead a performance diagnosis
that the internal person could have carried out. In these instances, I
was used to mediate the politics of the strong personalities in the organization so that their egos and power positions did not distort the
diagnosis. To do this with integrity, analysts should have a defined
process for doing their work and a set of personal ethical standards to
guide their work.
Sometimes You Start in the Middle
In the next chapter, the organizational diagnosis process is presented as
a flowchart. This suggests that you move from left to right and that
there is a logical beginning, middle, and end. Theoretically, this is the
way it should be and is the way an expert diagnostician ends up laying
56 Diagnosing Organizational Performance
it out in his or her mind, even though the starting point may be in the
middle or at the end.
The reality of the workplace is that the boss may confront you
with any of the following starting points to a performance diagnosis:
We don’t have a problem/opportunity. We do not need your help.
We think we have a problem/opportunity. Can you help?
Here is the problem/opportunity. What is the solution?
Here is the problem/opportunity, and here is the solution!
When the boss says, “Here is the problem. What is the solution?”
you are plunked right into the middle of the performance diagnosis
process. While the boss is indicating that the problem has already been
deﬁned, the question of the accuracy of the deﬁnition comes up. It may
be accurate, but as an expert investigator, you pull back—ask a few
questions, review available documents, and make some of your own
observations to check it out. In doing so, you temporarily (and maybe
privately) reject the problem as deﬁned by the boss and quickly come
up with your own conclusion, even if it is one that agrees with the
boss, and then move on to determining an appropriate intervention.
Through this loop, the analyst retains the responsibility of deﬁning the
Performance diagnosis is a complex, multidimensional activity. Issuing
a simple survey to gather managerial or employee opinions about
development options may help build common perceptions, but this approach will rarely sufﬁce in accurately deﬁning performance opportunities or deﬁciencies in worker expertise. Diagnosing organizations for
the purpose of improving performance requires a substantial investment, with the realistic potential of high gains.
To this end, the following three chapters in this section of the book
organize and present the critical elements of diagnosing workplace performance. The last chapter in this section focuses on data collection
methods that can be used throughout the entire analysis effort.
The Performance Diagnosis Process
Using the Organizational Diagnosis Model
The Health Management, Inc. Case
rganizational performance diagnosis converts ill-deﬁned problems
and opportunities into well-defined performance improvement
proposals. Performance diagnosis is not the springboard of “knee-jerk
management” or for a “sixty-second solution.” Sometimes it turns out
that way—a quick ﬁx for solving an easy performance issue—but that
is not the norm. Performance diagnosis is rigorous work that yields
powerful solutions for the purpose of improving performance.
Performance diagnosis can be thought of as a problem-deﬁning or opportunity-deﬁning method. It results in (1) an accurate identiﬁcation of
the actual and desired performances at the organizational, process,
team, and/or individual levels, along with (2) the speciﬁcation of interventions to improve performance.
The general process of performance diagnosis contains ﬁve phases
(see Figure 5.1) that begin with articulating the initial purpose and end
58 Diagnosing Organizational Performance
Figure 5.1 Diagnosing performance process
with a performance improvement proposal. The three phases in the
middle inform each other and are not necessarily sequential. They include assessing the performance variables, specifying the performance
measures, and determining the performance needs.
The three realms—performance variables, performance measures,
and performance needs—are usually pursued concurrently and as dictated by the situation. The culminating performance improvement proposal acts as a synthesis of the findings and provides the springboard
for organizational approval and action.
The following sections of this chapter detail the ﬁrst four steps of
the performance diagnosis process. The ﬁnal organizational diagnosis
phase—developing the performance improvement proposal—is presented in Chapter 6. The data collection methods that thread through
all the analysis work at the organizational, process, team, and individual levels are discussed in Chapter 7. These methods include interviews, questionnaires, observations, and documentation.
It is important to start the workplace performance diagnosis process
by articulating the purpose of the improvement effort. The adage “If
you don’t know where you are going, you will likely end up someplace
else” provides a useful warning. Efforts at improving performance that
lack up-front clarity almost always end up being ineffective and irrelevant. The diagnostician acquires clarity by identifying four factors re-
The Performance Diagnosis Process 59
Figure 5.2 Articulate the initial purpose steps
lated to performance (Figure 5.2). Articulating the initial purpose of
the performance diagnosis in this way guides the analyst through often
vague and contradictory information. The steps include determining
the initial indicators of a performance issue, determining the type of
performance issue, determining the targeted level(s) of performance,
and articulating the purpose of the performance diagnosis.
Initial Indicators of the Performance Issue. The initial indicators of a per-
formance issue will most likely come from someone who has organizational authority and who initiates the process, if only by calling
attention to an issue. These initial indicators typically revolve around a
critical event, a person, or a change in an external condition. Examples
include production is down, there is a feeling of mutiny in the Research and Development Division, the president is not pleased with the
amount of paper crossing everybody’s desk, the VP of International is
unhappy about how the work of his group fits into the organization,
or technology is advancing too fast to keep up.
Very often the initial indicators of performance issues that are reported by managers to analysts will not match the stated type or level
of performance they are requesting. For example, when 50 percent of
the production product is waste or rework—an indicator of a present
and serious performance problem—this is no time to be responding to
a managerial request for cross-training employees for the purpose of
covering for each other on upcoming summer vacations. In this example, sorting through the interviews, production records, and on-site observations will surely focus on the painful production problem, not
deﬁciencies concerning vacation-related cross-training.
Thus, it is important to sort out the early perceptions in the diagnosis process. Early perceptions are often strongly held and often inaccurate. Your job as a diagnostician is to remain inquisitive and neutral.
Remaining open expands the possibilities before coming to a conclusion.
60 Diagnosing Organizational Performance
Actively thinking ahead about the substeps—(1) type of performance
issue and (2) level of performance—encourages you to ask more questions and to think beyond the original preceived need.
Type of Performance Issue. Classifying the performance issues into one
of three types helps separate multidimensional performance issues and
assists in articulating the purpose of the organizational diagnosis. The
three types of performance issues are (1) present performance problems, (2) improvements to the present performance, and (3) future performance requirements (Bjorkquist & Murphy, 1987; Swanson, 1982).
This practical classiﬁcation scheme is essentially responsive to timing factors. Multiple performance issues exist in an organization at any
one time, and they vary in terms of their immediacy. Present performance problems revolve around performance outputs that are expected and planned for but that are not being reached—performance
goals that are not being met. This type of performance problem—
missed goals and obvious low performance—causes present pain for
the organization, ineffectual work system processes, and dejection in
workers. These conditions of high performance improvement potential
are ripe for large performance gains (Gilbert, 1996). The conditions are
also ripe for blaming and secrecy among organizational personnel. The
initial data sources for present performance problems tend to be basic
business measures that stare you in the face through regular company
performance records (Swanson, 1989).
Improvements in present performance and future performance requirements (to remain competitive) do not carry the same intensity as
present performance problems. They are usually subtler and generally
can be pursued at a more leisurely pace. The initial data sources for
improvements in present performance and future performance requirements tend to be trends in the marketplace, organizational practices,
and survey results from employees and customers.
Without a sense of crisis, improving present performance issues
within an established organization, process, team, or individual can be
more rational and incremental. Also, this performance focus tends to
attract more internal experts with cooperative mind-sets than is true
with the other two types of performance issues. Unfortunately, these
conditions can also attract internal and external providers with niceto-do interventions without a rigorous connection to performance. For
example, knowledge management and quality improvement are typical
projects that match up with opportunities for improving present performance (vs. being a response to a present performance problem).
The Performance Diagnosis Process 61
Future performance requirements present another twist to the situation. Sometimes future performance requirements are similar to those
for improving the present performance, except that they are set off into
the future. For example, think about a new decision-making process or
production system to be installed twelve months from now. When installing such a new well-deﬁned work or technology system into an already smooth-running operation in the future, a fairly straightforward
performance improvement strategy can be established, though it still
may require a great deal of effort. Yet, the future time frame must be
considered since conditions will almost certainly be different at that
A more unsettling situation is preparing for a radically new and
undeﬁned future. Redesigning major organizational processes based on
new technology is one example of what is occurring in many firms
today. Can you imagine attempting to determine the high-tech education and training needs of a sophisticated workforce based on technology that does not yet exist? This level of uncertainty creates extreme
tension. In these conditions, even with the most systematic system redesign approach, unique forces are at work as leaders struggle between
themselves with conflicting views of the future. Furthermore, important characteristics among these strong leaders should be taken into account when gathering, valuing, and integrating information that is
provided by them. In particular, the role, status, personality, and experience characteristics of organizational experts who provide the diagnostic information for future requirements should be heeded. Roles
can include new technology versus project planning expertise; status
may entail knowing who is on the way up versus those on the way out;
personalities can be strong and vocal, strong and nonvocal, weak and
vocal, as well as weak and nonvocal; and experience could involve
high versus low experience with the substance of the inquiry.
It seems practical, particularly for a less experienced professional
or improvement team, to focus an improvement effort on only one of
the three types of performance issues: (1) present performance problems, (2) improvements to the present situation, or (3) future performance requirements. Classifying the performance issues into one of the
three categories helps separate the multidimensional problems in an organization and articulate the purpose of the organizational diagnosis.
Combining efforts to address more than one of these types at a time
most likely pulls in different data, different stakeholders, and different
strategies for efforts that are reasonably discrete. It would be better to
have parallel improvement projects and share data between them
They are organized around an organizational process or function. it is recognized that processes “are performed and managed by individuals doing various jobs” (Rummler & Brache. Systems theory helps us understand the four levels. However. 15). p. Another area that should be considered in articulating the purpose of the diagnosis involves levels of performance. followed by three steps that can be pursued simultaneously: Assess .62 Diagnosing Organizational Performance rather than to have them both under the same performance improvement umbrella. and that the process goals and measures are driven by the customers’ and the organizations’ requirements” (Rummler & Brache. 1995. the analyst must go “beyond the cross functional boundaries that make up the organization chart [to] see the work ﬂow—how the work gets done. For example. with team members having some interchangeable and overlapping responsibilities. At the individual level. 1995. p. the decision maker may be falsely convinced early on that the cause is lodged at a single level or at the wrong level. 17).” At this level. 2005). For the process level. 17). For example. he or she could react in the following singular ways: “There is so much bureaucracy around there that it is a miracle anything even gets done!” or “The financial computer program has a glitch in it!” or “Our ﬁnancial analysts are incompetent!” Articulate the Initial Purpose is the ﬁrst step of the performance diagnosis. Targeted Levels of Performance. the cause of a company sending a customer a contract bid containing an inaccurate budget and an incomplete list of services may find its root in any or all four levels. that those processes work effectively and efﬁciently. “one must ensure that processes are installed to meet customer needs. 1995. Four levels are identiﬁed and consistently referred to throughout the discussion of the remaining performance diagnosis phases: ■ Organizational ■ Process ■ Team ■ Individual The four levels are described as follows: The organizational level “emphasizes the organization’s relationship with its market and the basic ‘skeleton’ of the major functions that comprise the organization” (Rummler & Brache. The team level is the recognition of groups of workers functioning interdependently and sharing a common purpose (McLean. p.
While the information and decisions for each of these substeps needs to be determined. process. At this point. team. Three steps are presented in Figure 5. and Determine Performance Needs. collecting additional data on the performance variables. They include scanning existing date in context of the performance variables. .The Performance Diagnosis Process 63 Performance Variables. an investigation of the five performance variables across the four performance levels should take place.3 to assist in understanding the dynamics of this assessment. Having worked through some false leads. practical concerns of access will control the sequence of each. The possible cause of performance issues usually resides within one or more of ﬁve performance variables: Scan existing data in context of performance variables. Collect additional data on performance variables. A performance variable is a phenomenon that fundamentally contributes to systemic performance. A discussion of each follows. and the targeted levels of performance: The purpose of this performance improvement effort is to reduce Acme International’s seat cover returns and employee overtime in the shipping department. and profiling any missing or flawed variables required for the desired performance. they can be concurrently examined. Think back about the business records for Acme International Incorporated that were presented in Chapter 3. Performance Variables To assess performance variables. it is difﬁcult to determine the appropriate level(s) of performance—organizational. and/or individual—needing attention. a clearer purpose for the diagnosis can be established. In real life. Specify Performance Measures. Articulated Purpose of the Performance Diagnosis. the type of performance. Figure 5. This is a present performance problem that has severe potential ﬁnancial consequences to the company and its employees.3 Assess performance variables steps Profile missing or flawed variables required for desired performance. The following articulated purpose for that situation notes the performance issue.
provide a powerful template in diagnosing performance. This thinking matrix has great utility as a stand-alone job aid to refer to when doing an organizational diagnosis. For example. The enabling questions presented in the performance enabling matrix help the diagnostician sort out the performance overlaps and disconnects (Figure 5. team. An investigation and comparison of each of the five performance variables at each of the four performance levels peels open the performance context. and the system will almost always win. it is easier to understand the popular saying “Pit a good performer against a bad system. The ﬁrst substep here is to scan the available data on the performance variables and how they presently operate in the organization being diagnosed. systems design.4). a work process may have a goal built into it that is in conﬂict with the mission and/or goal of the organization or the goal of the worker in the process.64 Diagnosing Organizational Performance mission/goals. Or the mission/ goals of individuals can be out of sync with the goals of the process in which they work. and the process goals may have little connection to . Often a goal of efficiency at one level comes in conflict with the goal of quality at another level. and as a way to report back key ﬁndings recorded in each cell. and/or individual). and expertise (Swanson. or psychologically quit and stay on the payroll! Another example is when a well-designed work process is coupled with organizational policies and procedures that result in hiring employees lacking the capacity to perform the work. process. matrixed with the four levels of performance (organization. and performance measures and to scan these data for possible connections to the ﬁve performance variables. as a note-taking tool while collecting data (with cells opened up with white space for recording notes). and /or individual). Thus. capacity. This requires the analyst to carry forward any existing knowledge of performance level(s). At this point. 1999). they either quit and leave. performance needs. the diagnostician may have already determined that the performance problem is lodged at a particular performance level or combination of levels (organizational. as a common tool of reference for a team working on a diagnosis. The five performance variables. With this thinking matrix before you. No reasonable amount of training will get the employees up to required performance standards. process.” How else to explain the failure of highaptitude experts working in organizations? When the work system ties the hands of competent people behind their backs and at times punishes them for doing their best. a process could have a capacity that is actually less than the capacity of an individual working in it. team. motivation.
quality.Performance Levels Performance Variables Organization Level Process Level Team Level Individual Level Mission/Goal Does the organization mission/goal ﬁt the reality of the economic. and timeliness)? Does the team have the combined capacity to effectively and efﬁciently meet the performance goals? Does the individual have the mental. and reward systems support the desired performance? Does the process provide the information and human factors required to maintain it? Does the team function in a respectful and supportive manner? Does the individual want to perform no matter what? Expertise Does the organization establish and maintain selection and training policies and resources? Does the process of developing expertise meet the changing demands of changing processes? Does the team have the team process expertise to perform? Does the individual have the knowledge and expertise to perform? Figure 5. physical. and cultural forces? Do the process goals enable the organization to meet organization and individual missions/goals? Do the team goals provide congruence with the process and individual goals? Are the professional and personal mission/goals of individuals congruent with the organization’s? System Design Does the organization system provide structure and policies supporting the desired performance? Are processes designed in such a way to work as a system? Do the team dynamics function in such a way to facilitate collaboration and performance? Does the individual clear obstacles that impede his or her job performance? Capacity Does the organization have the leadership. political. culture.4 Performance Diagnosis Matrix . capital. and emotional capacity to perform? Motivation Do the policies. and infrastructure to achieve its mission/goals? Does the process have the capacity to perform (quantity.
reduced. is complex. Employees want to do a good job yet are cautious about being made scapegoats. One use of the Performance Diagnosis Matrix can be to present a summary of ﬁndings. process. they become a basis for performance improvements actions. the individual “survival goals” seem to be predominant at this time and negatively affecting the company. The third substep is to proﬁle the missing or ﬂawed variables within the matrix required for performance improvement. Systems design: The shipping department is seriously understaffed. While these common goals need to be harmonized. informally and over time. with only one of two supervisors currently on the job. In the Acme International Shipping Department. Most shippers have the aptitude to understand the shipping system and how to complete the shipping tickets. The legitimate seat cover substitution task occurs infrequently. Actual key information from a diagnosis placed . Capacity: Employees are underutilized. Motivation: Adversarial relationships between departments make it hard to admit limitations. job roles and duties in Shipping have become redefined. Once the variable and level disconnects are identified. The initial connections of performance levels (organizational. The second step is the collection of additional data to complete or confirm the variables as they are functioning in the case under investigation. Such performance disconnects are very common. and isolated. and/or individual) to performance variables (mission/ goals. motivation. capacity. Expertise: Only the hospitalized supervisor has the expertise to complete order tickets. for example.66 Diagnosing Organizational Performance the overall organizational goals. and/or expertise) using readily available information may be incomplete. and requires orderly problem-solving skills. the following proﬁle resulted: Mission/goal: Both the company and individuals clearly are concerned about surviving and prospering. The second supervisor has been out for five months with a major illness and will not be returning to work. The shippers do not have a systems perspective of the company or their department. work system. This performance concern is being addressed by the Total Quality Management Proposal that has recently been endorsed by the president. team. In addition.
and performance improvement without specifying the measure of performance. and individual). Performance Measures To specify the performance measures. If conﬁrmed. team. It is foolhardy to talk about development. . the relevant output units of performance at the organizational. In specifying performance measures. or narrower measures such as cash register errors in an eight-hour shift or the production of molded insulators per two-minute cycle.5 Specify performance measures steps Confirm units of performance. team and/or individual levels need to be identified. and add (2) a units-of-performance perspective to the picture. A target needs to exist. Three steps help clarify the dynamics of the phase of performance diagnosis in which performance measures are speciﬁed (see Figure 5. It may be all-inclusive such as market share in a ﬁve-year period or loans processed per week. including the systems outputs at each level.The Performance Diagnosis Process 67 in each cell forms an excellent diagnosis. the original perception may be that too much time is spent in meetings. it is nearly impossible to think intelligently about appropriate performance improvement actions. the diagnostician needs to keep in mind (1) the levels-of-performance perspective (organizational. change. process.5). For example. Identify outputs for performance levels. Figure 5. Select appropriate measurable units of performance. What I learned from the experience was that the filled-in matrix was a very powerful tool for communicating results and gaining managerial buy-in. The units of performance can be further thought of in terms of the following features: ■ Time ■ Quantity ■ Quality ■ Cost The original notion of the workplace performance being analyzed is usually fuzzy and in need of clariﬁcation. Without the target clearly in mind. process.
direct. 2001). Costs are simply those expenditures attributed to the effort and determined according to the accounting procedures within a particular organization (Swanson. The output could then shift to the number of decisions or the quality features of company meetings. These may include fixed.5). Quality features are the characteristics of products or services that meet agreed-on speciﬁcations. The process of specifying performance measures within the performance diagnosis contains three steps (see Figure 5. Quality features can be measured and estimated in value. services. They were as follows: The performance goals for the Shipping Department in the next six months are to (1) reduce Shipping overtime by 10 percent. In the workplace. and (2) reduce the inventory . Second is to select the appropriate measurable units of performance. usually observable. sundaes sold. Additional investigation may reveal that important decisions need to be made that are not being made in a timely manner because of poorly run meetings. sales. Finally. and ultimate disposition (Tribus. Quantity units are relatively easy to define and monitor in the organization. or other outcomes that result from the worker. Reductions in performance time usually yield important ﬁnancial consequences to the organizations (Swanson. Examples of such quantity units are the numbers of patents approved. but the “quantity” dimension is the only one that is restricted to counting the simple. marketing. or process performance. Quality features of a product or service typically revolve around design. In Acme International. if they differ. and indirect costs. Time is deﬁned here as the measurable interval between two events or the period during which some activity occurs. All four of the performance dimensions must be quantiﬁed. Quantity is a measure of the exact amount or number of products. there needs to be a simple conﬁrmation of the appropriateness of these units. manufacturing. team. 2001). variable. as measured by clock hours of overtime. clients served. 1985). customer education. performance is commonly measured in terms of time. the investigation resulted in units of performance along with the existing performance and desired output goal. service.68 Diagnosing Organizational Performance reducing the meeting time would be the appropriate performance measure. and sales earned. worker or work group outputs (Swanson. First is identifying the systems outputs of performance for the relevant organizational levels. procurement. 2001).
. investigation of the performance issue in terms of both performance level and performance taxonomy must take place. This performance measures information is combined with the earlier examination of performance variables so as to move on to the examination of performance needs. and/or individual) earlier in this chapter needs to be recalled.6 Determine performance needs steps Specify needs in terms of performance levels and taxonomy. improve. These misjudgments on the part of orga- Classify according to performance levels and taxonomy. and invent (review Figure 2. Knowing this. the Taxonomy of Performance lays out ﬁve tiers of performance: understand. The result of undisciplined jumping from one realm to another can result in performance improvement schizophrenia. Remember that each level can set out profoundly different perspectives. To determine performance needs. as measured by individual order errors in relation to those processed. This taxonomy is also divided into two general categories: maintaining the system and changing the system. Since almost all organizations have to engage in both maintaining and changing their systems—and are struggling with both—they regularly get them confused. operate.2). combined with the Taxonomy of Performance. Figure 5.6). troubleshoot. I have included three steps. They are to classify needs according to performance levels and taxonomy. I consistently observe organizations delivering support and resources at a lower performance level and expecting performance gains at a higher level. As you will recall. conﬁrm classiﬁcation of performance levels and taxonomy. team. For example. The discussion of levels (organizational process.The Performance Diagnosis Process 69 error rate by 3 percent. and specify needs in terms of performance levels and taxonomy (see Figure 5. allows a deeper understanding of the performance issue in question. Performance Needs To help you understand the dynamics of the performance needs phase of the organizational diagnosis. Confirm classification of performance levels and taxonomy. they may provide people only enough information to understand a system and then expect them to be able to operate and even troubleshoot the system.
and troubleshoot within the shipping process. and individual—will require attention. Once confirmed. operating. At the process level. The organizational level appears to require understanding of the shipping system and to improve the methods of managing cross-functional processes and the people working in them.1) shows the major components of diagnosis as presented throughout this chapter. At the individual level. For example. and a 10 percent increase in shipper overtime (from 5 percent to 15 percent). Included are a 7 percent increase in returned goods (from 5 percent to 12 percent). These estimates of performance levels (organizational. USING THE ORGANIZATIONAL DIAGNOSIS MODEL The ﬁve-phase model of performance diagnosis (Figure 5. . and/or individual). moving from the performance concern of change to the prerequisite issue of how to maintain may be the critical step in getting back to the concern for change. process. The performance taxonomy provides a lens that helps operationalize systems theory for those working in dynamic and complex organizations.70 Diagnosing Organizational Performance nizational decision makers are generally made without their realizing the built-in discrepancy between the performance interventions they choose and the performance expectations they desire. a quality improvement effort to “change the system” could hit a brick wall because there is not enough workforce expertise to “maintain the existing system”—a present performance problem that must be first addressed. the diagnostician can specify the needs in terms of levels of performance and appropriate taxonomy tiers. troubleshoot. In Acme International. this information resulted in the following articulation of performance needs: The company has been experiencing a number of disturbing and costly performance indicators over the past four months. and invent) must be conﬁrmed by data and key people as these data are fed back into the diagnostic process. for example. connected to the performance taxonomy (understand. All three levels of performance of the shipping function—organizational. Acme needs to reinstate the original work system in terms of understanding. operate. process. improve. and troubleshooting within the Shipping Department. Thus. a 3 percent increase in inventory error rate (from 3 percent to 6 percent). operate. Acme needs to develop the expertise required of Shipping Department employees to understand.
is an organization that manages health care services by bridging the gap between a number of parties. Performance and performance diagnosis are valued at HMI. and the speedy access to information for decision making with the promise of high-quality health care at lower costs. and valid. What is the solution? ■ Here is the problem. HMI works in a rapidly changing. Knowledge of the complete model helps ensure effectiveness. Doing so would be inefficient and impractical. a performance analysis by . the companies purchasing group health care coverage.The Performance Diagnosis Process 71 Figure 5. THE HEALTH MANAGEMENT. INC. The following case illustrates. reliable. for one performance issue the diagnostic model can result in a one-hour investigation. Thus. at a general level. Can you help? ■ Here is the problem.7 visually captures all the detail for each of the five major phases and records the key points. clear. and synthesis of the data are readily available. it may take a team of performance diagnosticians a month. using the basic five-phase model in one situation. Experience is the avenue to efﬁciency. Use this ﬁgure as a complete visual summary of this chapter. ■ We think we have a problem. Chapter 4 presented and discussed the reality of the boss confronting you with any of the following starting points of a performance diagnosis: ■ We don’t have a problem. can confidently speed through the process when the questions. and individual patients. and competitive industry. data. including the health care providers.. the analysis of information. complex. The core of its business is information. The analyst. and here is the solution! Each of these starting points plunks the analyst down at a different place in the diagnostic process and requires the analyst to move out accordingly in the ﬁve-step organizational diagnosis process so as to effectively and efficiently reach the last performance proposal step. CASE Health Management. In another. private and government health insurance organizations. (HMI). It is important to remember that not all of this model’s features are used all the time. Inc.
• Performance • Gap • Performance • Diagnosis • • Recommended Interventions Submit proposal for approval. Determine type of performance issue. • Performance Gap Construct Performance Improvement Proposal Draft proposal.Figure 5. • • • • • Understand Operate Troubleshoot Improve Invent Confirm classification of performance levels and taxonomy. • • • • Time Quantity Quality Cost Confirm units of performance. • • • • • Articulate Initial Purpose Mission/Goal • Key Question System Design Matrix Capacity Motivation Expertise Profile missing or flawed variables required for desired performance. • Things • Events Select appropriate measurable units of performance. • Person • Event • External Conditions • Present Problem • Improvement • Future Requirement • • • • • Issue • Type • Level(s) Organization Process Team Individual Collect additional data on performance variables. Forecast performance benefits.7 Overall process of diagnosing performance Assess Performance Variables Scan existing data in context of performance variables. • Key Question Matrix Specify needs in terms of performance levels and taxonomy. Performance • With Line Value Management Cost • To Upper Benefit Management . including performance diagnosis. Articulate purpose of performance diagnosis. Determine targeted level(s) of performance. • • • • • Mission/Goal System Design Capacity Motivation Expertise Specify Performance Measures Determine initial indicators of performance problem. Identify outputs for performance levels. • Management Approval • Existing Measurement System Determine Performance Needs Classify according to performance levels and taxonomy.
The team also includes the manager of R&D. read HMI’s annual report and the appropriate industry analysis section contained in the Value Line Investment Survey. The key players in this step included the CEO. . The next performance diagnosis tier—the tactical level of delving deeper into the information system and software options—was left to the two VPs and the two key managers referred to previously. From the discussion. HMI has developed a new macromanagement information system (MMIS) that will revolutionize the way it does its work. the company will pilot-test two of ﬁve software subsystems. The need for a performance diagnosis at the implementation level is the point of the consultant’s entry. along with the executive team. Ratings. which based its decision on a performance diagnosis of the health care industry. in preparation for the meeting. The software will be completed in six months. is called in by two HMI managers. and Reports. The pilot test will involve training and the rollout of two MMIS subsystems. As the conversation unfolds. who is responsible for overall performance improvement in HMI. performance-based training and become a member of the rollout team. with expertise in starting up new systems-oriented training. Recall the ﬁve components of performance diagnosis: ■ Articulate the initial purpose. Systems thinking is critical to understanding the journey to this point and the diagnosis of the MMIS rollout performance issue. at that time. The consultant’s job is to develop high-quality. and the VP of Operations. the consultant is assessing the people in the room as well as HMI. The Consultant’s Starting Point The consultant. who is responsible for MMIS. and the manager of Operations. a stock and industry analysis service. The two sources conﬁrmed each other. The consultant. while the managers are assessing him.The Performance Diagnosis Process 73 a consultant who is asked to join the HMI team as a major innovation rolls out. it is clear that there has been high-level performance diagnosis at the strategic level resulting in justification for developing MMIS. the VP of R&D. ■ Assess the performance variables. Every aspect of the business will be monitored and increasingly controlled through MMIS.
it seemed important to learn more about the system requirements. Closer inspection will likely reveal seventeen speciﬁc tasks. Furthermore. there will be a continuing need for new employee MMIS training and performance support and training. the organization has developed an internal four-part performance scorecard that is already in place.74 Diagnosing Organizational Performance ■ Specify the performance measures. ■ Determine the performance needs. external conditions are driving this total effort. Having the MMIS expert (the operations manager) and the performance improve- . an “event. Determine the Performance Needs Given this highly structured situation. Furthermore.” The performance issue is aimed at future MMIS performance requirements for almost all five hundred employees in the organization. a “thing. For example. Another requirement is to deliver training to multiple groups at twenty sites throughout a six-state region. about six of the specific tasks are already being used by employees in the existing system. Assess the Performance Variables The team approach is a major clue that HMI understands that training alone will not ensure the successful start-up of MMIS. ■ Construct a performance improvement proposal. MMIS is a major change in the core business process with speciﬁc expertise required at different job levels. with three to four tasks within each of the five MMIS components. and all employees need to know how to “operate” at least one of the five different MMIS program subcomponents.” and the start-up of MMIS. Articulate the Initial Purpose The performance improvement consultant already has a fair amount of information about the initial purpose and other diagnostic questions. which revolves around MMIS. all employees need to know basic “operation” of the MMIS system. since HMI is growing rapidly. Finally. In addition. The Taxonomy of Performance and its ﬁve levels helped establish the need for MMIS “understanding” the level of expertise among all ﬁve hundred employees.
capacity. General modules will be prepared with an eye toward mediabased self-instruction. Construct a Performance Improvement Proposal The performance proposal begins to take form from the diagnosis. motivation. Specialized modules will be structured for group classroom training and follow-up. not just the consultant. It is also important to collect objective data from a number of sources in context of the ﬁve performance variables (mission/goal. system design. The training will necessarily be packaged in stand-alone modules that can be combined as required by job roles and by individual employees. Specify the Performance Measures To a fault. open-ended. and expertise) about the present performance and the future performance at various levels in the organization and at various locations. The system rollout will include local managers as partners in its management and training delivery. in-person interviews with selected employees should be followed up by a quick but systematic employee survey. . HMI has performance measures. The workplace expertise required of the MMIS modules and job holders must be analyzed. The four-part performance scorecard being touted by the executive management team is very specific and will continue to be used as the performance measure template. A mock trial of these two based on the key question matrix would peel back some of the roadblocks to performance. Accurate and timely data for the purpose of making sound decisions are the recurring theme. and individual levels to see whether they are pulling in the same direction. it should be carefully reviewed. The new MMIS introduction is a good time to revisit the connectedness of the existing and planned measures at the organizational. To do this. It comes from all three members of the rollout team. process. The specific media and presentation options will be chosen based on the financial forecasts.The Performance Diagnosis Process 75 ment consultant work together makes sense. on-the-job training. Therefore. The major portion of the proposal will be training that is enveloped in a management support system at rollout time.
When all is said and done. b. five hundred employees need to develop very specific workplace expertise.7 provides an overall visual summary of the five-step performance diagnosis process. b. d. and key points within each substep. True or false? 2. Mission and Expertise. 3. To do this.76 Diagnosing Organizational Performance Summary Comment The purpose of this case is to paint a picture of orderliness in the middle of a complex and high-pressure organization. Levels and Domains. are always evident. remain constant when thinking about the Taxonomy of Performance levels. Performance needs a. d. A performance improvement proposal a. c 5. c. b. answer the following questions: 1. Variables and Levels. d . the substeps within each. the rollout of MMIS must work. provides a summary of the diagnosis. are an optional concern. can be thought of in terms of performance gaps. b. d. Looking at this ﬁgure. c. are related to the organization mission/goal. are always expressed in terms of quality. ✓ CHECKPOINT 䊐 Figure 5. c. 4. True 2. c 4. They are a. are illusive. c. makes a ﬁnancial forecast. All the above Answers: 1. The Performance Diagnosis Matrix has two axes. and their managers must create the conditions to ensure improved performance. The Articulate the Initial Purpose phase serves to focus the performance improvement effort. 5. a 3. cannot be easily converted into ﬁnancial worth. d. Variables and Domains. speciﬁes an intervention. Performance outputs a.
The Performance Diagnosis Process 77 CONCLUSION It should be easy to see that the information required to conduct a performance diagnosis is not available in a predictable manner. Other information may not exist at all and should. Your job is to obtain the key information as effectively and efficiently as possible and to engage as many people in the organization in the process so as to gain credibility and acceptance. to suggest a precise sequence to the process is not realistic. Some will be held captive by individuals in the organization for either political or proprietary reasons. The next two chapters discuss performance improvement proposals and data collection methods. The data collected in the diagnostic process are analyzed as needed to move the process along to the final phase of diagnosing performance—developing the performance improvement proposal. Thus. respectively. This is the challenge. . Some critical information will be waiting for you as you begin your investigation.
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The performance improvement proposal is the ﬁfth and ﬁnal step of the performance diagnosis process (see Figure 5. intervention options and recommendations. marketing. and sales maintain their vital contributions to the organization by developing plans of action to improve organizational performance. and then by carrying out the plans. reengineering. by gaining approval for their plans.1). The proposal provides an overview of the performance gap. quality improvement. an important outcome of a performance diagnosis is a formal performance improvement proposal. Human resource development. and performance technology specialists should act no differently. and forecasted benefits.6 Constructing a Performance Improvement Proposal Process of Constructing a Performance Improvement Proposal Elements of a Performance Improvement Proposal Process of Assessing Financial Beneﬁts Sample Performance Improvement Proposal Conclusion O rganizational specialists in areas like product research. For this reason. Chapter 5 covered 79 . The purpose of this chapter is to help you gain organizational approval for your performance improvement intervention. an analysis of the performance variables.
The data for each substep come directly out of the performance diagnosis process. operate. The first two steps help the analyst organize the information for the purpose of creating an effective and brief proposal that can move forward in the organization.4) help focus the intervention selection. capacity. you should have a working knowledge of a wide variety of improvement interventions to draw upon.1 Constructing a performance improvement proposal Submit proposal for approval. Furthermore. The basic promise of improving performance pushes the diag- Draft proposal.80 Diagnosing Organizational Performance the ﬁrst four steps.1). and then submitting the proposal for approval. . process. systems design. Figure 6. Special attention in this chapter is given to forecasting the beneﬁts from the proposed performance improvement investment. PROCESS OF CONSTRUCTING A PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT PROPOSAL The process of constructing a performance improvement proposal includes three substeps (see Figure 6. and invent) that require change only if doing so enhances the clarity of the proposal. team and/or individual) and the tiers of the Taxonomy of Performance (understand. Forecast performance benefits. In the performance improvement proposal phase. The performance improvement interventions specified in the proposal should address the performance need and goal as well as the performance variables (mission/goals. including performance diagnosis. Your job is to choose and present appropriate information for the purpose of helping the organization make a sound investment decision. you should not generate additional information. which provide the diagnostic information required for the proposal. and expertise). improve. While your responses to the questions about performance variables and performance levels (see Figure 5. troubleshoot. the proposal should not display everything you know about the performance issue. The ﬁrst is drafting the proposal (including the performance diagnosis). next is forecasting the performance benefits. You should refer to the organizational performance levels (organizational. motivation.
Nonetheless. the performance goal of the organization. process. It can be expressed in the form of performance .Constructing a Performance Improvement Proposal 81 nostician back to the performance requirements and toward appropriate interventions. While most improvement efforts are claimed to be based on up-front analysis. This will show the distance from the present performance to the performance after the approval of the proposal and implementation of the intervention.” are unconnected to the ingredients necessary for achieving organizational success. The central objective of accurately determining performance requirements is achieving congruence between the present performance. whether or not their stated purpose is to “improve performance. Performance Diagnosis A performance issue is carefully speciﬁed at the individual. and/ or organizational level. in practice we ﬁnd many programs being implemented that are based on superﬁcial. ELEMENTS OF A PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT PROPOSAL At a minimum. Put a measurable performance stake in the ground along with a promise of improvement. routine analysis activity that barely scratches the surface of the systematic diagnosis of performance described in Chapter 5. a performance improvement proposal should address four major elements: ■ Performance gap ■ Performance diagnosis ■ Recommended interventions ■ Forecasted beneﬁts Performance Gap The proposal for performance improvement is founded on the premise that the program you are proposing is in response to a carefully determined performance requirement. and the performance improvement effort. a majority of today’s development programs. Performance improvement cannot occur in a vacuum.
team. or environment (systems design) to perform.82 Diagnosing Organizational Performance goals or as gaps between present and desired performance. I have found that using the five performance variables (mission/goal. framing the diagnosis in terms of (1) a present problem. p. process. Juran. For example. the harmony among the four performance levels—organizational. (2) radically revised (Davenport. and interact with. At the end of the twentieth century. 1983) or (2) leadership (Kouzes & Posner. 1987. Tenner & DeToro. Each of these performance levels provides a means of understanding the performance issues. team. motivation. Wheatley. the process and team levels took center stage.. Scholars and practitioners then pointed out that performance determinants (variables) are not totally independent and that “training competes with and interacts with better selection and enhanced motivation as strategies for improving productivity through higher individual performance” (Campbell et al. capacity. 178). Thus. with efforts at improvement being classiﬁed as (1) incremental (Harrington. 1992) as the basis of performance improvement. 1990. This approach allows . 1984. The overall organization performance perspective tends to focus on (1) strategic planning (Kotter. or (3) future performance is important. or performance expectations (goals) are not clearly deﬁned in the ﬁrst place. 1992. 1980) focused attention on the importance of systematically examining the cause(s) of individual-level performance problems. performance diagnosis (Gilbert. they choose (motivation) not to perform. 1996. 1992. individual performance problems can be attributed to low aptitude. equipment. As recommended earlier. employees fail to meet performance expectations for a number of reasons: they do not have the aptitude (capacity) to perform. systems design. Hammer & Champy. Tichy. Historically. in terms of effective communication. 1988. a lack of motivation and incentives. 2002. the individual. they do not have the proper tools. and it should be central to the mission of the organization. beyond lack of knowledge or skill (which is most often addressed by training). Yet. 1993). Your performance improvement frame needs to be communicated in the proposal. 1997). Harless. and a poor work environment. and expertise) as the framework for presenting the analysis findings works best. To reiterate. and organizational performance levels. and individual—is critical for successful performance improvement efforts. 1993). or (3) totally reengineered (Brache. Modifying processes has an impact on. Mager & Pipe. (2) improvement.
e. ■ Capacity. Employees are underutilized. capacity. ■ Systems design. the shipping supervisors arbitrarily altered their job tasks and those of the shippers. training. Employees want to do a good job. the performance gap between what is and what should be. Over the years. performance in the workplace is multifaceted. with only one of two shipping supervisors on the job. the Shipping Department has been seriously understaffed. ■ Expertise. Each relevant performance variable identified in the performance diagnosis (i. systems design. the following ﬁve performance variable statements were identiﬁed in the performance diagnosis: Performance Variables—Shipping Department ■ Mission/goal. yet they are cautious about being made scapegoats. and expertise) should be considered in choosing performance improvement interventions. proposed performance improvement interventions almost always need to be multidimensional. But there seems to be no understanding of the negative impact that small process decisions are having on the well-being of the company and the employees. ■ Motivation. Most shippers have the aptitude to understand the shipping systems and to complete the shipping tickets. mission/goal. Only the hospitalized supervisor has the expertise to complete order tickets. Both the company and the individuals clearly are concerned about surviving and prospering.. Even so. such adversarial conditions do not exist within the Shipping Department. As explained earlier. Adversarial relationships between departments make it hard to admit limitations. For example. to achieve the performance goals of Acme’s Shipping Department. or better compensation.Constructing a Performance Improvement Proposal 83 the analyst to profile. . Recommended Interventions Most performance needs critical for organizational success cannot be adequately addressed by one-dimensional interventions such as adding new technology. Thus. In the last several months. motivation. substantively and succinctly.
Apart from this added value of the gains in units of performance. ineffective and inefficient intervention options for improving the Shipping Department’s performance could have risen to the surface. Forecasted Beneﬁts The concept of beneﬁts is an extension of performance gains. 2001): ■ Appropriateness to the organizational culture and tradition ■ Availability of the intervention ■ Perceived quality of the intervention design ■ Prior effectiveness of the same or a similar intervention ■ Cost of the intervention ■ Expected beneﬁt to the organization Without these criteria. Video training for just a few employees on a task best taught in the work setting would not meet the criteria. as I would for any other business investment. availability. An effective performance improvement intervention will close the gap between the present level of performance (actual) and the required level of performance (goal). In nearly all cases. Performance values. an interactive training video for the shippers could gain some supporters of media and innovation. and beneﬁts can be discussed in both monetary and nonmonetary terms. The benefit is arrived at through the simple process of subtracting the cost from the performance value (Swanson. I recommend a financial forecast for every performance improvement proposal. For example. but the opposite is not necessarily true. . The selection of appropriate interventions for the required performance improvement should be made and defended on the following criteria (Swanson. An analyst who can talk in monetary terms can also talk in nonmonetary terms. proposals for performance improvements important to the business will likely include multidimensional interventions. there are costs for obtaining a level of performance. Yet it would be precluded almost outright by the appropriateness. and cost criteria. costs. And there will likely be a number of intervention options to choose from. 2001).84 Diagnosing Organizational Performance Note that only one of the performance factors for the Shipping Department—expertise—can be addressed exclusively by training. Any performance can be given a value.
The net income from each tour is $40. The second option. on-the-job training. a self-instructional package. The trainee-volunteers who participate in this HRD program will conduct two tram tours (on their own) during the second week. These trainee-volunteers will perform no tours on their own during the two-week training period. and operation manual. script. What is the forecasted ﬁnancial beneﬁt resulting from a intervention (before-the-fact assessment based on estimated ﬁnancial data)? Tram Ride Learning Case The tram ride case is used here to build a conceptual understanding of the ﬁnancial beneﬁt assessment method. No volunteers have previously been entrusted with this job. Would it be economically more beneﬁcial to the zoo to train the volunteers by having them learn about the tram tours from experienced staff on the job. consists of a specially prepared map. You are the HRD coordinator for the City Zoo.Constructing a Performance Improvement Proposal 85 PROCESS OF ASSESSING FINANCIAL BENEFITS Assessing ﬁnancial beneﬁts of performance improvement development interventions is quite easy once you have mastered the specific techniques. It requires four hours of unstructured training time spread over two weekends for each trainee-volunteer. The Basic Financial Assessment Model is as follows: Performance Value (performance value resulting from the intervention) – Cost (cost of the intervention) Beneﬁt (beneﬁt is the performance value minus the cost) The financial question in the performance improvement proposal is. each of whom would lead two tram tours per weekend. consists of trainees simply riding along with experienced operators until they are fully trained. The purpose of this section is to overview and illustrate the process. . which each of the volunteers will study for three to four hours as their first weekend commitment to their new volunteer job. or would it be more beneﬁcial to have them use a self-instructional package? The first option. They will be fully trained at the end of the first week. The board wants ten trained volunteers. The zoo’s board of directors would like to make better use of the zoo’s valuable volunteers by having them conduct tram tours on weekends. and you must now decide between what you believe are reasonable HRD program options.
The City Zoo has been running tram rides for several years. the zoo tram can be viewed as a “business” within a business in that it is a fairly self-contained system. It was obtained from the zoo’s financial manager. or systems involved. it is not generally known by those working directly with the zoo tram. Assume that at the end of either program. The unit of performance and the performance goal is on the vertical axis—two tram rides per weekend for each of the trained volunteers.2). The average income for each tram ride is known to be $40. Forecasting ﬁnancial beneﬁts helps influence organization investment decisions early on and helps developers be viewed as business partners—proactive and strategic. they are ready to perform. This method helps performance improvement professionals speak to decision makers about the forecasted estimate of the effects of an intervention on system performance and the financial consequences. it is clear that a com- pleted tram tour is the appropriate unit of performance and that the two HRD program options for volunteer tram operators are on-thejob training and a self-instructional package. the goal of both HRD intervention options is the same: being able to conduct two tram tours per weekend. Another factor to keep in mind is the number of individual performers. For the tram ride. In this example. Performance Value. who keeps records of income from various zoo operations. on the third weekend. groups. a total of ten .86 Diagnosing Organizational Performance It is not the point of this case to argue whether these two options are the best interventions for the situation or whether they will actually do the job. with zoo visitors paying an extra charge to ride the tram. Forecasts can be in the context of a particular intervention or the relative ﬁnancial beneﬁts between intervention options. From the case description. The horizontal time axis illustrates the fact that the self-instructional package gets volunteers to learn what they need to know in one week and that they are then able to conduct tram rides the second week. each participating volunteer will be fully trained and able to conduct tram tours on his or her own. the on-the-job training requires two weekends of riding along with an expert tram operator. In comparison. A tram ride time performance graph helps visualize the forecasting situation (Figure 6. and while the staff has this ﬁnancial information. Financial forecasting is proactive and a part of the performance improvement up-front analysis and proposing phases. Furthermore.
Constructing a Performance Improvement Proposal 87
Performance in Units
Figure 6.2 Tram ride time performance graph
volunteers will participate in the development program. Thus, individual performer gains need to be multiplied by 10.
The time performance graph illustrates that fact that all traineevolunteers begin the program with zero tram expertise (zero performance). None have been exposed to the tram ride job before this
occasion. Neither program option results in trainee-produced performance during their development periods. Note that an expert driver is
operating the tram as the trainee-volunteer rides along. Every tram ride
performed during the on-the-job training program is credited to the
skilled operator, not the trainee-volunteer. There is no added performance value in having the trainee along, and, in this situation (unlike
most other HRD situations), there is no anticipated reduction in the
performance of the skilled operator.
The numbers will be as follows, and with each assessment method,
the self-instructional package will be determined financially as being
the best option.
88 Diagnosing Organizational Performance
The unstructured on-the-job training option has a two-week development period during which no trainees conduct tram tours. The selfinstructional package option has a one-week development period
during which no volunteers conduct tram tours. These times to competence are judgments made by the HRD professional based on the complexity of the subject matter to be mastered and, in this tram case, the
logistics of getting trainees and expert operators together for the onthe-job option. On-the-job training was estimated to take two weeks
and the self-instructional package to take one week. The longest development period between the two options is two weeks, and the units of
performance during that time for both options are noted. In this case,
the self-instructional package volunteers conduct two tours during the
two-week assessment period. The on-the-job volunteers conduct zero
tours during the two-week assessment period.
Two tours per volunteer at $40 each, times 10 volunteers, would
add up to $800. This is the forecasted total performance value for the
self-instructional package option during the two-week assessment
period. (There is a forecast of zero tours and $0 performance value for
the on-the-job training option program during the two-week development period.)
Cost. Forecasting the direct financial cost of HRD interventions re-
quires a costing template that is backed up with experience or some
price data gathering. All HRD departments should have a defined
process (e.g., analyze, propose, create, implement, assess; analyze, design, develop, implement, evaluate; etc.) and steps within those
processes. Various cost categories revolve around the performance improvement process. For the tram ride case, adding up the forecasted
component costs for the self-instructional package resulted in a cost of
$300. In comparison, there are no direct intervention costs for the unstructured on-the-job training option.
Beneﬁt. Forecasting the ﬁnancial beneﬁts is a simple subtraction problem. The forecasted performance value minus the forecasted cost results in the forecasted ﬁnancial beneﬁt. The $800 forecasted two-week
period performance gain from the self-instructional program minus the
$300 forecasted cost of the program yields a forecasted $500 benefit
for the two-week period. The no-cost, unstructured, on-the-job option
forecasted no direct cost and no performance value during the same
two-week assessment period. Please note, however, that this case in-
Constructing a Performance Improvement Proposal 89
volves very short-range thinking—two weeks. If the zoo is open fifty
weeks of the year and if the volunteers conduct twenty tours per weekend at $40 each, the net performance value for the year for each option would be close to $40,000. The only forecasted bad decision in
this case would be not to recruit, develop, and use the volunteers.
The purpose of the preceding section was to give an overview of
the general process of assessing financial benefits and to illustrate the
assessment options through a simple tram ride case example.
SAMPLE PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT PROPOSAL
This last section includes a sample performance improvement proposal
(Figure 6.3). This proposal is for Acme International—the case study
company that has been discussed in earlier chapters. You should not be
surprised by the content of the proposal. You may be surprised by its
brevity and that the raw data are not presented.
Proposals should be brief and to the point. Of course, backup documentation should be readily available that is organized and that elaborates on or supports key points. A cover letter for the proposal may tell a
bit more about that backup information and the key people who contributed to the effort, as well as the process used to get to the proposal.
There are two ways to communicate the results of a performance diagnosis to the decision makers: through face-to-face presentations and
written performance improvement proposals. Both are generally required to gain organizational commitment. The presentation may be
most powerful in gaining approval, while the proposal is the contract.
The written proposal is the lasting agreement and documentation of
the diagnosis phase of performance improvement.
90 Diagnosing Organizational Performance
Director, Distribution Division
Manager, Performance Improvement and Head, Shipping Department
Performance Improvement Proposal—Shipping Department
Performance Requirements: Company
The company has been experiencing a number of disturbing and costly
performance indicators over the past four months. Included are a 7% increase in
returned goods (from 5% to 12%), a 3% increase in inventory error rate (from 3%
to 6%), and a 10% increase in shipper overtime (from 5% to 15%). A thorough
performance analysis has identiﬁed speciﬁc performance needs in each of the
departments, the division management team, and the company. This proposal is
for the Shipping Department and the actions/programs management and training
will need to take to improve the performance of the company.
Performance Goal: Shipping Department
The performance goals for the Shipping Department in the next six months are to
(1) reduce shipping overtime by 10%, as measured by clock hours of overtime,
and (2) reduce the inventory error rate by 3%, as measured by individual order
errors in relation to those processed.
Performance Diagnosis: Shipping Department
1. Mission/goal: Both the company and individuals clearly are concerned about
surviving and prospering. While these common goals need to be harmonized, the
individual “survival goals” seem to be predominant at this time and negatively
affecting the company. This performance concern is being addressed by the
Total Quality Management Proposal that has recently been endorsed by the
2. Systems design: The department is seriously understaffed, with only one of
two shipping supervisors being on the job. The second supervisor has been out
for ﬁve months with a major illness and will not be returning to work. In addition,
informally and over time, job roles and duties in the department have become
redeﬁned, reduced, and isolated.
3. Capacity: Employees are underutilized. Most shippers have the aptitude to
understand the shipping system and how to complete the shipping tickets.
4. Motivation: Adversarial relationships between departments make it hard to
admit limitations. Employees want to do a good job yet are cautious about being
5. Expertise: Only the hospitalized supervisor has the expertise to complete
order tickets. The shippers do not have a systems perspective of the company or
their department. The legitimate seat cover substitution task occurs infrequently,
is complex, and requires orderly problem-solving skills.
Intervention Options: Shipping Department
1. Replace shipping supervisor.
2. Specify job roles and responsibilities of shipping personnel (four categories).
Figure 6.3 Acme International Performance Improvement Proposal
Constructing a Performance Improvement Proposal 91
3. Train two shipping supervisors on tasks of communication, delegation, and
4. Train all twenty-four shipping personnel to understand the shipping system.
5. Train twenty shippers to complete seat cover order tickets.
6. Train shipping department head and two shipping supervisors on a team
problem-solving method for making seat cover substitutions.
Recommended Performance Improvement Intervention
It is recommended that all six of the options listed above be implemented.
Replacing the supervisor (element #1) requires managerial action and is not
an added cost. The same is true of specifying the shipping jobs (element #2).
All training will be structured training. Corporate will be responsible for the
supervisor training (element #3). The Acme training coordinator will facilitate the
development and delivery of the shipping system, order ticket, and substitution
problem-solving training programs. All the shipper training will take place on
overtime (elements #4 to #6).
1. Replace shipping supervisor: division director and shipping head hire
supervisor in next thirty days.
2. Specify job roles and responsibilities of shipping personnel: shipping head
and shipping supervisor write and approve speciﬁcations in next fourteen days.
3. Train two shipping supervisors on tasks of communication, delegation, and
coaching: Training coordinator negotiates with Corporate HRD for their services
to meet this need. Supervisor training will take place at corporate. The new
supervisor will work on the job for one week, attend the training at Corporate,
return and work with the present supervisor for one week, and then the present
supervisor will attend corporate training. Travel and expense costs will be incurred.
4. Train all twenty-four shipping personnel to understand the shipping system:
training coordinator does the development of a one- to two-hour training
program to be delivered by department head and trainer.
5. Train twenty shippers to complete seat cover order tickets: training coordinator does the development of a two- to four-hour training program to be
delivered by supervisors and trainer.
6. Train Shipping Department head and three shipping supervisors on a team
problem-solving method (for solving operational problems, such as seat cover
substitutions): training coordinator does the development of a two-hour training
program to be delivered by supervisors and trainer.
Conﬁrm the completion of elements #1 and #2; determine trainee satisfaction
and learning resulting from each training program, #3 to #6; and conduct a
twelve-month follow-up on overtime and inventory error.
Financial Analysis (detailed breakdown available)
Performance Value (resulting from program in twelve months)
– Cost (of program)
Beneﬁt (from program in twelve months)
Figure 6.3 Acme International Performance Improvement Proposal (continued)
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communication. Moreover. I have found that analyzing organizations from a process perspective has great utility. They are the way things are 93 . and ﬁnance. While these and other perspectives are worthy. A process can be thought of as a systematic series of “actions” directed to some speciﬁed end. inside the organization. Some examples include analyzing organizations from the perspectives of power.7 Documenting and Improving Work Processes Introduction to Documenting and Improving Work Processes Identiﬁcation of a Process to Be Improved Documenting the Present Work Process Improving the Work Process Tips for the Analyst Conclusion T here are many ways to think about and analyze organizations. politics. not person centered. Processes as a focal point for organizations is basic to organizational understanding in the twenty-first century. Processes are just there. Organizational processes are inanimate. shared meaning. processes are the least threatening place to start in terms of detailed analysis.
efﬁcient or inefﬁcient—and have evolved over time with input from people at various levels.94 Diagnosing Organizational Performance done—good or bad. INTRODUCTION TO DOCUMENTING AND IMPROVING WORK PROCESSES The notion of continuously improving organizational processes has become deeply ingrained in organizations through the quality movement. It is important to remember that analysis for improving performance will invariably surface issues that organizational members will attribute to individuals. Figure 7. and improved. Although varying in approaches. Process: Process improvement methodologies are utilized to examine and improve work processes. The methodologies and tools of process improvement have generally proven to be quite effective. . Revise work process. organizational processes to achieve those goals are identified and become the candidates for process improvement. Document existing work process. Eliminating the blame and credit game allows people to set personality and job role agendas to the side (at minimum. Focusing on documenting and improving work processes is central to the challenge of improving performance. Two problems with process improvement endeavors is that they often lack controls to ensure that process improvement resources are being focused on core processes. all of the quality systems support the core ideas that processes should be identiﬁed. They carry the brilliant and flawed logic of the organization. without attributing the credit for either to anyone. effective or ineffective. and they often have weak links to specifying and developing the expertise required to function in the process.1 Documenting and improving work processes steps Review and approve revised work process. continuously managed. Inputs: After identifying performance goals for the organization. Figure 7.1 is a general model of documenting and improving work processes. Review and verify existing process steps. to dilute them). Select existing work process.
For example. team. or individual) to . it became painfully clear that the company was lacking so much basic work expertise that improving the work processes had to wait. the project shifted to detailing and developing core expertise. Indicators that a process is not working. process. Another example: I was working with one organization at the mission and work process levels. In this case. this is being done in organizations all the time. While working on performance improvement efforts you may find yourself moving from one performance realm (organization. sometimes the wrong level is targeted.Documenting and Improving Work Processes 95 Outputs: The outcomes are work process changes that maximize the likelihood of effectively and efﬁciently achieving organizational and work process goals. Assuring that the present work process is effective and efﬁcient is a critical aspect of performance improvement. The diagnosis at this level points to the problem or opportunity area without engaging in full-blown documentation of the work process. Process performance issues will surface through this level of analysis. and individual levels of performance. We found in the Acme International example that the process of fulﬁlling orders had never really been fully documented. IDENTIFICATION OF A PROCESS TO BE IMPROVED Processes that require attention and improvement should be identiﬁed through the organizational performance diagnosis. The determination that the shipping work process needed to be documented and improved was based on the performance diagnosis. it was determined that the work process needed to be improved prior to detailing the required expertise. process. and that the supervisors and workers had created a work process that they felt comfortable with. and that there will be a payoff from work process improvement. In this case. that the management’s perception of what the work process system was did not exist in the workplace. but it was both inefﬁcient and ineffective. and as the process documentation began to form. While there is direct interplay among the organization. can be gained before investing in full documentation. and proposals for improving work processes should be highlighted in the performance improvement proposal. developing the expertise to work in an ineffective and inefficient work process does not make sense. which was then followed by process improvement. Yet. team.
the sales process was a core work process requiring revision and realignment in relation to the business goal and the workforce expertise. went to a Chase ATM. conditions vary and expert judgments about the tools and the timing of their use must be made. Health Care Insurance Case The case study reported here is a major health care insurance provider company in the United States. This report of ATM banking at Chase profiles a clear case of bad processes. While working.00 service charge on my account. The only reliable aspect to the process was that every Chase employee that I made contact with in the next 24 hours apologized and not a single one of them was capable or willing to help me in any way. got a receipt. In this case. The need for this total effort was fully clariﬁed in a thorough performance improvement proposal based on a rigorous analysis method. The general steps of this performance diagnosis process included (1) articulating initial purpose. The business goal was focused on increasing sales in a changing and competitive environment. but the reality is that this book presents a large set of professional tools that are sequenced under ideal conditions. (3) . During a recent trip across the USA. Each employee of Chase that I talked to claimed the problem belonged to someone else. Come to find out that the Chase ATM is not even managed by Chase and this process is totally disconnected from the Chase drive-in banking process 10 feet away. Besides losing my card. I needed cash. and that both of these processes are disconnected from the Chase lobby bank system 75 feet away. and then the troubles began. got my cash. and spent time ordering a replacement bankcard. The ATM kept my card and to my best knowledge the machine shredded it Chase has never followed up with me even after about two dozen phone calls. Chase Bank—A Case of Bad Processes I travel quite a bit and world-banking systems have made it very convenient.96 Diagnosing Organizational Performance another as the situation unfolds. I had a $4. This may sound unsystematic. what a surprise to have the Chase drive-up ATM banking system stripped back to reveal the absurdity of processes and lack of customer service. This case clearly illustrates the need for new approaches to analyzing and building workplace expertise in dynamic competitive environments. (2) assessing the performance variables.
A major conclusion was that the existing sales process was incapable of meeting the strategic business goals of timeliness and quality features necessary to retain market share. opportunities.Documenting and Improving Work Processes 97 specifying the performance measures. A summary of the up-front analysis data was reported back to senior management through the cells created by the Performance Diagnosis Matrix of enabling questions used in this diagnosis phase (Figure 7.2 Sample process ﬂowchart no Action . (4) determining the performance needs. and which steps must happen before others can occur. the roles in the process needed to be clarified.2) is to create a graphic or visual representation of a Start Choice yes Action no Action Choice yes End Figure 7. Thus. the process steps (what’s happening and in what sequence). and the expertise required to carry out the roles within the process needed to be deﬁned and in place. and solutions. the sales process needed to be signiﬁcantly improved.3). The data from these cells in context of the strategic business goals were used as a basis for uncovering existing system sales performance problems. and (5) constructing an improvement proposal (see Chapter 6). it is essential to understand its scope or how big it is. DOCUMENTING THE PRESENT WORK PROCESS In analyzing a work process. The purpose of a ﬂowchart (Figure 7.
3 Performance Diagnosis Matrix for health care new business managers (NBMs) Inconsistent—NBM/CM separation creates conﬂicting incentives. and morale is low. Are the work goals of individuals congruent with the organization’s? Does the organization system provide structure and policies supporting the desired performance? Partially—However. Does the process provide the required information? Is the process motivating for the workforce? No—Supporting processes. Capacity Does the organization have the leadership. Does the process have the capacity to perform re quantity. and time line requirements? No—Suboptimization is occurring due to inefﬁcient and ineffective supporting processes. Does the individual want to perform no matter what? Do the selection and training policies and resources enable the desired performance? Partially—No clear competency criteria has existed in the past. and reward systems support the desired performance? No—Policies and culture. . political. Yes—But high performers are taxed by unrealistic sales goals. Is the expertise required by the process continuously determined and developed? No—A process orientation is just emerging. Does the job design enable the individual to perform as required by the process? Yes—However.Performance Levels Performance Variables Organization Level Sales Process Individual New Business Manager Does the organization mission/performance goals ﬁt the reality of the economic. capital. Mission/ Goal System Design Expertise Figure 7. physical. the compensation system supports NBM/CM separation. which impedes performance. Is the process designed in a logical and systematic way? No—Poor service processes and information systems interfere with high performance. Communication and change management from home ofﬁce is poor. and cultural forces? No—Economic. quality. NBM/CM separation impedes long-term productivity. Does the individual have the knowledge. No—Political. Do the process goals enable organization and job level goals to be met? Partially—A process orientation is emerging. Does the individual have the mental. clear NBM/CM separation is not possible or desirable in all sales ofﬁces. culture. and expertise to perform? Partially—Level of competency among individuals varies. some training deﬁciencies exist. skills. Motivation Do the policies. and emotional capacity to perform? For normal conditions it is assumed so. including systems. lack integrity. and infrastructure to achieve its mission/goals? No—Infrastructure is inadequate. No—Cultural.
and their meanings continue to grow and change depending on who uses them. it increases the understanding level of a process. The use of ﬂowcharts provides signiﬁcant beneﬁts. In short. decisions. Flow Line Lines indicate the sequence of steps and the direction of ﬂow.2 is a simple ﬂowchart. The process step categories include inputs.Documenting and Improving Work Processes 99 work process. people logically deviate from these standards to suit their own needs. Connector Indicates that the ﬂow continues where a matching symbol (containing the same letter) has been placed. SmartDraw Flowcharting Center: Suite Edition). Delay Indicates a delay in the process. Input/Output Represents material or information entering or leaving the system. and more. It usually contains the word Start or End. Decision A decision or branching point.g. feedback.. it must be understood in its present state. The key to ﬂowcharting is consistency. A few years ago. Simple computer software programs make the documentation of this work quite easy (e. Although standards have been established. I led a management team in documenting their core business process. Figure 7. Fundamentally. It was extremely difficult to get past the ﬁrst few steps because most of the people in the room had . Merge Indicates a step where two or more sublists or subprocesses become one. Document A printed document or report. conversions. One presentation of ﬂowcharting symbols used to document work processes is as follows: Start/End The terminator symbol marks the starting or ending point of the system. I have some hesitation in presenting flowcharting symbols since they are dynamic. before any work process improvement can be performed. such as customer order (input) or a product (output). The end result—a process flowchart—is a clearer picture of what changes are needed. a standard ﬂowchart is an articulated and meaningful set of lines and symbols. outputs. Lines representing different decisions emerge from different points of the diamond. Action or Process A box can represent a single step (“add two cups of ﬂour”) or an entire subprocess (“make bread”) within a larger process. For starters.
the new business manager (NBM) is primarily responsible for the oversight of this step with input from the client manager (CM). Of those.5). Flowcharting also brings into existence a common understanding. and when responsibility is shared by more than one individual. Also. three job roles are engaged in step 31. observations. This information is useful when a process has dozens of steps. and labels. The two major axes of the integrated ﬂowchart are the jobs (people) working in the process and the steps in the work process. Not only do these types of flowcharts show the process flow. The resulting integrated ﬂowchart from the multisource data—an integration of the steps within the process and the people that work in the process—brings the process and the people working in the process to the fore. structured method for describing an organizational process(es) in an integrated. lines. and organizational records). The process flow is revealed through this effort. questionnaires. A separate time-sensitive longitudinal ﬂowchart of each of the seventy-nine steps is also produced (Figure 7. For example. Integrated ﬂowcharts can identify which worker (job) or department is performing the greatest number of steps in the work process. Integrated Flowchart for the Health Care Insurance Case The existing sales process in the health care insurance case was documented and found to be a seventy-nine-step process spread over nine job categories.100 Diagnosing Organizational Performance different understandings about the core work process that they worked with day in and day out. such as is the case when part of the work process ﬂows back and forth too often and unnecessarily. semantic and interpretive differences are overcome. The original work process data can be derived using the data collection methods outlined in Chapter 8 (interviews. The bold X against the NBM role for step 31 indicates responsibility. each step from the integrated flowchart is coded against all the job roles directly involved in that step. but they also reflect which individual has responsibility for each process step. As you can see in Figure 7. when steps transcend multiple departments.4. By creating a picture with symbols. . graphic document format. It is an invaluable tool for performance improvement professionals. Integrated Flowcharts Integrated ﬂowchart documentation is a systematic. convoluted paths are identiﬁed.
) X X ፨ X X X X X X X 32. 8.Workers and Their Roles in the Process 1. X X ፨ X 33 Send letter to customer following up on implementation process. (Comment: For management training. and service? (If no. X nonbold means contributor. Implementation and Account Management Subprocess Steps 25 Assign service representative to case or 26 Request case manager from BSC for the case 2. 35 Monitor service process. MGMT NBM PSS ፨ X ፨ X X Process Measure: Number of times ______ capability is not in sync with customer’s requirements of cost. review presale ﬁle. go to 15 and 16. 3. • 5. and underwriting rates. product. X ፨ X ፨ X ፨ X X X X X X ፨ X X ፨ X ፨ X X X + This activity could occur anytime from this point on. • 32 Conduct implementation meeting. X X ፨ X ፨ X X X 31 Notify implementation team of sale and engage. ፨ X 28 If yes. or service. BSC/ CM Serv Pro X 27 Are customer’s expectations in sync with __________ capability to deliver product. price. X X ፨ X 30+ Advise customer of network developments and/or introduce any new service delivery. Large. Figure 7. C X X 32. 7. proposal.) A 4. X 29 Conﬁrm internally what products were sold.4 Flowchart steps (partial list) within the health care insurance sales process X X . multistep activity. stress minor role of NBM. X • 34+ Deliver and negotiate ﬁnancial contracts. A This step should be automated. UW IM/IS 9.2 Answer questions on administrative process. 6.1 Answer beneﬁts question ፨ X Bold means leadership responsibility.
Job 3. X Phase 1: Integrated Flowchart of a Major Business Procedure As It Exists (22-process-step example) 2 Job 6. Job 5. 5 6 X 7 8 X X X X 9 10 X X X X X X X X X 12 13 14 15 16 X X X 11 X X Job 4. 102 Diagnosing Organizational Performance Workers within Process . 3 X X X X X 17 18 X X X X 19 20 21 22 X X X X X X X X (Process Activities over Time) Figure 7.5 Integrated ﬂowchart of existing work process X X X X X X X X X X X X means contributor. 4 X Job 2.1 Job 1.
6 Integrated ﬂowchart of improved work process ፨ X X ፨ X X X ፨ X X X X ፨ X ፨ X means leadership responsibility. Documenting and Improving Work Processes 103 ፨ X 5 .Workers within Process 1 Job 1. ፨ X Job 6. X X X X ፨ X 12 13 14 15 ፨ X ፨ X X ፨ X X ፨ X 11 X Job 2. 9 ፨ X X 16 17 X X X X 18 19 X X 20 21 22 ፨ X ፨ X X ፨ X X X (Process Activities over Time) Figure 7. ፨ X Phase 2: Improved Integrated Flowchart of a Major Business Procedure (reduced from 22 to 19 steps) 2 3 4 6 7 8 Job 4. X means contributor. Job 3. 10 ፨ X X ፨ X X X ፨ X X Job 5.
6). and approval. implementation and account management (twenty-five steps). and acted on by the group. Make sure that “scope creep” doesn’t appear. along with the job roles contributing to that step. evaluated. and sales support personnel (interviewees came from four regions throughout the United States). IMPROVING THE WORK PROCESS Improving the work process is often referred to as going from an “is” process to a desired “should be” process. This occurs when you start out to ﬂow a certain process and then end up ﬂowcharting the entire company! Perhaps all of us have experienced scope creep at one time or another. (2) create a first draft of the integrated flowchart.104 Diagnosing Organizational Performance The core method of documenting the existing process was to (1) telephone-interview a select group of salespeople. and settlement (twelve steps). Each participant had the is integrated ﬂowchart prior to the meeting and was informed of the work process improvement goal. the revised integrated ﬂowchart was sent to a discrete list of organizational decision makers for their ﬁnal approval. revision. In addition. TIPS FOR THE ANALYST 1. and observe sales personnel and sales support personnel carrying out their work (including going on sales calls). the fifty-two steps were clustered into subprocesses or phases: presale (twenty-four steps). sales managers. Determine the work process to be defined. and all nine job categories contributing to the existing process continued to contribute to the revised process in a modified manner (see Figure 7. sales renewals (eighteen steps). improvement revisions were entertained. and (5) send out the sales integrated flowchart to the select group for review. As each process step was reviewed. the seventy-nine-step process was reduced to ﬁfty-two steps. This revision is best done in a face-to-face two-day work session of key people. (3) visit multiple sales offices. Following the two-day work session. . (4) create a second draft of the integrated flowchart. In this health care insurance case. The integrated ﬂowchart of how the work is presently done is used as a basis for selecting a group of personnel to review and revise into a should process.
and those involved. 4.Documenting and Improving Work Processes 105 2. and the people involved in each step. 5. . or is there a level in the middle that is just right? 3. the order of their occurrence. and the people involved in each step. Decide on the level of detail that’s needed. This is important. CONCLUSION Documenting and improving work processes can prove to be efﬁcient and effective. Review and revise the work process steps. Determine the work process steps. their sequence. their sequence. Is a very broad and general level flowchart needed? One that is extremely detailed could be equivalent to detailing systems tasks (see Chapter 14). and those involved. the order of their occurrence. The objective is to consider revising all the steps that are thought to be taking place. The overall perspective of directly connecting organizational performance improvement goals and work processes is logical and fruitful. The objective is to obtain all the steps that are thought to be taking place. Have the improved work process reviewed and approved by organizational decision makers. A significant portion of this analysis activity is in uncharted territory for many organizations and work groups.
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8 Data Collection Methods Approaching the Data Collection Task Interviews Questionnaires Observations Organizational Records Conclusion P erformance improvement analysts are required to collect and analyze data in order to diagnose organizations. Several general data collection methods are used throughout the overall analysis process: ■ Interviews ■ Questionnaires ■ Observations ■ Organizational records This chapter provides an overview of these four data collection methods. document work processes. 107 . Clearly. and document workplace expertise. the content of this chapter could be a book by itself. My intention is to provide just enough guidance to ensure sound data collection practices and to provide recommended sources for more technical assistance.
Use More than One More than one method or source of data collection is generally required to gain enough information to understand a phenomenon. interviewing managers may give a partial picture. using the Internet is easy. surveys are easy. while interviewing the workers and customers may ﬁll in the picture. and job performers. processes. not the data method constraining the question(s).108 Diagnosing Organizational Performance Analysts committed to improving performance require firsthand information about organizations. Each method has appropriate uses. Similarly. The task of searching and analyzing information on organization-speciﬁc performance issues is challenging. but it can be as much fun as reading a good mystery. They must delve into the organization and its workplace issues to obtain accurate information. Using multiple methods and multiple perspectives increases the validity of the assessment. APPROACHING THE DATA COLLECTION TASK Several overriding principles should guide considerations in using the various data collection methods and tools within the analysis for improving performance realm. trends in organizational records may provide a target and interviews with workers may reveal the underlying causes. The nature of the question to be answered should dictate the data collection method so as not to distort the ques- . For example. For example. analysts regularly call on the four general data collection methods. Method versus Question Let the analysis question(s) determine the method. and together they can be very inappropriate. and each demands careful execution in searching for valid information. They are noted in the following sections of this chapter. Strengths and Weaknesses Every data collection method has strengths and weaknesses. In diagnosing and documenting organizational performance and workplace expertise. work teams. To be overly infatuated with one data collection methodology is dangerous.
Impact of Data Collection Getting managers to agree to and assist in collecting data has an impact on the organization. and also by telephone. team. The following questions will assist you in keeping your interviewing on track: ■ Have I done my homework? ■ Am I talking to the best possible person. in groups. The interviewer is obliged to record accurate notes. and those not being asked to provide information. and/or individual job levels. Interviewing people in the workplace is a time-consuming but useful technique for discovering what happens at the organizational. and to listen with respect. See Figure 8. Interviewing is done with a critical eye to the process. Just the fact that people in an organization care to inquire about what is going on has an impact on those asking for information. The act of data collection becomes part of the intervention. Concerns for data collection efficiency and personal preferences for one method over another. to ask questions of people using their language. how the data collection effort is perceived is very important. or would someone else be able to offer a more accurate account of the situation? ■ Am I getting straight information? ■ How do the responses of several people compare? ■ Is something being implied but left unspoken? . can falsely lead to using less appropriate data collections methods. The skillful interviewer anticipates the need to establish rapport with the interviewee—not an easy task when questions of adequacy or efﬁciency of performance are involved. INTERVIEWS The interview method enables analysts to gather information directly from people in the workplace or people connected in various ways to the organization and its processes in person. process. Interviewing demands a high level of competence and commitment from the analyst. Thus.Data Collection Methods 109 tion in order to meet the demands of the data collection method. those being asked to provide information.1 for a concise summary of the technique of interviewing.
To get opinions about organization. and the interviewer asks questions to get information. Unstructured: The interviewer and client talk without any preset format. Process can allow the interviewer to gain the trust of clients Figure 8. To get workers’ viewpoints about procedures and processes E. Different people may be asked entirely different questions.1 Interview technique summary Cons A. The interview may cover a wide range of subjects. B. Description of Interview Technique The interviewer and interviewee(s) talk (alone or in small groups). Structured: The interviewer has a predetermined list of questions arranged in some format. To get details of work protocol C. To follow up on critical incidents 4. Combination: Combining structured and unstructured is the most common method. To establish rapport for other data gathering B. The ability to develop questions that will get meaningful answers B. Can be expensive and time consuming B. Uses A. takes practice E. Can be hard to interpret the meaning of answers D. Difﬁcult to synthesize . Source of valuable and meaningful information C. Depends on skillful use of questions. C. All interviewees are asked the same basic questions plus follow-up questions. Allows study of a wide range of subjects B. supervision G. Interviewer can create bias— that is. interject own feelings into the response C. To learn about plans and projects D.110 Diagnosing Organizational Performance 1. Key Skills A. 2. morale. To ﬁnd out about difﬁculties F. Types A. Pros and Cons Pros A. This limits the content to some predetermined topics. The ability to ask open-ended questions spontaneously C. The ability to create an atmosphere of trust—not defensiveness D. Allows interviewer to gain “empathy” or a feel for the situation D. 3. The ability to take complete and accurate notes without infusing one’s own ideas 5.
or by organizational performance records? Interviews yield great quantities of information that can be difﬁcult to manage and analyze. including the method of respondent selection with a sampling unit 2. Pilot-testing and revising survey instruments 8. or am I being trusted with knowledge of this situation? ■ What is the main message this person is giving me? ■ Is it important? ■ Have I discovered feelings and motivations as well as facts about this work situation? ■ Have I recorded many of the actual words of the respondent? ■ What is missing from the picture being painted here? ■ How does this interview data compare with data collected by questionnaire. Developing and formatting a draft questionnaire 3. Choosing a method to generate the pool of telephone numbers that will be used in sampling 4. Training interviewers and supervisors 10. by observation in the work setting. Printing ﬁnal questionnaires and other forms 9. Conducting fully supervised interviews . and scheduling interviewing sessions 7. According to Lavarakas (1987. Producing a call sheet for each number that will be used in sampling 5. Developing a draft introduction/selection sheet and fallback statements for use by interviewers 6. pp. 18–19). Telephone Interviews Telephone interviews require several unique steps. Hiring interviewers and supervisors.Data Collection Methods 111 ■ Am I perceived to be a conﬁdant of management. they involve a ten-step process: 1. Plan to spend twice as long writing about the interview as you did conducting it. Deciding on a sampling design.
After all.2 for a concise summary of the questionnaire method. if necessary. the rich interaction from focus groups is particularly helpful in sorting out future performance issues. rewriting questions can save you from gathering a mountain of useless data. The following focus group–moderating skills outlined by Krueger (1988) capture the uniqueness of this group process technique: (1) selecting the focus group location. While interviews of teams are helpful for performance problems or performance improvements. See Figure 8. By keeping questionnaires short. Too often the result of an inept questionnaire is garbled information that is useless to the analyst and ultimately to all the people who have spent their time and energy ﬁlling out your instrument. QUESTIONNAIRES Deceptively simple. But done correctly. what could be easier than writing up a questionnaire and mailing it off to a hundred people or more. you would do well to acquire expert guidance in handling all phases of the questionnaire process. how will I use this information?” The process ends with “Did I discover what I wanted to .112 Diagnosing Organizational Performance Group Interviews Focus groups are a popular form of group interview where a targeted group of stakeholders come together to provide information about a speciﬁc topic. (2) preparing mentally. dispersed population. you will ensure the goodwill of the respondents and will simplify the data analysis. no tool is more efﬁcient for obtaining data from a large. (3) engaging in purposeful small talk and revealing the presentation strategy. and getting sufﬁcient numbers of responses from the target population is even more difﬁcult. The questionnaire process must begin with the following questions: “What do I want to know?” and “If I get it. and (6) being ready for the unexpected. right? Wrong! Good questionnaires are difﬁcult to develop. (4) recording the group discussion. Unless you are trained in statistical analysis. The questionnaire then offers a way to accurately evaluate the extent and the credibility of the facts and opinions gathered by interviews. the survey questionnaire is often used as a primary data collection tool. Expert analysts use interviews as a first step for discovering the most useful content for a questionnaire. (5) pausing and probing. Pilot-testing a questionnaire with a few respondents and.
readable way 5. a checkmark placed in a box or on a scale.Data Collection Methods 113 1. Description of Questionnaire Technique The investigator has a speciﬁc set of written items that require the client to respond in some meaningful way. or a word written in a space. This method is less time-consuming than some other methods. Types A. It’s a relatively “cold” approach— that is. F. B. To ask about what people value or do E. 3. The data may be overinterpreted. You can obtain large amounts of data. The investigator codes the responses according to a system and then subjects them to data analysis. It’s difﬁcult to write good items. E. It may miss important issues because the questions are predetermined. C. which are then interpreted by the investigator. The ability to develop items that will get appropriate responses C. The client writes essay-type answers. D. It’s relatively easy to quantify and summarize the data gathered. C. To measure attitudes or opinions D. The ability to specify exactly what type of information is required B. The ability to do data analysis D. People may misread items and make inappropriate responses. Figure 8. They are relatively inexpensive. Questionnaires can often be used in more than one setting. Questionnaires are easy to use with large samples. Pros and Cons Pros A. D. They are more objective than interviews. G. Open Response: The items are open-ended questions. B. The response rate may be too low. F. To cover large populations of people B. To gather descriptive data 4. Key Skills A. Forced Response: The questionnaire items require some speciﬁc type of response such as yes or no. Cons A. B. no personal contact. Uses A. The investigator must somehow code the responses and subject them to a data analysis. The ability to lay out the questionnaire in a clear. E. true or false. Statistical analysis is quick and easy with computers.2 Questionnaire technique summary . To overcome problems of geographical distance C. H. 2.
training and development. I have the freedom to solve them. job satisfaction.” . interpersonal and interdepartmental relationships. and providing constructive feedback to the organization. communication. supervisory effectiveness. 1992). employee career development. 1988). Open-ended responses can also be solicited and analyzed. Assuming you have not let all this talk of statistical analysis discourage you from sending out a simple questionnaire. Customized surveys to address specific strategic change efforts can be developed from selected culture categories. department management leadership. Baseline data can be used to compare results with those of later surveys. employee compensation. accountability. The following is a sample “strongly agree to strongly disagree” culture survey question: “When problems occur in my job. corporate management’s leadership. The critical features are ensuring anonymity. Employee perceptions are a window into the health of the organization! A comprehensive survey covers thirteen culture categories. performance problems or future performances). having an objective third party present. working conditions. including the following: organizational mission and goals.114 Diagnosing Organizational Performance know?” and “How can I use this information?” The same questions are asked for every item on the questionnaire. They provide an effective and efficient method of gathering information from employees (Sleezer & Swanson. ask yourself the following: ■ Did I receive a sufﬁcient number of returned questionnaires? ■ What did I ﬁnd out? ■ Are these data useful? ■ Did I discover something that I should verify through a review of performance records or through observations or interviews? ■ Do these data conﬁrm or contradict what I have learned through other means? Organizational Culture Questionnaires Culture surveys are an important tool for performance improvements (vs. productivity. Surveys must be organized around clear purposes and managed in a simple and effective manner (while maintaining the reliability and validity of the data). and training options (McLean.
1992). however. Regardless of the speciﬁc data collection technique used. you must become part of the ﬂow. one would think. See Figure 8. Critical incidents are reports or descriptions of things people have done or have observed others doing. The input of customer requirements can shape organizational goals/processes. increases efﬁciency and minimizes customer annoyance. unaccountable. and the work environment. and creative solutions than is the intrusive observer. Great sensitivity and the ability to be unobtrusive are essential. and the qualities of their actions can be observed. Surveying smaller samples. High-quality customer surveys can be used to determine customer requirements and customer satisfaction.3 for a concise summary of the observation technique. and estimating are abstract work behaviors and. planning. customer satisfaction surveys should match the important customer requirements accepted by the organization. observing people at work will yield a great deal of qualitative and quantitative information about the work. Observing people at work requires considerable skill. Customer satisfaction is a critical “scorecard” of organizational achievement. They can be used for both external customers and internal customers. Subtle or ill-defined customer requirements may require face-to-face techniques. OBSERVATIONS Thinking. such as focus groups or critical incident techniques (Flanagan. what your customers think is critical. 1954). customer surveys are the most direct and valid means of measuring what customers are thinking (Hayes. .Data Collection Methods 115 Customer Satisfaction Questionnaires From a performance improvement perspective. The unobtrusive observer is more likely to perceive errors. People express the results of their work performances through observable actions. problems. instead of entire groups. the worker. Customer surveys can answer the core questions: What do customers want? Are customers satisﬁed with what they receive? Carefully designed paper-and-pencil surveys tied concisely and directly to customer requirements are the most cost-effective means of surveying customers. imagining. Short of talking to every customer. To avoid altering the work process. The critical incident technique can be called on for any of the four general data collection methods. When practiced systematically.
Overt: The observer tells the worker what is going on. Key Skills A. The ability to keep out of the worker’s way C. The observer can collect ﬁrsthand information on behavior. To analyze conditions in the work environment D. B. They may reveal totally unexpected problems. To analyze work methods for effectiveness and efﬁciency B. Pros and Cons Pros A. To watch work ﬂow G. Normally the observer is in plain view. E. The observer normally doesn’t communicate with the worker or interfere in any way with the work. Covert: The observer doesn’t tell the worker what is going on. To locate critical incidents 4. The ability to ﬁnd the best people and times to observe B. B. This type of observation is frequently combined with an interview during which the observer asks the worker to explain things as they are done. The ability to spot when the work is being done correctly and incorrectly E. F. without special effort. . Description of Observation Technique The observer goes on-site and watches the work behavior of people doing the job. (It could be a unique situation. Uses A.) C. Observations occur while the work is actually being done—not after it’s over. especially when the worker is solving a problem by thinking it through. It can be costly. This helps let the observer watch the natural work method in its actual sequence. To ﬁnd safety/housekeeping problems E. They may reveal new and better methods. The observer may even ask the worker to do certain things in order to help with the observation. E. C.116 Diagnosing Organizational Performance 1. To analyze communication patterns F. Figure 8. D. The observer can create bias by interjecting own feelings.3 Observation technique summary Cons A. Follow-up is usually required to help interpret the observations. B. They are not ﬁltered through another’s words. The worker knows what the observer is looking for. Types A. To corroborate employee performance with interview reports C. The ability to take accurate notes or remember the important things seen 5. 3. The ability to be open to new ways of doing the work D. Sampling the people and times can bias the results. D. but the worker is unaware of what actually is being observed. Observations can be adapted to many situations. 2. It can be difﬁcult to interpret what is observed.
If you can’t figure out what a particular work behavior is. take care to observe long enough to be able to discriminate between those behaviors that ■ add something of value to the product or services or process (productivity). if the nature of the work behavior is subtle. ■ add nothing (waste of a team’s/worker’s effort or time). Before beginning to analyze work behaviors. or ■ take away from the value of the product or service or process (mistakes. By accurately recording events. Consider that your presence can change the situation and affect the data collected. ■ are linked and ordered in meaningful ways. negative remarks. and the ability to discern the subtleties of human behaviors. Is the behavioral protocol the same for all employees? How frequently do the observed behaviors occur? What qualities of the behavior are important? Speed? Accuracy? Decision making? Language? Do obstacles to performance exist in the work environment? What are the expected versus the actual results of the work behavior? Is the work performance rewarded.).Data Collection Methods 117 Some activities happen more or less frequently than others. you can test the beliefs of management and workers and even your own first impressions of the work performance. judging the length of the required observation time can be difficult. interfering with others at work. some take a longer or shorter time to complete. you will beneﬁt by researching the work and the setting before continuing to observe. One thing is certain: the longer you observe in a setting. the more you see. etc. Were you sufficiently prepared for the observation to understand what you were observing? How accurate are your data? Were you unable to record what you saw because of a lack of time or recording skill? Is that important? Does the observed behavior fall into phases or stages? Is it cyclical? . punished. or ignored? What behaviors differentiate the high performers from the low performers? Be cautious when interpreting the data derived from observation. or if you encounter a controversy about how the work should be done. If the technology of the work is unfamiliar. Your major assets as an observer are wide-open eyes and ears. ask. Therefore. a curious and nonjudgmental nature. and some happen only at the beginning or the end of the month.
and the like. spotted trends. Trends and cycles can often be spotted in these records. The data should confirm or deny the facts gained through other data collection methods. questionnaires. minutes of board meetings. just as they may later reflect its resolution. Thus. Once you have veriﬁed the accuracy and considered the context of the organizational records. Look at the extent of variation. performance improvements or future performances). observations. are kept on file. averaged figures. because they are generally collected for other purposes. For more information on the organizational records technique. pessimistic. According to Camp. grievances filed. Organizational records generally reflect the consequences of a problem situation. Firsthand observation provides a tier of information that cannot be obtained through talk and paper—interviews. Caution must be taken in interpreting these data. per week.118 Diagnosing Organizational Performance The canard that “A picture is worth a thousand words” applies equally to analysis work. You may find clues to trouble spots that will provide useful questions for your interviews. see Figure 8. contradictory. everyday business records are a great source of information for the adept analyst with skills in interpreting data. and costs of production. Benchmarking is the search for the best practices that will lead to the superior performance of an organization (Camp. optimistic.4. How old are the data? How reliable were the collecting and recording methods? Be alert for aggregated information that may hide major organizational problems among innocentlooking. and identiﬁed problems. and organizational records). interoffice memos. per day. Having knowledge of statistical methods is useful to the careful analyst. the ten process steps include the following: . units of performance per person. 1995). per hour. It is a process that integrates data obtained from all four of the general data collection methods (interviews. absenteeism. or problematic. The picture in the realm of performance improvement analysis consists of the actual organization. Policy manuals. Ordinary. questionnaires. and organizational records. These include employee turnover. and the teams/individuals working in them. these records are most useful in zeroing in on present performance problems (vs. the functioning processes. ORGANIZATIONAL RECORDS Organizations keep records of many everyday occurrences. ask yourself whether any of the data seem surprising. procedure manuals.
3. The data could have been biased by those who recorded them in the ﬁrst place. or questionnaires in order to design an overall picture from many separate pieces of information. This type of analysis is frequently used to consolidate information gathered from all the other methods of investigation. C. studies. The ability to classify or group information into categories B. The organizational records technique minimizes people’s biases. and productivity data or reports as a primary source of information. To spot cyclical problems F. 2. The ability to interpret data and make verbal explanations of their meaning 5. To consolidate information gathered from other investigative methods E. B. Primary: The analyst gathers and studies cost. This technique can identify accurate “baselines” against which to measure changes in performance. The ability to depict data with charts and graphs E. observations. and interprets the meaning of the numbers or information buried in the records. time. To analyze areas of loss B. It can be difﬁcult to locate the best data or reports. Numbers tend to be believable and easy to understand. The ability to ﬁnd relationships between categories or separate pieces of information C. B. Pros and Cons Pros A. C. Information is usually classiﬁed and depicted in a way that reveals speciﬁc points of interest. This type of data analysis is normally used to locate areas of loss or trends. To corroborate and expand work behavior protocol C. Figure 8. Secondary: The analyst classiﬁes and studies data gained through interviews.Data Collection Methods 119 1. Description of Organizational Record Technique The analyst classiﬁes. The ability to select and use statistical and other math techniques D. B.4 Organizational record technique summary . It can be difﬁcult to quantify some important aspects of performance. this list covers a few of the basics. To classify information into categories 4. Types A. Cons A. To spot and predict trends D. Key Skills Note: Data analysis can require a wide variety of technical skills. A. Uses A.
a. 1. Identify comparative companies. 8. Observations are used to ___. is wrong about the count of behaviors d. ✓ CHECKPOINT 䊐 Use the following multiple-choice items to check your understanding of the techniques for data collection. did not observe a sufﬁcient sample of workers . Establish functional goals. spot cyclical problems 3. Identify what is to be benchmarked. 5. 9. the observer could get in the way c. The analyst has observed four workers in the department. ﬁnd work environment problems d. 7. Implement speciﬁc actions and monitor progress. Recalibrate the benchmarks. failed to separate high and low performers c. observing the most natural work process is desired d. 10. 2. a. 4. Determine the current performance gap. Project future performance levels. gather data from large populations b. The answers to these questions are at the end of the test. did not ask the workers about their work b. The observer does not communicate with the person being observed when ___.120 Diagnosing Organizational Performance 1. 3. 6. a. the worker does not want to be observed b. Determine the data collection method and collect the data. learn about plans and goals c. management objects to the observation process 2. Develop action plans. Communicate the benchmark findings and gain acceptance for them. but the manager is unimpressed with the ﬁndings because the observer ___. Select the best answer for each item.
assumed by the organization. An analyst without the requisite statistical analysis skills is at a disadvantage because ___. time and money are in short supply c. To avoid this possibility. a. a. Answers: 1. Because of the difﬁculty of designing good questions. d. b. d 6. a 5. c 3. The analyst should use the interview techniques to collect data if ___. d. a. 9. pilot-test the questionnaire and interview respondents. a 8. impossible. productivity data is required d. a. a. plan to mail the questionnaire in two batches d. carefully select the people who will receive the questionnaire b.Data Collection Methods 121 4. d 9. b. d 7. the analyst could ___. invite respondents to write comments anywhere on the questionnaire as thoughts occur to them. c. essential. a. asking questions that get meaningful answers c. getting a feel for a situation is important b. mailing. determining points of consensus is important 5. establish the budget for design. taking complete notes d. c. difﬁcult. Establishing the accuracy of primary records is ___. All of the above 8. an outside expert must be consulted. a thoughtful analyst would _____ before sending out a hundred questionnaires. d. interpreting and explaining data are essential. fostering trust b. the importance of some record could be missed. b 4. include at least one or two open-ended questions. c. pilot-test it with a few respondents 7. all of the above 6. The exclusive use of limited-response questions may result in a questionnaire that is easy to tabulate but that fails to identify an important issue. only certain records can be made visual by graphing. b. and data analysis c. c 2. c . printing. The skill that is most essential in interviewing is ___.
. (2000). A. N. and causes of organizational. Research in organizations: Foundations and methods of inquiry (pp. and organizational records—provide an eclectic toolbox for the analyst. Cassell & G. E.).). Qualitative methods in organizational research (pp. Symon (Eds. (2005). process. (2005). They are used at the levels of organizational diagnosis and documentation of expertise. factors. Mail and Internet surveys: The tailored design method (2nd ed. (1994). San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler. Research in organizations: Foundations and methods of inquiry. & Holton. R. team. The analysis of company documentation: In C. and individual performances or the dimensions and substance of workplace expertise. D. questionnaires. New York: Wiley. observations. Dillman. Some useful data collection methodology references include the following: Bartlett. 147–166). Swanson & E. using more than one data collection method is necessary to ensure valid conclusions about the trends. A. Forster. Survey research in organizations. Swanson.). Each method has strengths and weaknesses. 87–113).. K. In R.122 Diagnosing Organizational Performance CONCLUSION The general data collection methods—interviews. Holton (Eds. In almost all instances. San Francisco: BerrettKoehler. F. London: Sage. A. F.
PART THREE Documenting Workplace Expertise Chapter 9 The Nature of Workplace Expertise Chapter 10 Documenting Job Descriptions Chapter 11 Developing Task Inventories Chapter 12 Documenting Process-Referenced Tasks Chapter 13 Detailing Procedural Tasks Chapter 14 Detailing System Tasks Chapter 15 Detailing Knowledge Tasks 123 .
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and sports created by experts or in which experts participate. Most of us are accustomed to high levels of expertise. worse yet. movies. lectures. Through media devices. books. Our church choir may have warmth and charm. Expertise can be thought of as the level at which a person is able to perform within a specialized realm of human activity. we can see expert home restorers whiz through complicated procedures using tools that we have never seen before. It is no wonder that neophytes want to take shortcuts to expertise or. We are surrounded by art. to pretend they are experts. What else could explain the desire of young adults to wear sports clothing instead of playing the sport? Or the desire of adults in the workplace to pick up the language of the latest pop management book instead of learning organizational 125 . let alone ever mastered. but can it stand up to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir being played on a high-tech digital sound system? The examples are endless. we can listen to and view performances by experts in many fields of endeavor. music.9 The Nature of Workplace Expertise Perspectives on Job and Expertise Analysis Dilemmas in Developing Expertise Getting to Expertise Conclusion W orkplace expertise is the fuel of an organization. On television.
concerns itself with determining precisely what people need to know and be able to do to perform on the job. 2000). organizations serious about workplace expertise face a number of dilemmas in their efforts to deal with their organizational demands for workplace expertise: ■ Deﬁning what expertise is needed ■ Emphasizing general knowledge versus speciﬁc expertise ■ Hiring versus developing expertise ■ Nature versus nurture paths to expertise . Ericsson & Smith. PERSPECTIVES ON JOB AND EXPERTISE ANALYSIS It could almost be said that job analysis is not expertise analysis. This extensive job analysis literature rarely looks at human expertise head on and rarely. Pfeffer & Sutton. Most of it has had to do with human resource management issues of recruiting. Similarly.g. these professionals largely ignore the scholarly and practitioner literature on expertise (e.126 Documenting Workplace Expertise psychology or systems theory? Today we have CEOs who are unable to flowchart a simple process like making a cup of instant coffee. yet they are unleashing the wrath of outsourcing in their companies in response to popular journal articles or managing with the tyranny of the bottom line. Torraco (1994) has criticized these perspectives as being out of touch with the contemporary workplace. For example. John Miner’s 2002 tome of 888 pages. Organizational Behavior: Foundations. overweight teenagers wearing professional sports jackets walking the halls of your local shopping mall look pretty tame. DILEMMAS IN DEVELOPING EXPERTISE Developing expertise is not an event. and Analyses. Theories. if ever. and legal compliance as well as studies out of industrial psychology conducted at arm’s length from actual work (see Barnnick & Levine. In comparison. 2002). 1994. compensation. selection. That history has not had much to do with developing workplace expertise. has only one reference to expertise in the extensive index. It is a purposeful journey.. A very long history surrounds the phenomenon of job analysis. As a result.
Human expertise can be deﬁned as: displayed behavior within a specialized domain and/or related domain in the form of consistently demonstrated actions of an individual which are both optimally efﬁcient in their execution and effective in their results. multifaceted phenomenon.The Nature of Workplace Expertise 127 Deﬁning What Expertise Is Needed Richard Herling’s (2000) classic definitional article on expertise provides disciplined thinking and definitions for performance improvement professionals. Good problem solvers utilize speciﬁc methods. This level of analysis offers protection against being wrong. The more general the methods used. 21) Emphasizing General versus Speciﬁc Expertise Experts are good problem solvers in their domain of expertise. expertise can be expressed in measurable terms. Through the use of an operational deﬁnition of human expertise and the recognition of domain speciﬁc (1) knowledge. but it is not the makings of expertise. (2) experience. Human competence. and (3) problem-solving as being the core elements of human expertise. The tools for documenting expertise presented in this book were used by a Fortune 50 corporation to determine the expertise required . (p. It can be useful to describe in a general way what an executive does. His article is summarized as follows: Human expertise is clearly a complex. can also be expressed in measurable terms.” All of us have ﬁguratively found ourselves “out of the ballpark” and know how humiliating that is. versus a manager. Many people who study jobs and work have a goal of deﬁning occupations and jobs at the most general level. This level of analysis assures you that you are “in the ballpark. the profession gains conceptual access to one of the most powerful tools for improving performance: human expertise. There are good reasons for people to study situations at a general level. the less expertise is involved. and deﬁned as: displayed behavior within a specialized domain in the form of consistently demonstrated actions of an individual which are both minimally efﬁcient in their execution and effective in their results. but by the means of an operational deﬁnition. versus a first-line supervisor. a related construct and component of expertise.
much workplace expertise is company-specific. Nature versus Nurture: Paths to Expertise I remember a poster from the late 1960s showing a baby being held upside down by the doctor seconds after being born. and maintaining workplace expertise. the plumber. one reaction is to outsource expertise rather than develop it. I had the chance to audit the results of an expensive off-the-shelf “managing people” program that had been provided to every manager in a Fortune 10 ﬁnancial corporation for a ten-year period. Working under the assumption that expertise is the fuel of an organization. The caption read “Your son. the work generalities did not capture workplace expertise.128 Documenting Workplace Expertise of ﬁrst-line supervisors in its manufacturing plants. In contrast. Search as I did. and it is impossible to hire such expertise in the open market. In other words. By determining and documenting precisely what plant supervisors were required to know and be able to do in order to function as experts. too. I could find no evidence that the program had any impact on the corporation. developing. Organizations wanting to survive and grow must deal purposefully with the problems of procuring.” It was left to the individuals viewing the poster to interpret the meaning of the doc- . Even so. The “managing people” generalities covered in the program were interesting but did not represent what people were required to know and be able to do in order to perform on the job. having expertise critical to the health of an organization undocumented in any formal manner. Some ﬁrms decide to outsource work requiring speciﬁc expertise as they compare the costs and beneﬁts of maintaining internal expertise. This was no academic or off-the-shelf view of good supervision—it was production-speciﬁc and company-speciﬁc. Hiring versus Developing Expertise Many organizations are not well equipped to manage the development and maintenance of expertise in their workforce. Imagine. the supporting work system and training realized a 9:1 return on investment (900 percent) in two years. “Hire versus develop” is a fundamental business decision that is aggravated by changing markets and changing technology. The mother was on the delivery table.
not innate capacities. limits expertise. Thus. Company A: The director heads the corporate-wide human resource department. but what does a director of human resources really do? Let’s take a look at the job behind this title in one company and compare it with the job behind the same title in a second company. Job description is a broad-brush activity. and the task analyses are painted with a onesixteenth-inch-wide brush. and manages a $2 million budget. The director heads the corporate-wide human resource department. our institutions have had to develop oblique methods of screening employees to make sure they have the required innate capacity. Organizations that overestimate the innate capacity of workers can pay a heavy price. supervises ﬁfteen professionals. GETTING TO EXPERTISE Now we’re ready to discuss the tools used to document workplace expertise. and is . At the most meticulous level. companies have been forced to close down large-scale operations when their workforce has neither the expertise nor capacity that meets the demands of new processes. underestimating the capacity of the workforce results in similar dismal performance results. while a task inventory highlights the discernible parts (tasks) of a job or work process. and task analyses detail the expertise required to perform each task. task inventory. A job description defines the boundaries of a job. the details of the job emerge with an almost photographic quality. These include the job description. and task analyses. Most of us would agree that this is an impressive title. To put it in more concrete terms. Company B:. supervises an administrative assistant. Consider the following job title as an example: corporate director of human resources.The Nature of Workplace Expertise 129 tor’s pronouncement: Genetics? Socioeconomic status? Both? The concept that a person’s life expertise and life role are bounded by genetics is extremely uncomfortable in a culture that generally believes that the presence or absence of opportunities. A job can be described in terms of an artist’s canvas. the job description is painted with a four-inch-wide brush. In extreme cases. The analyst-painter uses a finer brush and ﬁner movements to deﬁne the expertise embodied in each task. Conversely. the task inventory with a two-inch-wide brush.
Develop a task inventory. manager. Your ability to analyze and synthesize will establish you as an expert capable of documenting the most complex workplace behaviors. or consultant. These broad-brush job descriptions need to be supplemented by a ﬁner level of detail—detail provided by a task inventory and task analyses. Develop a job description. Figure 9. The task inventory will provide a list of the speciﬁc tasks the director’s job entails.1 Documenting expertise . these phases are detailed according to the presentations in the following chapters. Conduct analysis of knowledge tasks. industrial engineer. many people in the organization will expect you to be able to analyze a job skillfully.2. Even so. and knowl- Conduct analysis of procedural tasks. In Figure 9. systems. systems task analysis. In two quick sentences. trainer.1. there is hardly a clue as to exactly what a person is required to know and be able to do to perform in either job. Conduct analysis of system tasks. and knowledge—will accommodate the varying nature of the expertise expected of the director. Chapters 10 through 15 present the tools for documenting workplace expertise: job description. these seemingly similar jobs are shown to be very different. the three methods of analyzing tasks—procedural. Whether you are a researcher. internal auditor. task inventory.130 Documenting Workplace Expertise responsible for proposing and implementing performance improvement programs under a zero-based budgeting system. and the three task methods of procedural task analysis. These general workplace expertise documentation phases just discussed are displayed as a process in Figure 9.
Develop a Task Inventory Obtain existing task inventories. Interview or survey experts.2 Overall process of documenting workplace expertise Review and approve inventory. Interview or survey experts. Draft job description. Analysis information from other levels Figure 9. Review and approve description. . Draft task inventory.132 Documenting Workplace Expertise Develop a Job Description Obtain existing descriptions.
Obtain existing task inventories. Select job task(s). Observe experts and record data. review. Determine system description and flow. Conduct troubleshooting analysis. Analyzing Knowledge Tasks Create synthesis. Analyzing System Tasks Draft. Figure 9.The Nature of Workplace Expertise 133 Analyzing Procedural Tasks Select job task(s). review. Draft. Select job task(s). and approve analysis. Search for and analyze literature. Draft. Search for and analyze experts. review. Prepare description. Carry out process analysis. and approve analysis. and approve analysis. Identify system parts and purposes.2 Overall process of documenting workplace expertise (continued) .
3 Features of the ﬁve analyses of expertise tools Task details Sketches Digital photos Existing job aids • System descrip• Expertise data coltion and ﬂowchart lection instrument • System parts and • Collected data purpose list • Research cards • Process analysis from literature chart search • Synthesis model(s) • Knowledge task description (may include synthesis model) • Reference list 134 Documenting Workplace Expertise Work Factors . leading knowledge. leading methods. infordiscrete elements to standard perto standard permation. leading to formance or results formance or results standard perform ance or results In-process products • Existing job description • Interview notes • Existing task inventory • Interview notes • • • • • List of discrete job tasks • Step-by-step • Troubleshooting procedure analysis • Diagram of machine • In-process or material documents • Diagrams End product • 25.to 75-word of the analysis narrative overview of job Figure 9.Analysis Tools Job Description Task Inventory Procedural Task Analysis System Task Analysis Knowledge Task Analysis Work behaviors • Clusters of activity • Discrete activities • Observable • Partially observable • Nonobservable Work interactions • Degree of variety • Degree of variety • Worker-materials • Worker-machine • Worker-process • Worker-worker • Worker-idea Work structure • Degree of structure • Degree of structure • Bound to a particular work procedure • Bound to a • Many performance particular process situations or system Worker autonomy • Worker relationships • Task relationships • Follows procedures • Works within es• Works within vague tablished systems or ﬂuid systems Performance objectives • Contributes to organization performance goals in terms of clusters of performance • Segments job • Follows correct • Uses efﬁcient • Uses structured performance into procedures.
For this reason. But other reasons for writing job descriptions exist as well. Some organizations purposely mandate vague and/or open-ended job descriptions to preserve organizational ﬂexibility for job restructuring while maintaining legal compliance. Here are two examples of job descriptions used for hiring and legal purposes (not for performance improvement): Data entry manager: Supervises the operation of data entry operators.10 Documenting Job Descriptions Developing Job Descriptions Criteria for a Good Job Description Acme International—Shipper Job Description Volatile Jobs Conclusion A job description is a statement that establishes the scope of responsibilities of a specific job in a specific organization. they have limited value in establishing precisely what a person is required to know and be able to do to perform a speciﬁc job (expertise). These descriptions often contain more information on job prerequisites than on actual job responsibilities. Determining the scope of job responsibilities is the basic purpose of writing a job description. Oversees the recording of a variety of alpha/numeric data 135 .
2000) does not come from those involved in documenting Obtain existing description. Usually this includes job incumbents. These interviews are usually fairly brief and often result in discrepancies that ultimately get resolved at a later time. Interview or survey experts. Requires a minimum of two years’ data entry experience. DEVELOPING JOB DESCRIPTIONS The process of documenting job descriptions requires some reﬂection on the available and true sources of expertise (Figure 10.1 Developing a job description . Must have very strong formulary knowledge. Analysis information from other levels Figure 10. The second step is to interview experts— people who have a deep understanding of the job. Requires pharmacy degree. The starting point is the criteria for job descriptions. such as professional references. They are focused on the full scope of the work that the job holder actually does. managers/supervisors of job incumbents.1). Draft job description. depending on the speciﬁc circumstances. or other companies. One of these steps is to obtain existing job descriptions within the ﬁrm or from external sources.136 Documenting Workplace Expertise onto storage media. Pharmacist: Fills prescriptions. Some supervisory experience is preferred. not the prerequisites for performing the work. associations. The angst about the validity of job analyses (Sanchez & Levine. This is followed by two data-gathering steps that can occur simultaneously or sequentially. It is important to note that job descriptions are ultimately validated through the more detailed task inventory and detail analysis of each of the tasks. In contrast. and coworkers. job descriptions written for the purpose of performance improvement are speciﬁc and well deﬁned. Review and approve description.
should be revised when additional information challenges its accuracy or completeness. The following is an acceptable job description. The next step in the process—drafting the job description—begins to solidify the job description. CRITERIA FOR A GOOD JOB DESCRIPTION Remember that the job description shows the boundaries of the job and that the analyst uses a big brush and large strokes. Inc. doors. as with the other levels of analysis. While the expert job incumbent and that person’s manager/supervisor should be involved in the review. and cutting and applying vinyl laminate sheeting to a variety of surfaces including countertops. Rarely will a draft escape criticism and revision during the review step that follows. It is a skilled job requiring detailed planning. The work is conducted on-site and in-plant. high craftsmanship.Documenting Job Descriptions 137 precisely what people need to know and be able to do on their jobs. In fact. Rather. Lamination Department S. and panels with hot and cold adhesives. Such information is obtained at the more detailed analysis levels of the job. and the use of a variety of power and hand tools to meet customer requirements and quality standards. the job description. Read it carefully and note the level of detail used. This approval can always be open for a later review. The four criteria . revision. we will look at the criteria for good job descriptions and task inventories and at the methods for producing them: Job Description Job or program: Location: Department: Analyst: Effective date: Cancels earlier version: Dated: Approved by: Vinyl Laminator Custom Kitchens. it comes from the human resource generalists and organizational psychology researchers trying to create general analyses of jobs. the manager is the most appropriate one to approve the ﬁnal job description. and approval. After this. Johnson (month/date/year) None (month/date/year or “None”) (name/signature) The job of vinyl laminator involves laminate job planning and ordering.
alert to empty coffee cups. these individual tasks? Such behaviors as being friendly. Making it too general is a common error. Knowing the menu and handling basic billing mathematics could be identiﬁed as other functions or clusters for this job. or clusters. a fast-food burger place. rather than listing tasks. For instance. form. The idea of clustering job functions. They are as follows: Title: a succinct combination of words capturing the overall job function—more than one word and usually less than four Scope: embraces the totality of the job and communicates this by labeling two to seven job functions or clusters of work activity Form: written in complete sentences—usually one paragraph and sometimes two Length: a range of twenty-ﬁve to seventy-ﬁve words Writing an acceptable title for a job is usually fairly easy. are the result of the analyst’s not paying attention to the criteria. such as these: ■ Preparing tables ■ Taking food orders ■ Delivering food orders But what is it that cuts across. Scope is the most difﬁcult criterion to satisfy.138 Documenting Workplace Expertise for good job descriptions focus on the title. To take another example. scope. The analyst identiﬁes logical clusters among a detailed listing of work activities. Of course. The form and length criteria are easily understood and should be adhered to. and attentive to customer needs may at a minimum be clustered under the words attentive to customer needs. For example. Self-discipline in writing a good job description now will pay dividends later by providing an accurate framework for specifying the details of the job. These differences should be reflected in the job descriptions at the various places of business. courteous. Errors such as making lists rather than writing sentences. the title supervisor is too broad. or including too much information. computer operator is too general and should be avoided in favor of a more speciﬁc title like SPSS software consultant. however. the job of a waitperson will be very different in a neighborhood diner. . and length of the description. requires further discussion. ﬁrst-line supervisor is better. or an elegant top-of-the-tower restaurant. it is easy to list a number of tasks carried out by a restaurant person.
More than any other member of the management team. directing. stafﬁng. Johnson (month/date/year) (month/date/year or “None”) (name/signature) The supervisor is in charge of bottom-line productivity of a work group. The following is an example of a good job description for you to check against the four criteria: Job Description Job or program: Location: Department: Analyst: Effective date: Cancels sheet dated: Approved by: Electronics Production Supervisor Headquarters and Middletown Companywide B. some people might have judged the ﬁrst description to be acceptable. and controlling. and communication activities are primarily focused on the customer’s requirements and quality standards. the supervisor engages in problem analysis. You can easily see that these two job descriptions for supervisor differ. Johnson (month/day/year) (month/day/year or “None”) (signature) The supervisor is responsible for effective and efﬁcient accomplishment of work within his or her realm of electronics production authority. . although it meets none of the criteria of a good job description. decision-making. supports. The supervisor understands. and delivers the sequential management functions of planning. On a day-to-day basis.Documenting Job Descriptions 139 The following is an example of a poor job description. organizing. Do you ﬁnd any deﬁciencies? Job Description Job or program: Location: Analyst: Effective date: Cancels earlier version: Approved by: Supervisor Headquarters and Middletown B. this individual is responsible for translating company goals into reality by meeting production quotas. The problem analysis. Check it against the four criteria. At ﬁrst glance. decision-making. and communication activities within his or her realm of authority.
we take a systems and process view of the organiza- . Even if job incumbents changed. Chapter 6 included a performance improvement proposal—the outcome of a performance diagnosis—for the Acme Shipping Department. Today. At the same time. it appears today as though jobs are actually more ﬂuid than the tasks that make up an individual job. Thus. In fact. This is no longer the case. and loading seat covers for shipment in response to customer orders. Within the Acme International system of sales. the shipper uses systems data to process and ship customer orders. “stable” jobs come and go. the tasks more often remain and are reshufﬂed into new or restructured jobs. job descriptions by themselves were important. Previously. production. Torraco (month/date/year) (month/date/year or “None”) (signature) The shipper is responsible for accurately selecting. distribution. the job remained constant. Paul. VOLATILE JOBS At one time in the workplace. Shipping Department R. Thus. and inventory control.140 Documenting Workplace Expertise ACME INTERNATIONAL—SHIPPER JOB DESCRIPTION The Acme International case study presented in Chapter 3 provided the initial overview of an organization experiencing performance problems. job descriptions have less organizational utility than in the past. packing. Part of the proposal was a decision to solidify the job of shipper and to train all the incumbents. The shipper also monitors and maintains efﬁcient shipping operations. a job was likely to be stable. Here is the description of the position of shipper in Acme’s Shipping Department: Job Description Job or program: Location: Department: Analyst: Effective pate: Cancels sheet dated: Approved by: Shipper St. organizations and jobs in organizations are more ﬂuid than ever. steady targets. With continuing organizational restructuring. job descriptions were partly the way an organization was vertically defined—jobs having been connected to organizational functions. Minn.
The pharmacist example. written for hiring and legal purposes. The follow-up inventory of tasks that comprise the job and the detailed analysis of each of the tasks more fully complete the picture.” If you detailed what a drugstore pharmacist actually does on the job. form. Must have very strong formulary knowledge. Recall the unacceptable pharmacist job description presented earlier: “Fills prescriptions. In the next chapter. This horizontal process view dictates worker tasks pragmatically be clustered into jobs. ✓ CHECKPOINT 䊐 Take about ﬁve minutes to write a job description of either your present job or a past job. Because you will be making a task inventory next. If you prefer. limit the length of your job description to twentyfive to seventy-five words and the scope to two to seven functions or clusters of work activity. Once this detailed and more complete information is obtained. he or she most likely spends a good part of the job communicating and counseling with customers. The identiﬁcation of the job functions at the job description level begins to paint a picture of expertise. and write a job description that meets the four criteria of title. . and length. use the job description form provided in the appendix. Check your job description against the criteria and the good examples to see whether it meets the criteria.Documenting Job Descriptions 141 tion. Job descriptions are not focused on hiring prerequisites such as prior education and work experience. completely missed this important aspect of the actual work. I describe the process for producing task inventories—an identiﬁcation and listing of all the tasks that make up the job. CONCLUSION Job descriptions for the purpose of maintaining and improving performance must be written in a manner that diligently seeks to define what people actually do in their jobs. Requires pharmacy degree. it may suggest revisions to the job description to make it more accurate. scope.
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for example. they do not go any deeper than creating a task inventory—this chapter. Fine and Cronshaw (1999) believe that “the fundamental challenge of job analysis is to describe and define the dimensions of the work activity 143 . At ﬁrst glance. A task inventory is a list of the discrete activities—such as those just listed—that make up a speciﬁc job in a speciﬁc organization. Later chapters cover methods for documenting precisely what a person needs to know and do to perform each of the tasks. yields a list of discrete tasks such as violin maintenance. the job of violinist. this job appears to be one-dimensional: playing the violin. performance scheduling. Even jobs that first appear to be one-dimensional usually become more complex on closer inspection. and performing. A closer look. For most people who talk and write about task analysis. music procurement. Being able to create an accurate task inventory list is the focus of this chapter. however. practicing. Take.11 Developing Task Inventories Creating a Task Inventory Criteria for a Good Task Inventory Acme International—Task Inventory for the Job of Shipper Tips for the Analyst Conclusion M ost jobs consist of a variety of fairly discrete activities or tasks.
It starts with two data collection steps: obtaining existing task inventories and interviewing experts. Obtain existing task inventories. The print version is found in the appendix. As each task is individually analyzed at a later time. The task detailing also gives the ultimate validation of the task inventory. the insights derived from that more detailed analysis will likely suggest revisions to the task inventory and possibly the job description. Also. Again. The data-gathering advice given to you for job descriptions in the previous chapter applies equally to producing the task inventory. or a digital version. CREATING A TASK INVENTORY The task inventory process has four steps (Figure 11. 169). Draft task inventory. and having it reviewed and approved is the last step. rather than statistical manipulations of perception and secondary data (Sanchez & Levine.1). Review and approve inventory. The task inventory documentation form. 2000). Drafting the task inventory is the third step.1 Developing a task inventory . Task analysis information Figure 11. records the final product of the process. but the follow-up detailing of the tasks provides the substance for performance improvement. the important steps of drafting and then reviewing and approving the task inventory are presented. as with job descriptions. the data for both the job description and the task inventory can be collected at the same time. I take the position that the job dimensions—or inventory of tasks—provide a very important conceptual organizer for understanding a job. Interview or survey experts.144 Documenting Workplace Expertise being evaluated” (p.
the nuclear power industry. I recognize that analysts are not always comfortable with this variability. once you move on and detail each task (i. within companies or between work groups. The goal is to cut the work into fairly big pieces that do not overlap but that logically fit together to form a complete picture. however.e. the word supervises is too large in scope. For example. common sense should be the arbiter. “Supervises employees” satisfies the requirement of indicating the action and the object.Developing Task Inventories 145 CRITERIA FOR A GOOD TASK INVENTORY The four criteria for a good task inventory pertain both to the inventory as a whole and to each task statement in the inventory. The size of the units and the pattern of the pieces will vary from analyst to analyst. such tasks as “supervises sales personnel” and “supervises office personnel” most likely will require different work activities and therefore should be listed separately. when you know more). emphasizing the active nature of the task.. and discrete—is like cutting out a toddler’s jigsaw puzzle. Active: Each task statement contains an action verb and the object of the action. The fourth criterion. For a task inventory item. intermediate. connects the work behavior to the object of the work. “Repairing machinery” is appropriate language for a job cluster in a job description. This item still may not be discrete enough. Take. The size of the units of work specified at the task inventory level may also vary between companies or departments. Furthermore. Discrete: Each task is distinguishable from the others and has a deﬁnite beginning and ending. it does not meet the active criterion of naming the action and the object being acted on. And remember. Intermediate: A task unit of work activity is intermediate in speciﬁcity between that of the job cluster or function and that of a stepby-step procedure or detailed aspect of the job. you can revise the task inventory. but it is not speciﬁc enough to be useful at the task inventory . Here you will ﬁnd that the technical production people classify job tasks in much smaller units than do their counterparts on the management side. for example. Describing tasks so that they meet the first three criteria—being comprehensive. The criteria are as follows: Comprehensive: All work activity fits into one of the inventoried tasks.
they belong in a job description. ___ 7. Ring up a sale on a cash register. ___ 3. Image enhance a set of photos. Naturally. another to answer job. ___ 13. ■ “Repair production-robot grippers” is just right for a task inventory statement ■ “Repair production-robot pneumatic tub #2” is too speciﬁc for a task inventory statement but would be ﬁne as part of a task detail. we recognize that some important situational information is missing that could cause one reader to answer task.146 Documenting Workplace Expertise level. ___ 14. ___ 5. Direct department work ﬂow. Analyze and report data. Patch an automobile mufﬂer. ___ 10. Repair machinery. Conduct a market analysis. ___ 1. Print pictures from a ﬁle of digital images. The full range of speciﬁcity is as follows: ■ “Repair machinery” is too general for a task inventory statement. Place a “T” next to the items that meet the four criteria of a reasonable task inventory statement. “Repairing production-robot grippers” and “replacing milling machine cutting tools” both meet the criteria for a task inventory statement. The details of job skills should not appear in a task inventory. ✓ CHECKPOINT 䊐 Now it is your turn to judge the following statements. Let’s work through your answers one by one. ___ 15. ___ 6. they are procedural steps. though good for a job description. Some are too speciﬁc. ___ 11. and still another to . Schedule worker vacations. ___ 2. Remove a molded part from its mold. Check ﬁnal product quality against standards. Some of the items are too general. Order backup supplies. ___ 12. ___ 9. Sign purchase orders. Obtain stock price quotation. Including too much detail in the task statement can also be a problem. ___ 8. ___ 4. Return customer calls.
Developing Task Inventories 147 answer task detail (a small step of performing a task). but you ﬁnd this out for sure by going through the analysis with an expert job holder. Task. 10. task detail Conduct a market analysis. Asking how time is spent on the job helps the job . The clusters are than labeled and turned into task statements. job Patch an automobile mufﬂer. 3. A situation of this nature would rarely occur. job Obtain stock price quotation. 11. Task detail. 12. 5. a small procedural step. task Order backup supplies. Task. The analyst gathers the details and clusters them on the basis of natural breaks or separate categories of activity. For example. 15. task detail Check ﬁnal product quality against standards. The bottom-up approach requires extensive observation and study of the activities and detailed knowledge required of a worker. Task. task Image enhance a set of photos. 9. task Ring up a sale on a cash register. 13. 14. REASONABLE FIRST. job Now. Task detail. 8. all for the same item. task detail Direct department work ﬂow. Job. In the top-down approach. a procedural step.AND SECOND-CHOICE ANSWERS Sign purchase orders. Task detail. Task. which we will call bottom-up and top-down. Task. (Purchasing ﬂoor maintenance equipment could reasonably be labeled a task statement. task Schedule worker vacations. Task. Task detail. The analyst asks questions about the nature of the work. Task. 7. the analyst starts with an existing or newly written job description and then interviews the job holders and their supervisors. Here are my answers: ACTIVITY 1. task detail Repair machinery. signing purchase orders. in most work. Task detail. task Analyze and report data. task detail Print pictures from a ﬁle of digital images. Task. job Return customer calls. Task. the kinds of activities required. 4. and the amount of time spent on each. 2. 6. how do you produce a task inventory? There are two approaches. task Remove a molder part from its mold.) Yet signing purchase orders in a particular purchasing job that entails a complex process of purchase approvals could be elevated to the task level. signing a purchase order is.
3. Inspect and protect ﬁnished products. Apply laminates. Among other . 5. 8. Later. 7. Task Inventory Job or program: Location: Department: Analyst: Effective date: Cancels sheet dated: Approved by: Vinyl Laminator Custom Kitchens. an example of a performance improvement proposal for the Acme International Shipping Department was presented. New clusters of details and new perceptions of tasks will likely be identified through observation. Set up work site. Rinehart (month/day/year) (month/day/year or “None”) (signature) Tasks 1. ACME INTERNATIONAL—TASK INVENTORY FOR THE JOB OF SHIPPER The Acme International case study in Chapter 3 briefly described an organization suffering from performance problems. Cut laminates to size.148 Documenting Workplace Expertise holder consider all the tasks. 2. Estimate and order materials. 4. in Chapter 6. This method of self-reporting produces a fairly accurate task inventory with a minimal investment of time. Inc. Clean up work area. Develop work order plans. Lamination Department A. a task inventory produced in the top-down manner will usually be revised after the detailed task analysis is performed. Gathering the details of a speciﬁc work behavior by observing the performer at work results in a much greater level of understanding of the task than does eliciting details through interviews. Trim laminates. Apply adhesives. 6. Therefore. 9. not just the most obvious ones.
Paul. 3. the proposal reflected a decision to solidify the job of shipper and to train all the incumbents in this position. Systems tasks are made up of interlocking dimensions of work tasks around people–hardware systems or people–knowledge systems that are not usually observable. Pack and load seat cover order. You will become more familiar with these three classifications after reading Chapters 13. Perform as shipping team member. The description of the job of shipper was presented in Chapter 10. Please review the . Procedural tasks are made up of people–thing work behaviors that are highly observable and step by step. 6. Identiﬁcation of the appropriate task-detailing tool(s) for each task should become part of the task inventory. Clean shipping department. Monitor and troubleshoot shipping operations. and 15. 7. For example. Shipping Department C. Minn. 5. the ﬁrst task— “Prepare seat cover order”—is best analyzed using the procedural task analysis method and should be coded as such. 14. Knowledge tasks are made up of work behaviors requiring more general methods. Communicate order status to customers. Process seat cover order.Developing Task Inventories 149 things. Prepare seat cover order. concepts and theories as they relate to people–idea and people–people work behaviors. Kotschevar (month/day/year) (month/day/year or “None”) (signature) Tasks 1. 2. Each task from the task inventory is to be detailed later and documented with one or more of the three task-detailing tools: procedural task analysis (see Chapter 13). The following is the task inventory for this job: Task Inventory Job or program: Location: Department: Analyst: Effective date: Cancels page dated: Approved by: Shipper St. system task analysis (see Chapter 14). or knowledge task analysis (see Chapter 15). 4.
. One more important point is that some tasks can be cross-functional. Clean shipping department Procedure ✓ CHECKPOINT 䊐 In Chapter 10. Very rarely is a job made up of tasks that are all one type. In this instance. Procedure 4. Procedure 3. If you like. and (4) active. Procedure 2. Perform as a shipping team member. Task Inventory Job or program: Location: Department: Analyst: Effective date: Cancels page dated: Approved by: Shipper St. and two knowledge. Process seat cover order. Monitor and troubleshoot shipping operations. (2) intermediate. one systems. using the method of self-reporting. The analyst makes the decision as to whether the work behaviors are embedded with tasks or whether they are pervasive enough to justify their own status as a task.150 Documenting Workplace Expertise appropriate task analysis coding for the shipper job tasks on the following task inventory. Shipping Department C. While the ﬁrst three shipper tasks are sequential. Because you will need this task inventory to do an exercise in a later chapter. In a similar way. System 5. Knowledge 6. it is important that you complete it and that it meets the four criteria of being (1) comprehensive. construct a task inventory for your job. you wrote your own job description. Pack and load seat cover order. you can use the task inventory form in the appendix. “Perform as shipping team member” (task 6). cuts across all the tasks. The job of shipper has seven tasks—four procedural. Kotschevar (month/day/year) (month/day/year or “None”) (signature) Tasks Task Analysis Plan 1. (3) discrete. Prepare seat cover order. Knowledge 7. Communicate order status to customers. Minn. “Monitor and troubleshoot shipping operations” (task 4) cuts across all the other tasks. Paul. Now. you are both the analyst and the subject expert.
____ Yes ____ No Comments Intermediate? ____ All The task unit or work activity is ____ Some intermediate in speciﬁcity between ____ None that of the job cluster or function and that of a step-by-step procedure or detailed aspect of the job. ____ All ____ Some ____ None Chances are. The concept of task detailing versus task identiﬁcation will be clariﬁed in the next chapter. Discrete? Each task is distinguishable from the others and has a deﬁnite beginning and ending. it was the core activity or intermediate criterion. it may be reasonable to use the . rather than to produce two separate documents. TIPS FOR THE ANALYST Thus far. Job Title: ________________________________________________ Task inventory criteria Success Comprehensive? All work activity ﬁts into one of the inventoried tasks. Finding the right level of speciﬁcity takes practice. and write four statements about how your task inventory performance measured up. The next step is to evaluate your task inventory using the four criteria. But when a job is simple and the tasks are limited. When the job is complex. Rate your success in complying with each criterion. it may be reasonable to include the task inventory in an expanded job description. you can come back to this point and revise your task inventory as needed. After you learn more about detailed task analysis in Chapters 13 to 15. work expertise has been documented at two levels: job description and task inventory. ____ All ____ Some ____ None Active? Each task statement has an action verb and the object of the action. if you experienced difﬁculty in meeting one of the criteria. there will be two of you.Developing Task Inventories 151 On the job.
Figure 11. CONCLUSION Task inventories have enormous utility for performance improvement professionals. The skilled analyst brings to the analysis task clear criteria. Are they current or are they outdated? For what purpose were they produced? Hiring? Training? Who wrote them? The incumbent? The supervisor? An analyst? Are they accurate? You may discover that these job descriptions ﬁt the criteria for job descriptions and task inventories and that they may be used as is. training. or industrial engineering departments. Be sure to question the relevance of these documents to your task. and a willingness to seek the knowledge of the subject experts— a good combination for documenting work expertise. job performance aids. At least two people become involved in producing the job description and task inventory. by deﬁnition. Experts. For example. Should the analyst use the job descriptions and task inventories that already exist in the organization? By all means procure these documents. They are critical in bridging between the organizational. an inquisitive mind.152 Documenting Workplace Expertise clusters of work activities to organize the job tasks. Supervisors can be either more or less aware of the details of the work than are those they supervise. Your interviews with these people can be complemented with existing job descriptions. they can’t necessarily recall the detailed work that they take for granted.2 is a task inventory for a research and development team leader in a high-technology medical company. and individual levels of performance. you will ﬁnd that they are outdated and were written for purposes of hiring or compensation. Here you see speciﬁc work tasks listed under organizers such as project planning and project execution. While subject experts are a critical resource in producing quality general work analyses. the skill of the analyst in asking the right questions—the “dumb” questions. You will find them filed in the human resources. task inventories. process. and the insightful questions—is equally important. the leading questions. Tasks are fundamentally connected to organizational and process level performance . are so competent that they use their subconscious minds to perform work behaviors. The most likely subject experts are the job holders and their direct supervisors. These are the analyst and the subject expert. At the conscious level. More likely. team. and training manuals.
Track budget and schedule milestones 25. Make decisions 21. Maintain project records Knowledge Knowledge Knowledge Knowledge Knowledge System/Knowledge Procedure Progress Monitoring 23. Facilitate cross-functional communication 7. Communicate decisions to stakeholders 4. Develop understanding of business opportunity and ability of Scimed to capitalize on it 9. Ensure implementation of organizational policies and procedures 17. Make recommendations to Project Investment Board (PIB) Knowledge Knowledge System/Knowledge System/Knowledge System/Knowledge Knowledge Knowledge Project Execution 15. Manage execution of all project tasks 16. Lead a product development team Knowledge Communication 2. Notify PIB of variances 5. Conduct product development ﬁnancial analysis 13. Develop Integrated Business Plan (IBP) 14. Communicate expectations to core team members 6. Manage product development risks* (analyzed this task) 22. Deﬁne scope of project 10. Develop the project plan 11. Develop resource plan 12.Developing Task Inventories 153 Job or Program: Core Team Leader Location: Boston Department: Cross-departmental Analyst: Laird McLean Page 1 of 2 Effective Date: month/day/year Cancels Page Dated: N/A Approved By: Camille Kotschevar Tasks Task Analysis Plan Leadership 1. Monitor progress against project contract 26. Track project-related issues 24. Resolve project-related issues 20. Deﬁne issues. Perform problem analysis (root cause) 19. Develop relationships Knowledge Knowledge Procedure Knowledge Knowledge Knowledge Project Planning 8. Monitor prelaunch metrics Procedure Procedure System System Knowledge Figure 11. Develop communication plan 3.2 Task inventory for R&D team leader in a high-tech medical company . and opportunities 18. problems.
154 Documenting Workplace Expertise Job or Program: Core Team Leader Location: Boston Department: Cross-departmental Analyst: Laird McLean Page 2 of 2 Effective Date: month/day/year Cancels Page Dated: N/A Approved By: Camille Kotschevar Tasks Review Management 27.2 Task inventory for R&D team leader in a high-tech medical company (continued) requirements. The next three chapters will show you how to use task detailing documentation tools. jobs are most often designed in terms of how the tasks ﬁt one another rather than how the tasks relate to the organization. An option was to create a task inventory to reference the work tasks to organizational processes instead of jobs. Most tasks can be analyzed by using just one. Provide input to core team members’ performance reviews 36. In the next chapter. Initiate core team membership changes as required Task Analysis Plan System Knowledge Knowledge Knowledge Knowledge Knowledge Knowledge Knowledge Knowledge Knowledge Knowledge Figure 11. Coordinate reviews 28. Three task analysis detailing tools are presented: procedural task analysis. Provide feedback to core team members on performance 37. systems task analysis. These more focused tools are used to detail and document what a person needs to know and be able to do to perform specific job tasks. All three documentation tools are not always needed to analyze each task. prepare for. some require more. Resolve or assist in resolving team/functional conﬂicts 35. In general. Conduct business reviews with Project Investment Board 31. Even so. Conduct design control reviews with Project Investment Board 32. and knowledge task analysis. . Conduct functional reviews with functional management 30. Also. Resolve assigned action items from business reviews 29. I describe the process for documenting process-referenced tasks. knowing that people work in teams to oversee processes suggests that processed-referenced tasks are an important consideration. Manage team meetings 34. and conduct interim reviews with Project Investment Board Team management 33. The following chapter shows how this is done. each work task will require one of the three task detailing tools. Identify need for. Organizations are increasingly using processes rather than jobs as major organizers.
Meeting and maintaining workforce expertise requirements that are 155 . WORKPLACE EXPERTISE Herling (1998) characterizes human expertise as a complex and multifaceted phenomenon. This chapter goes beyond the traditional job and task inventory approach to referencing and documenting work tasks in the context of work processes instead of jobs—a process-referenced task inventory approach. He deﬁnes human expertise as displayed behavior within a specialized domain and/or related domain in the form of consistently demonstrated actions of an individual which are both optimally efﬁcient in their execution and effective in their results.12 Documenting Process-Referenced Tasks Workplace Expertise Process Orientation Case Example of Process-Referenced Tasks Conclusion T he contemporary management literature describes the struggle organizations have in connecting their leadership roles and organizational systems to intellectual capital and workplace expertise of individual contributors—the fuel of an organization.
At the other end of the thinking. Developing a list of tasks that are performed in a job 2. this approach works.and taskoriented approaches to defining workplace expertise and have relied on multiple analysis procedures (Brannick & Levine. 2002. but they may need to be used more aggressively. Swanson. The outcome is task and expertise analyses that are grounded in the present. 1996). 1995. . Analyzing precisely what a person needs to know and be able to do to meet a speciﬁed performance standard for each task Fundamentally. Essentially they all contain three basic steps: 1. In stable environments. how do you analyze them? There are suggestions in the literature that ﬂexible job models that allow organizations to manage competencies—not jobs—are necessary. and task expertise are not stable and changing rapidly? In today’s ever-changing world. The assumption here is that traditional thinking and analysis methods are OK. Fine & Cronshaw. Traditional Job/Task Approach to Expertise Organizations have for the most part embraced the job. current work practices. Competency-Based Approach to Expertise Competency assessment is one approach to overcome some of the limitations of traditional job analysis (Dubois. job analysis methodologies address work tasks as core organizers that can be grouped together to constitute a job or that can be individually detailed for greater understanding. Verifying the task inventory as a valid representation of the job 3. some organizations take the position that jobs must be designed to be indeterminate and ﬂexible. work tasks. 1993. Maintaining this ill-defined state has severe performance consequences.156 Documenting Workplace Expertise connected to organization goals and core work process requirements are a fundamental challenge to organizations. One response has been to schedule the task analyses within a shorter time cycle so that job analyses reﬂect changes in jobs. These approaches are familiar to most human resource management professionals and are driven by federal law in many cases. As a result. job responsibilities and requirements can change and shift quickly. What happens. the custom is often to use existing job structures. if jobs. In practice. however. Holton. and current employees as the frame with which to determine those work task requirements.
the sales process was a core work process . and improved is deemed essential for improving performance.Documenting Process-Referenced Tasks 157 1999). Although varying in approaches. In some cases. The business goal focused on increasing sales in a changing and competitive environment. However. The methodologies and tools of process improvement have generally been proven to be quite effective (see Chapter 7). PROCESS ORIENTATION The notion of continuously improving organizational processes has become deeply ingrained in organizations. To the extent that competencies are more likely to be stable than job tasks. particularly in the realm of deﬁning the speciﬁc expertise (not general competencies) and the details of what is required to perform. steps 1 and 2 of the three listed are skipped. the only difference being that work tasks are analyzed for underlying competencies as opposed to jobrequired knowledge and expertise. CASE EXAMPLE OF PROCESS-REFERENCED TASKS The profile of the case study reported is of an actual company. Competencies are generally deﬁned as some underlying characteristics of an employee that enables that person to perform the job or task. Because it is an underlying characteristic and one step removed from the tasks themselves. Mapping process-referenced tasks is the primary focus of this chapter. it is a more flexible approach that can be used to select and develop employees across multiple jobs. one problem with process improvement strategies is that they often have weak links to specifying and developing the expertise required to function in the process. Competency models and expertise models are both job based and therefore operate under the same assumptions outlined here and are subject to the same criticisms related to change. Competency models generally proceed in the same fundamental steps as the job analysis model. and experts are simply used to create competency lists. A basic assumption here is that worker expertise should be focused on the tasks related to core processes in the organization. analyzed. the idea that processes should be identified. In this case. Yet. they still fall short for all situations. they are an improvement. This is particularly the case in broad occupational analysis (not job and task analysis).
Specify Process-Referenced Tasks A documented work process was displayed through an integrated flowchart showing the people working in the process (see Chapter 7) and the new process-referenced tasks that can be held individually or shared. Knowledge) Specifying process-referenced tasks is relatively simple. Drafting task standards for each task—in the forms of (1) the performance “measure . several highly related steps were clustered into a process-referenced task. The general steps of the performance diagnosis process were followed. The determination of the process-referenced tasks was carried out by a team of company experts—a select group of salespeople. a task name was given the grouping of steps. and the performance improvement proposal speciﬁed the need for documenting and improving the sales process. When this occurred. Diagnose the Performance Based on a rigorous analysis. Figure 12. In most instances.158 Documenting Workplace Expertise needing revision and realignment in relation to the business goal and the workforce expertise. Expertise. yet fundamental in connecting work tasks to core work process(es)—something regularly missing in organizations and a source of performance breakdowns. a single step was equivalent to a task. This case clearly illustrates the need for new approaches to analyzing and building workplace expertise in fastchanging competitive environments. This improvement was needed because the existing sales process was incapable of meeting the strategic business goals of timeliness and the quality features necessary to retain market share. Given the improved sales process. sales managers. This identiﬁcation is relatively easy.1 graphically characterizes this process of creating process-referenced tasks. the review team clustered ﬁftytwo sales process steps into tasks attributable to one or more of the nine job roles in the sales process. and sales support personnel—along with the performance improvement team leader. Establish Process-Referenced Task Standards (Performance. the need for this total effort was fully substantiated in the performance improvement proposal. In some instances.
Process—Referenced Tasks for Job 5 10 X X X X X X X X 12 13 14 15 X X X X 16 17 X X X X 18 19 X X X X X X X X Task 1 11 X X X X 9 X X Job 4. 4 X X X X X 17 18 X X X X 19 20 21 22 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X Workers within Process 1 Job 1.1 Process-referenced task identiﬁcation Task 3 X X X Task 4 X X 20 21 22 Documenting Process-Referenced Tasks 159 (Process Activities over Time— “As It Is Now”) . 10 X X X X X X 11 12 13 14 15 16 X X X X 9 X X Job 4. Job 5. 4 X Job 2. Job 3.Workers within Process 1 Job 1. X Flowchart Steps of a Major Business Process “A” Integrating Six Jobs 2 3 X Job 2. Job 3. X Improved Flowchart Steps of a Major Business Process “A” Integrating the Six Jobs 2 5 6 X 7 8 X X Job 6. 5 6 X 7 8 X X X X X Job 6. Job 5. 3 X X X X X X (Process Activities over Time—”As It Will Be”) Task 2 Figure 12.
process.2 Process-referenced task standards In many instances. with many Performance/Knowledge/Expertise Data Task # ឡ From integrated flowchart ឡ Unique and discrete ឡ Intermediate and reasonable size Task Name ឡ Action verb and object of action ឡ If already exists: Name (precisely) the document and pages ឡ If doesn’t exist: List or outline the content ឡ If already exists: Name (precisely) the document and pages ឡ If doesn’t exist: Describe the knowledge (custom-made measure source for possible measure paper and pencil? Other?) Task Expertise “Must Do” ឡ Describe the individual worker’s job task work performance (in terms of behaviors.160 Documenting Workplace Expertise and standard. In doing this work. One critical time-saving aspect to this effort is to identify existing documentation and sources of knowledge.” (2) the “must know” knowledge. participants in this process can be asked to bring along readily available relevant documentation to the process-referenced tasks under consideration for review and consideration during the work session. These sessions are generally very effective.2 can be used to record decisions. these three can be almost alike! Measure Content Task Knowledge “Must Know” . and measurement. and/or outcomes) ឡ If already exists: Name (precisely) the document and pages ឡ If doesn’t exist: Describe the measure Performance Measure and Standard ឡ What a worker must do. expertise. the data sheet shown in Figure 12. In fact. under what conditions and to what level Figure 12. and (3) the “must do” expertise—can be established while the team of internal experts are gathered.
The tasks can also be individually analyzed in terms of what a person must know and be able to do to perform each task. Having an official recorder of information so that no information is lost can be helpful. These highly charged sessions yielded critical basic information in the realms of performance standards. This detailed analysis requires tasks to be documented in detail using one of the three methods presented in the following three chapters. and unexpected sources of expertise and related job aids and training materials. and the team requested copies from them to use as core training aids. One example was the discovery that two particular sales personnel produced exceptional proposals. Even though a significant portion of the activity was in uncharted territory for the company. The next chapter covers the method of detailing procedural tasks—the tool for analyzing people–thing workplace expertise. Case Summary The process documentation of tasks in this case proved to be efﬁcient and effective. . the process perspective drew less resistance than analysis work that focuses on people at the top and those working in the organization. CONCLUSION With the process-referenced tasks identified.Documenting Process-Referenced Tasks 161 good ideas coming out quickly from the group. they can be distributed into job classiﬁcations (new or existing). basic knowledge.
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“Head north from the airport on Grand Avenue. Turn left on Park. The hotel clerk told them. Look for the Holly Hotel on the right side of the road. and uses of procedural task analysis. Cross over Route 28. elements.13 Detailing Procedural Tasks You Can’t Miss It! Elements of Procedural Task Analysis Process of Analyzing Procedural Tasks Blow Molder Operator: Analyzing Procedural Tasks Acme International—Procedural Task Analysis of Processing Seat Cover Orders Tips for the Analyst Conclusion P rocedural task analysis is a method of documenting “people–thing” type workplace expertise in terms of precisely what people are required to know and be able to do to perform the task. You can’t miss it!” 163 . Knowing only that their hotel was located on Park Avenue. YOU CAN’T MISS IT! A group of executives flew into a metropolitan area for a headquarters-sponsored seminar. The following small incident demonstrates the important principles. they called from the airport for directions.
164 Documenting Workplace Expertise The seminar group followed the instructions carefully and got thoroughly lost. One result of this exercise was an accurate map. The seminar leader–turned–analyst asked questions and watched landmarks pass by as they traveled. The few blocks that parallel Route 28 are called Frontage Road. and handling goods. and wrote. It’s ironic that the first topic on the seminar agenda was communication skills! The explanation for the mix-up seemed simple. a procedure analysis document for a single task can run for many pages. and he agreed. She wanted to prevent future embarrassments. a procedural task analysis should be developed for each task. Years ago. and wrong directions capped with a “You can’t miss it!” Later that day. Park Street was curved to parallel Route 28 until it joined Grand Avenue. and off they went. that is. the seminar leader asked whether the hotel clerk could show her how to get to the Holly Hotel from the airport. . Another was an awareness of the value of having the expert actually perform the work as the analyst asked key questions. If fifteen such tasks were listed for a job. have probably given or received concise. Sometimes the “obvious” is not obvious. It is impossible to accurately detail a work task without directly observing and engaging in the details of the task. too. the work involves people–thing interactions such as ﬁlling out forms. conﬁdent. Because no overpass had been provided for. questioned. the hotel staff call it Park Avenue—which to them it is. The seminar leader hopped into the car with the volunteer expert at the wheel. fifteen separate documents should be created. Procedural task analysis is the method to use for documenting work performed in a series of steps and substeps. using tools. Because all the steps to complete a task are documented. Yet. northsouth Park Street had been bisected by the new east-west Route 28. You. operating machines. observed. ELEMENTS OF PROCEDURAL TASK ANALYSIS A significant proportion of the knowledge and skill required to perform in the workplace is procedural. She asked questions such as the following: “Why did you turn here?” “What is the name of this street?” “Is this road heading due north?” “Have you ever gotten lost?” The expert responded and drove while the analyst listened. If all the job tasks on an inventory for a speciﬁc job are people–thing interactions.
Another expectation in detailing procedural tasks is that subject experts actually perform the work during the analysis. and other essential information.or herself as a subject expert. is likely to result in a procedure that drops workers off someplace else or gets them lost. Simply talking about the work without actually performing it. . Even if an analyst is relying on him. The procedural task analysis document is a multipage form. (2) honoring the criteria. and a pencil are required (or your electronic equivalent). the analyst should actually do the work as he or she documents it.1. A digital camera is recommended to capture the visual details. a paper pad. Without directly observing the work as it is taking place. safety. and so on. The ﬁnal version of a procedural task analysis is recorded in a special format on electronic or paper forms (see the appendix). PROCESS OF ANALYZING PROCEDURAL TASKS The process of documenting procedural tasks is portrayed in Figure 13. the direction to turn the bolt. how far. The analyst must record the precise details of the work task: the type and size of the wrench. (3) obtaining existing task analysis documents from inside or outside the organization. This effort saved a great deal of time. with the first page containing administrative. the analyst is likely to leave several important steps or pieces of information out of the analysis. In one organization I taught twelve expert employees the analysis of expertise tools from this book and they used the tools to document their own work tasks. Getting ready to do a procedural task analysis is easy—only a clipboard. as did the hotel clerk who gave directions over the telephone. Being accurate and complete is critical.Detailing Procedural Tasks 165 Developing a procedural task analysis typically requires two people: the subject expert and the analyst. An alternative is to teach the procedural task analysis process to subject experts so they can document their own tasks—thus serving as the subject expert and the analyst. (4) observing expert(s) actually performing the task while recording data. The process requires attention to detail: (1) judging the appropriateness of procedural analysis to the job task. even though upfront training and ﬁnal product debrieﬁng and editing were required. along with the initial procedural steps necessary to perform the task. and (5) drafting a task analysis document for review and approval. But ﬁrst it may be useful to look at the process of procedural task analysis and the documentation form on which to record the analysis.
” In most instances. The fact that the work was analyzed in the Minneapolis. understand. or troubleshoot).1 Analyzing procedural tasks The second page is a continuation sheet that is used repeatedly until all the details of the procedure have been recorded.” “page 2 of 5. or London office could be essential information. operate.2) contains some of the who. and approve analysis. when.166 Documenting Workplace Expertise Select job task(s). and where reference information that becomes more valuable as time passes and the analyst’s memory fades. Information from other Task Analyses Figure 13.2) helps the analyst think about the nature of the expertise required of the procedural task being documented (e. . as well as for a long-term historical perspective. Obtain existing task inventories.2 is an example of the ﬁrst page of the procedural analysis for the analyst’s job task of developing a procedural analysis. the form is simply “page 1” or “1. what. The substance of the organizational diagnosis and the resulting performance improvement proposal should have already made these performance requirement differences clear. Observe experts and record data. A set of ﬁve pages will be numbered “page 1 of 5. In addition.g.” and so on. in some companies. Heading The top section of the ﬁrst page of the form (see Figure 13. In this instance. It also contains the information needed to maintain complete and up-todate ﬁles. For current reference.. the job or program for which the analysis is being conducted should be recorded. the department name could be essential information. the Taxonomy of Performance (see Figure 2. Philadelphia. it would be reasonable to use many pages in detailing a single task. the technical know-how required of salespeople will differ from that required of the service-and-repair people who deal with the same product. Draft. review. For example. This is important because any analysis work is colored by the purpose for which it is done. Figure 13. The speciﬁc location is important in that the work systems in one site could be unique.
Swanson Analyst ________________________________ Aland Rinehart Approved By _________________________ 䳦 Task The task name. C–M B. Moderate. 2. C–D B. Affective.g. If you use “A.” C–E 3. Begin writing in the column to shape an outline form. Dominant learning domain: Cognitive. Figure 13.2 Example of ﬁrst page of procedural task analysis form . C–M Notes column: To identify a learning domain or a particularly difﬁcult task or “skill. C–E C. Second order headings are key points. wear safety glasses. D = difﬁcult. or Difﬁcult. Put these in the 1st order heading column.) Major Headings Subheadings Sequential Steps in Performing the Work Notes* 1.Detailing Procedural Tasks 167 Procedural Task Analysis Procedural Task Analysis Job or Program _________________________ Tyler. or Psychomotor. which further describe the step.. A. M = moderate. C–M *Learning domain: C = cognitive. care for fragile equipment. Learning difﬁculty: Easy. C–M A. These 2nd-order headings begin just right of the column. P = psychomotor. etc. Short statements on the performance of a task—begin with action words. TX Location _______________________________ 1 of ______ 1 Page ____ M/D/Y Effective Date ________________________ Human Resources Department ____________________________ None Cancels Sheet Dated __________________ R. Learning difﬁculty: E = easy. or explanations. A = affective.” C–D A. taken from the task inventory Performance Standard The end-result work performance standard for this task Safety and Other Cautions Safety precautions (e.” you must use “B.
it is best to establish the performance standard after the task has been detailed. listen. . If it exists. “Must wear safety glasses” and “Use heat-resistant gloves” are a few examples of items that could be entered here.” Procedural information is usually broken down into headings and subheadings. the replaces document dated line in the example indicates that this is an updated version of the procedure.0001 in less than 30 minutes. Next is the section for recording the performance standard for this task. First.168 Documenting Workplace Expertise In addition to the effective date that the procedural analysis is completed and approved. ﬁll. In this instance. install new grippers. The ﬁnal section at the top of the form offers space for recording cautionary items about safety and other essential points that should be highlighted. Depress the “inﬂate form” button and hold. B.” The performance standard can come from several sources. The identical number and words used to specify the task in the inventory should be repeated here. setting forming pressure requires several discrete activities. Finally. and adjust them to ±0. Once a task has been detailed. The next section of the ﬁrst page. C. Each statement begins with an action word like turn. task. An existing performance standard may be speciﬁed at the task level or as part of the job-level standards. Otherwise. set. For example. Set forming pressure to 30 to 35 pounds per square inch (psi). use it. the “Repair production-robot grippers” task example from Chapter 11 would be entered on the earlier task inventory form and on the procedural task analysis form. or compare. is the place to write a single task name and number from the task inventory. subheadings would be as follows: A. Here is a sample statement for setting air pressure on a production machine: “Set forming pressure to 30 to 35 pounds per square inch (psi). the performance standard will be revealed as part of the analysis. Sequential Steps The sequential steps for a procedure are written in the form of short statements describing the actual performance of a task. The performance standard for the robot gripper is as follows: “The technician is able to remove worn grippers. Release the “inﬂate form” button. For example. recording the names on the analyst and approved by lines enhances accountability and future communications. a workplace standard may already be in place to assess this work.
turn the adjusting knobs. taste. turn the ﬁnished part. one of the three domains is dominant. Almost any work performance involves a mix of cognitive (intellectual). you may want to redesign a boring task to make the work more challenging. Anyone with reasonable psychomotor control could push the parts in place. and so on. A little knowledge and the ability to make some fine sensory discrimination. This activity is psychomotor and is therefore coded P. This activity is coded C. a skilled worker moves rapidly through a series of assembly and adjustment procedures—all of which appear to be psychomotor behaviors but in fact are not. trip the start lever. You. Procedural work rarely calls on just a single domain.Detailing Procedural Tasks 169 The notes column on the procedural task analysis form allows space for recording vital information about the learning domain and the estimated difﬁculty of learning each procedural detail. The question to ask is this: “Are the differences between workers who are expert and those who are beginners primarily the result of knowing or not knowing something. . the analyst’s responsibility is to rate each sequential step in terms of learning domain and learning difﬁculty. But for now. ask what the worker is doing. Other psychomotor activities may include using fine discrimination with any of the senses of sight. smell. developed over years of experience. Deciding how difﬁcult a step is to learn is another matter. you may decide to offer additional practice time during training for difficult-to-learn tasks. Rather. having or not having certain attitudes. are at work here. In another instance. The worker’s cognitive ability to remember many sequential steps allows for speed in this procedure. or both. You rub your hand over the same part and feel nothing unusual. and touch. hearing. or being able or unable to make ﬁne sensory discriminations?” The answer will sometimes be surprising. in the role of the analyst. Be sure to make such judgments while you are close to the work. you can determine the learning domain. By asking questions about how one could perform the work improperly or by trying to do the task yourself. If you are a trainer. Consider the following example: An expert worker casually rubs a hand over a ﬁnely ﬁnished part and decides to stop and redo the work. If you are a manager. Having this information will help at a later time when you are trying to understand why workers are either bored or stuck in the learning/working process and how you should respond. affective (attitudinal). and psychomotor (sensory) domains.
The blow molder is a production machine for making such hollow plastic objects as bottles. It is important that you note the level of detail. Identifying the learning domain and the level of learning difﬁculty for each step.” This work task detail is an immediate follow-up to a dialed telephone number that was busy. Writing short statements of the performance 2. Did you notice that a drawing of a telephone was added to the procedural analysis for making a telephone call? Do you recall the efforts to produce an accurate map for getting from the metropolitan airport to the Holly Hotel? Sketches. and coin banks. and existing diagrams of equipment are critical additions to most procedural analyses. Variations among procedural analyses usually are found in the amount of detail cited in the sequential steps. and a digital camera are essential elements of the analyst’s support equipment.3. Most beginning analysts do not include enough detail. toys. To test your skills.170 Documenting Workplace Expertise Now let’s look at a completed procedural analysis for a simple task: making a telephone call (see Figure 13. complete the analysis and documentation of the telephone-calling task by adding the sequential steps require for “automatic redialing. . complete analysis of the procedural tasks of the blow molder operator. with the analyst misclassifying cognitive work as psychomotor work. Take heart! Experience will reduce these differences as you become a more expert analyst. A sketchpad. Beginning with action words 3. A second area of signiﬁcant difference will usually appear in the notes column. Take time to read this example carefully so that you can see the level of detail speciﬁed. ✓ CHECKPOINT 䊐 While you may not be ready to do a procedural task analysis. Remember that the procedural analysis criteria include the following: 1. you should be able to begin. this chapter includes an actual. photographs. BLOW MOLDER OPERATOR: ANALYZING PROCEDURAL TASKS To help you put the parts of a procedural analysis together. a photocopier. Using headings and subheadings 4.3). Add these details to the end of Exhibit 13.
Pick up the receiver. Location _______________________________ Customer Service Department ____________________________ G. Listen for dial tone (steady buzzing sound coming from earpiece). P–E B. A = affective. Take 1st number from phone number. C-shaped component on top of phone. ﬁnd the corresponding number on the keypad. Figure 13. Locate standard desk dial telephone (see drawing).3 Procedural analysis for making a telephone call . the customer will be able to call time and temperature and respond directly to either a ringing connection or a busy signal. C–E 3. Safety and Other Cautions None Major Headings Subheadings Sequential Steps in Performing the Work Notes* 1. P = psychomotor. M = moderate. and quickly release.Detailing Procedural Tasks 171 Procedural Task Analysis Telephone Equipment Job or Program _________________________ 1 of ______ 2 Page ____ South-East Telephone. Inc. Locate time and temperature telephone number (seven-digit number located in center of dial on phone body. Dial phone number. C–E 5. P–E 4. Learning difﬁculty: E = easy. Repeat step 5A with the second through seventh digit of the telephone number. P–E A. C–E 2. Put mouthpiece (with end cord coming from it) at your mouth and the earpiece at your ear. C–E A. P–E *Learning domain: C = cognitive. Then go to step 6. C–E B. D = difﬁcult. press ﬁrmly. Poor Analyst ________________________________ M/D/Y Effective Date ________________________ M/D/Y Cancels Page Dated ___________________ George Strother Approved By _________________________ Task Make a telephone call Performance Standard Given a desk-style push-button telephone and a telephone number.
If you hear a rapid buzzing sound. Subheadings Sequential Steps in Performing the Work Listen for a connection. M = moderate. D = difﬁcult.172 Documenting Workplace Expertise Procedural Task Analysis Task: Making a telephone call Telephone Equipment Job or Program _________________________ 2 of ______ 2 Page ____ South-East Telephone. Location _______________________________ M/D/Y Effective Date ________________________ Customer Service Department ____________________________ M/D/Y Cancels Page Dated ___________________ G. Learning difﬁculty: E = easy. Inc. A = affective. P = psychomotor. it means the line is busy.3 Procedural analysis for making a telephone call (continued) P–E C–E . Figure 13. Hang up (replace receiver on hook of base unit). 7. then go to step 7. wait until you hear a recording of the time and temperature. go to step 7. “CU”-shaped receiver Earpiece Key pad Mouthpiece Redial button Hold button Time & temperature number Receiver cord Notes* Base unit Standard Desk Telephone *Learning domain: C = cognitive. P–E A. Poor Analyst ________________________________ George Strother Approved By _________________________ Major Headings 6. If you hear an alternate clicking sound (1 second) and silence (2 seconds). B.
the blow molder converts plastic pellets into formed objects. and forming controls Figure 13. The plastic pellets are fed into the machine and melted.4. A description and illustration of the blow molder appear in Figure 13. The still-soft plastic tubing is ﬁlled with air and blown up to conform to the mold. molten plastic is extruded in the form of soft plastic tubing which is captured inside a two-piece mold. Then. Finished product out (safety door) Plastic pellets in Machine housing Blow molder Controls Base Inside Blow Molder Plastic Air Electrical controls Cylinder Heaters Molds Cylinder Cylinder pressure Mold clamp Extrusion Inflate Pneumatic. The mold is then opened and the plastic object removed.4 Blow Molder Forming pressure . extrusion. The plastic cools and sets in the shape of the mold.Detailing Procedural Tasks 173 By using heat and air.
c. b. The molding temperature set-screw must be _____ to raise the temperature. not necessary. 3. The drawing portion of the blow molder procedural tasks analysis is a. pressed in . Compare your answers with mine at the end of this checkpoint. electricity and air pressure.5 contains a procedural analysis for each of these tasks. The blow molder uses a. Shut down the blow molder. Use the procedural analysis in Figure 13. Figure 13. a. turned to the left c.174 Documenting Workplace Expertise The setup task is the ﬁrst of three tasks taken from the operator’s task inventory: Blow Molder Operator Task Inventory 1. 2. b. 3. c. psychomotor 2. Set up the blow molder. turned to the right b. crucial. PROCEDURAL TASK ANALYSIS QUESTIONS ON THE BLOW MOLDER 1. Operate the blow molder. To operate the blow molder primarily requires _____ behavior. a nice addition. ✓ CHECKPOINT 䊐 Answering the following six questions will help you assess your understanding of the setup procedure for the blow molder.5. affective c. electricity. cognitive b. To test your understanding. 4. air pressure. answer the questions that follow. a. Read the procedural analysis in this exhibit carefully.
b 6. Be aware that the casual behavior of an expert may fool even the most careful observer. Chapter 6 included a performance improvement proposal—the outcome of a performance diagnosis targeting the Acme Shipping Department. b. will most likely succeed. TIPS FOR THE ANALYST Procedural analysis is a fairly direct method of analyzing work expertise. The most complex aspect of setting up the blow molder appears to be a. but that is not enough. Whenever safe and appropriate. Careful observers usually do a good job of documenting procedural tasks. feed pellets into the hopper. Actually. a 2. In most cases. Those analysts who question skillfully. b. connecting the power sources. do both a and b. c. setting the temperature. “May I try doing that?” By experiencing the work. a 5. the expert analyst will ask. c 4. feed ﬁnished products away from the molds. Recommendations included revamping the job of shipper and training all the job incumbents. . as well as observe.Detailing Procedural Tasks 175 5. doing the work often highlights the need for reducing the analysis to ﬁner steps and substeps.6 provides an analysis of that task. One of the seven tasks on the inventory was “Process seat cover order” (task 2). The description of the job of shipper was incorporated in Chapter 10. 6. a ACME INTERNATIONAL—PROCEDURAL TASK ANALYSIS OF PROCESSING SEAT COVER ORDERS The Acme International case study presented in Chapter 3 provided a glimpse of an organization in the midst of confronting performance problems. Answers: 1. c 3. setting the air pressure. Figure 13. the analyst will either clarify each step or find many new questions to ask about the work. The skilled analyst gently probes for what the worker is doing and why. c. the task inventory for this job was presented in Chapter 11. what you see is what you record. The purpose of the funnel is to a.
Learning difﬁculty: E = easy. P = psychomotor. Bishop Approved By _________________________ Task Set up the blow molder Performance Standard The operator will set up the blow molder for production of banks with the air pressure and temperature within tolerances. P–M Place funnel in top of the molder. Connect the power plug to a 110 VAC power source. Located on left side of machine. 2. P–E A. Machine becomes hot while setting up. D = difﬁcult. Insure that the funnel is properly seated in the feed hopper. Power and heater light will glow. Wear safety glasses. Figure 13. Turn power switch “on. C–E B. M = moderate. Pull back on air connector while pushing into the machine air intake connection (located on rear left side of machine). and shutdown of the blow molder .5 Procedural analysis of the setup. C–E 3. Connect air supply to intake connection. C–E B.176 Documenting Workplace Expertise Procedural Task Analysis Blow molder operator Job or Program _________________________ 1 of ______ 3 Page ____ Tyler Plastics Location _______________________________ M/D/Y Effective Date ________________________ Production Department ____________________________ M/D/Y Cancels Page Dated ___________________ J. Martelli Analyst ________________________________ C.” C–E A. Allow 15–20 minutes for warm-up. Safety and Other Cautions 1. A = affective. P–E B. Opening for the funnel is in center on the top surface of the molder. Major Headings Subheadings Sequential Steps in Performing the Work Notes* 1. 4. A. operation. P–E *Learning domain: C = cognitive. C–E 2.
D. C/P–E P–E Set “forming pressure” to 30–35 lbs.Detailing Procedural Tasks 177 Procedural Task Analysis Task: Set up the blow molder Blow molder operator Job or Program _________________________ 2 of ______ 3 Page ____ Tyler Plastics Location _______________________________ Production Department ____________________________ J. 6. D = difﬁcult. If temp. then continue with 8C. Turn black dial under cylinder pressure valve until gauge above it reads 75–95 lbs. P–E B. Place “hold clamp” lever in “open” position and hold. go to 10. is over 400° and heater light is on or off. B. M = moderate. C. operation. If temp. go to 9. C–E A. A. Subheadings M/D/Y Cancels Page Dated ___________________ C. A = affective. wait until temperature light goes off. it is ready for production. If temp. B. A. C/P–E C–E C–M C–E C–E C–E C–E C–E *Learning domain: C = cognitive. Add the pellets slowly to avoid plugging the hopper. is under 350° and heater light is off. Learning difﬁculty: E = easy. 7. 8. P = psychomotor. A. and shutdown of the blow molder (continued) . Turn black knob under forming pressure gauge until the gauge reads 30–35 lbs. Martelli Analyst ________________________________ M/D/Y Effective Date ________________________ Major Headings 5. is between 350° and 400° and heater light is off. Read temperature gauge in left side of power switch. C–E Set cylinder pressure to 74–95 lbs. B. Depress the “inﬂate form” button and hold. Release the “inﬂate form” button. Fill funnel 5/8 full. If temperature is under 350° and heater light is on. Figure 13. C/P–E C–E C/P–E Set molding temperature to 350°–400°F. E.5 Procedural analysis of the setup. Bishop Approved By _________________________ Sequential Steps in Performing the Work Notes* Fill funnel with polyethylene pellets. C.
repeat 10A–D. C–E D. repeat 9A–D until 350°–400° is reached with heater light off. Place a ﬂat blade screwdriver in hole by upper left corner of temp. is above 400°. down to 350°–400°. P–M B. A = affective. F. P = psychomotor. P–M B. and shutdown of the blow molder (continued) . the more you turn. M = moderate. gauge. Wait for temp. Learning difﬁculty: E = easy. Notes* C/P–M A. C/P–M C/P–M A. Slowly turn temperature set screw clockwise until heater light comes on. Slowly turn temperature set screw counterclockwise until heater light goes off. the more you turn. repeat 9A–D.5 Procedural analysis of the setup. If temp.178 Documenting Workplace Expertise Procedural Task Analysis Task: Set up the blow molder Blow molder operator Job or Program _________________________ 3 of ______ 3 Page ____ Tyler Plastics Location _______________________________ Production Department ____________________________ J. Martelli Analyst ________________________________ M/D/Y Effective Date ________________________ Major Headings 9. is between 350°–400°. E. Set temp. up to 350°–400°. Figure 13. machine is ready for production. C–E *Learning domain: C = cognitive. C–E D. 10. When temp. is under 350°. P–D C. If temp. Place a ﬂat-blade screwdriver in hole by upper-left corner of temp. will drop. is below 350°. Bishop Approved By _________________________ Sequential Steps in Performing the Work Set temp. Subheadings M/D/Y Cancels Page Dated ___________________ C. D = difﬁcult. to drop and stabilize for one minute. the lower the temp. If temp. operation. P–D C. will increase. gauge. the more the temp. Wait until heater light goes off.
Notes* P–E C–E P–E P–E 2. Extrude parison from machine (hot plastic sleeve squeezing C/P–M out of die). C–E 5. Learning difﬁculty: E = easy. and shutdown of the blow molder (continued) .Detailing Procedural Tasks 179 Procedural Task Analysis Blow molder operator Job or Program _________________________ 1 of ______ 2 Page ____ Tyler Plastics Location _______________________________ M/D/Y Effective Date ________________________ Production Department ____________________________ M/D/Y Cancels Page Dated ___________________ J. Slide plastic door on right side of machine open for access to mold. Observe parison extruding from the die (small P–M metal ring forming the parison) between the mold. Obtain “ramrod” (dowel rod). P = psychomotor. Close plastic door completely. Bishop Approved By _________________________ Task Operate the blow molder Performance Standard The operator will produce acceptable quality banks at the established rate. B. Subheadings Sequential Steps in Performing the Work Untrap feed hopper (sucking sound if plastic pellets are trapped). P–M C–E P–M 4. Apply sparingly. Major Headings 1. When bottom tip of parison reaches bottom of C–M mold. operation. A. A = affective. Spray both halves. D = difﬁcult. Martelli Analyst ________________________________ C. release the extrude handle. A. Place extrusion handle in “feed” position and C/P–E hold. This allows any plugging in the funnel to untrap and continue plastic feed. Place end in funnel and gently push up and down in funnel/hopper. B. Lubricate mold cavity with silicon spray.5 Procedural analysis of the setup. B. C. Wear safety glasses and heat resistant glove on one hand. *Learning domain: C = cognitive. A. M = moderate. Figure 13. C–E 3. C. Safety and Other Cautions Machine is hot during operation—avoid touching hot surfaces.
Fill hopper slowly to avoid jamming hopper. D. A.5 Procedural analysis of the setup. Remove the object. P–E A–E P–E A–E P–E 10. Repeat steps 4–12 to maintain production. C/P–M *Learning domain: C = cognitive. B. Wait 20 more seconds. Martelli Analyst ________________________________ M/D/Y Effective Date ________________________ Major Headings Subheadings M/D/Y Cancels Page Dated ___________________ C. pellets. B. B. Learning difﬁculty: E = easy. Bishop Approved By _________________________ Sequential Steps in Performing the Work Notes* 6. C/P–E C/P–E C–E 8. Untrap feed hopper. Fill 5/8 full. Wear glove. Put object in parts bin. D = difﬁcult. Gently grab object with gloved hand.E. A. P–E 11. P = psychomotor. C/P–E 7. P–E 9. Obtain ramrod. Place end in funnel and gently push up and down to untrap P. Then release. Pull down and twist until object comes off of die.180 Documenting Workplace Expertise Procedural Task Analysis Task: Operate the blow molder Blow molder operator Job or Program _________________________ 2 of ______ 2 Page ____ Tyler Plastics Location _______________________________ Production Department ____________________________ J. A. A. Slide plastic door open. Form object. operation. P–E C–E P–E 13. Fill hopper with P. B.E. Figure 13. Turn hold clamp lever to open position. Place “hold clamp” in close position and wait four seconds. and shutdown of the blow molder (continued) . P–E A–E P–E 12. material. A = affective. C. Depress “inﬂate form” bottom and hold for 15–20 seconds. M = moderate.
Clean off machine with brush. C–E C–E C–E C–E 5. Figure 13. Place “hold clamp” lever in open position. Safety and Other Cautions Machine is hot—use caution. B. Unplug power cord. Bishop Approved By _________________________ Task Shut down the blow molder Performance Standard The operator will properly shut down the molder according to department procedures. Release “hold clamp” lever. A.5 Procedural analysis of the setup. M = moderate. Turn black dial under cylinder pressure valve counter-clockwise until pressure reads 0. P–E *Learning domain: C = cognitive. P = psychomotor. C–E 3. Release button. Martelli Analyst ________________________________ M/D/Y Effective Date ________________________ M/D/Y Cancels Page Dated ___________________ C. B. Turn black knob under forming pressure until valve reads 0. Remove ﬁnal part from mold. and shutdown of the blow molder (continued) . operation. C–E 6. D = difﬁcult. C/P–M C/P–M P–E Release forming pressure. A. A = affective. A–E 4. Major Headings Subheadings Sequential Steps in Performing the Work Notes* 1. Learning difﬁculty: E = easy. Shut off power switch. C. Wear safety glasses.Detailing Procedural Tasks 181 Procedural Task Analysis Blow molder operator Job or Program _________________________ 1 of ______ 1 Page ____ Tyler Plastics Location _______________________________ Production Department ____________________________ J. Disconnect air supply. P–E 2. C. Release cylinder pressure. P–M 7. Depress “inﬂate form” button.
Major Headings 1. Obtain an adequate number of shipping containers to pack order for shipment. M = moderate. (2) “Standard” shipment is delivered within 2–3 days of order. (See appendix to Procedure Analysis entitled Order Ticket. C–E *Learning domain: C = cognitive. Minn. Location _______________________________ Shipping Department ____________________________ R. Subheadings Sequential Steps in Performing the Work Notes* Review Order Ticket for speciﬁcations of the order to be shipped. Note quantity of seat covers ordered under “Total Parts Ordered. Note: Layout of parts inventory is designed to prevent shipper lifting injuries and minimize the mishandling of parts. A = affective. Note seat cover style (two style options = bucket seat. C–E C–E C–E C–E C–E C–E C–E C–E C–E 3. Figure 13. cloth.6 Analysis of a shipper’s procedural task . B. Safety and Other Cautions 1. Information on the Order Ticket is arranged to match the layout of warehouse inventory (see appendix photos). Parts located together in the warehouse are listed together on the Order Ticket (page 3). deluxe). Learning difﬁculty: E = easy. Retain Order Ticket and marking pen for use throughout ordering process. Note seat cover fabric (three fabric options = vinyl. Paul.” B. Obtain ﬂatbed cart to transport shipping containers from the lowest-level part bin. The layout of the inventory in the warehouse is arranged such that the heaviest parts are stored on the lowest warehouse shelves and the lightest parts are on the highest shelves. A. Follow safe lift-truck and cart operation procedures. D = difﬁcult. C. (1) “Priority” shipment is delivered within 24 hours of order.182 Documenting Workplace Expertise Procedural Task Analysis Shipper Job or Program _________________________ 1 of ______ 3 Page ____ St. C–E 4. D. C. 2.) A. 2. Torraco Analyst ________________________________ Effective Date ________________________ None Cancels Page Dated ___________________ Department head Approved By _________________________ Task Process seat cover order Performance Standard The shipper will process orders accurately (at 95% accuracy or higher) and in a timely manner (30 or more completed orders per day). P = psychomotor. C–M Obtain supplies and equipment needed to process order. Follow proper lifting procedures. bench seat). Note delivery speed desired by customer.
A. Substituted —Quantity. Send shipping containers to warehouse loading area. (1) Activate conveyor belt (if belt is stationary). A. Record exact number of parts substituted under “Part No. A = affective. M = moderate. Location _______________________________ M/D/Y Effective Date ________________________ Shipping Department ____________________________ None Cancels Page Dated ___________________ R. B. Record the parts selected on the Order Ticket. Insure that part number of seat cover selected corresponds to customer order.” B. Circle any out-of-stock part numbers for which substitution was required. E.Detailing Procedural Tasks 183 Procedural Task Analysis Task: Process seat cover order Shipper Job or Program _________________________ 2 of ______ 3 Page ____ St. Shipped—Quantity. Figure 13. A. C. (3) Press green button to begin conveyor belt movement. Paul. *Learning domain: C = cognitive. Torraco Analyst ________________________________ Department head Approved By _________________________ Major Headings 5. Locate parts bin that corresponds to part number of seat cover ordered. Minn. D. Select part from bin and place it in shipping container. Select parts by following sequence of parts as listed on Order Ticket. (1) Proceed from left to right on Order Ticket. Place shipping containers ﬁlled from upper-level shelves on conveyor belt. Place shipping containers ﬁlled from lower-level shelves on ﬂatbed cart. Transport ﬂatbed cart to warehouse loading area. Subheadings Sequential Steps in Performing the Work Select parts from inventory. 6. Repeat steps 5B–5E for all parts listed on Order Ticket. F. C. B. P = psychomotor. labeling. Refer to Shipper task analysis Pack and Load Seat Cover Order for packing. refer to Troubleshooting task analysis. D = difﬁcult. ﬁnal inspection.6 Analysis of a shipper’s procedural task (continued) Notes* C–E C–E C–E P–E C/P–E C–E C–M C–E C–E C–E C–E C–E P–E C–E C–E C–E P–E P–E C–E . 8.” C. 7. and loading procedures. If part ordered by customer is out-of-stock. Record exact number of parts selected under “Part No. (2) Press black button to start motor and activate motion warning system. Learning difﬁculty: E = easy. (2) Proceed from top to bottom on Order Ticket.
Substituted—Quantity Part No. ______________________ Customer Account No.184 Documenting Workplace Expertise Page 3 of 3 ACME International ACME International ACME International ACME International Order Ticket CUSTOMER DATA Customer: ______________________________ Customer Tel.6 Analysis of a shipper’s procedural task (continued) . ___________________ Date Order Received:___________________ Customer Address: ______________________ Order Received by:_____________________ SHIPPING DATA Shipping Mode: (circle one) Ground Transport Air Transport International Air Date Order Filled: ______________________ Delivery Carrier: (circle one) ACME UPS Other Date Order Shipped: ___________________ Delivery Speed: (circle one) Priority (within 24 hours) Standard (within 2–3 days) Shipper’s Name: _______________________ ORDER DATA Part No. No. Shipped—Quantity Total Parts Shipped: ______ Figure 13. Ordered—Quantity Total Parts Ordered: ______ Part No.
which focuses on people–thing work expertise. In this case. is used to describe usual work behaviors under normal conditions. The operator is facing a systems problem. consulting a procedural analysis for normal operation will not be particularly helpful. Let’s assume that the machine is neither worn nor broken but that the product is blemished or poorly formed. Understanding such systems processes and how to troubleshoot failing systems—information systems and hardware systems—is dealt with in the next chapter. All is not well. What happens when the blow molder operator experiences production problems? If the machine breaks. Perhaps the machine is sending abnormal messages through its dials and indicators or is emitting an unusual odor. But abnormal conditions are certain to arise at least some of the time. Systems task analysis is an essential skill of the performance analyst because he or she must know how to document work expertise that involves systems. . Many work procedures that have broken down or are in trouble do not necessarily involve information systems or decisionmaking systems. not a procedural problem. the maintenance crew will handle the situation. If the machine lacks the capacity to produce the number of parts. People–system workplace expertise requires that the operator understand the processes involved in the system and be able to troubleshoot the system. management will handle the situation.Detailing Procedural Tasks 185 CONCLUSION Procedural task analysis.
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can stop us in our tracks. Even everyday nonwork systems can illustrate this point. both technical and information based. Procedural tasks no longer prevail in the workplace. it is now dominated by work systems and system work tasks that have become increasingly complex and abstract.14 Detailing System Tasks Puzzled and Out of Control No More “Good Old Days” Process of Analyzing System Tasks System Description Systems Parts and Purposes Process Analysis Troubleshooting Analysis Purchase Order System Case Study—The Voilà Company Acme International—Analyzing the System Task of Monitoring and Troubleshooting Shipping Operations Tips for the Analyst Conclusion O ur twenty-ﬁrst century world—including the systems designed by people and the objects made by people—is very complicated. The complexity of our work systems. Rather. 187 .
Consider this example. The president talked to the subscription clerk. bulky and simple in design. has been regularly disassembled and reassembled by its owner for a variety of reasons ranging from major overhauls and repainting to taking it apart just for the fun of it. PUZZLED AND OUT OF CONTROL More often than we realize. understand the systems in our world and had things well under control. After all.188 Documenting Workplace Expertise A thirteen-year-old boy owns two bicycles. Thus. the two shifting systems. the interdependence between the components of even a simple work system can escape experienced workers and result in a system that is out of control. The caliper brakes. you can almost see how every part ﬁts together and works. maintaining this system has posed few problems to the young owner. The clerk had checked her records. one-speed. fat-tired model that has been with him since age ﬁve and a hand-me-down from his uncle. on the other hand. Time has changed the world in which we. The old twenty-inch bike. the systems that surround us cannot be set aside or ignored. We used to believe that we did. To those subscribers who complained. or could. The president of a small service firm was puzzled. . most of the subscribers were getting their newsletters. causing wasted time. and all those gears and idlers—the multiple subsystems—have proved to be too intimidating to its owner. and concluded that she had entered everything correctly. The ten-speed bike. despite its sitting disabled for long periods of time. with dynamic technologies all around us. This bike has very few parts—as a system. One bike is a twentyinch. Several subscribers to the firm’s professional newsletter wrote to her directly—a few even telephoned—to complain that they had failed to receive their issue of the newsletter. live. Copies of canceled checks and letters of acknowledgment from the ﬁrm’s subscription clerk conﬁrmed their subscriber status. ten-speed. who was worrying about her continued employment with the firm. we need extra help in coping with the knowledge systems and hardware systems with which we live and work. lightweight model he bought two years ago. has never once been disassembled. and the young bicycle owner. But now. And to be a fully functioning worker. found the orders and the computer input records. the clerk sent her apologies and her assurance that their names would be reentered into the subscriber ﬁles. The other is a twenty-six-inch.
He contemplated letting the subscription clerk go. which. NO MORE “GOOD OLD DAYS” At one time. an oil can. because he did not know all the components of her job (much less how they should be executed systematically for optimal effectiveness and efficiency). but he was afraid of an even greater mess if someone else took over. The presence of automated and cybernetic production systems has erased the old stereotypes of how work is done. and communication systems in large and dispersed multinational organizations can make work tasks more difficult to comprehend. Financial networks. Newcomers listened to them and learned. employees worked their way up in an organization and learned the ropes from those who knew the ropes. The high cost of today’s technology has decreased the probability of having backup equipment. Old-timers could then report with great authority on the idiosyncrasies of their company’s work methods and the equipment with which they had regularly interacted throughout their working life. service provider. Knowing the ropes was largely dependent on staying reasonably alert. and having a great deal of experience. the sales force. Today’s machine operators and service providers may be as adept at computer programming as they are at selecting cutting tools and looking through product catalogs. No production means no return on an enormous capital investment. For example. System downtime means no production of goods or services. having a reasonably positive attitude toward working for the company. much less how to improve it. the newsletter manager was frustrated over the situation. personnel systems. When errors and inefficiencies occur or when information . as much as in the goods-producing sector. Neither he nor the clerk understood the ﬁrm’s newsletter work system.Detailing System Tasks 189 Meanwhile. To deny this truth is to deny the realities of contemporary organizations. in turn. today’s production and maintenance personnel are as apt to be wearing a white shirt and using a stethoscope as they are to be equipped with coveralls. prescribed decision-making methods. and the production floor—no longer exists. He couldn’t coach her. and an assortment of general mechanic’s tools. This serene model of the workplace—which also held true for the front office. have increased in complexity. The systems aspects of the duties of the knowledge worker. has increased the pressures for keeping high-cost equipment running.
are critical activities for keeping organizations productive. Abnormal and unique situations demand more. Where does a person begin to deal with a failure in a complex system? What tools does an analyst have to document systemtroubleshooting expertise? Even more challenging. They never know what is really going on inside the overall system in which they participate. including diagnosing and troubleshooting systems. the results of procedural task analyses are sequential task details—detailed step-by-step information for normal operating procedures under normal conditions. or how it is being misunderstood. in the absence of an expert. people are required to learn and understand the systemic aspects of their work tasks more thoroughly and more quickly than they have in the past. rather than ﬁgure out how the entire system works. let alone improve them? The consequences of not doing so are huge and can usually be expressed in terms of large financial losses. management is often tempted to fire people or to add a tier of supervisory and quality control staff. we face a basic problem: how do we keep our costly work systems up and running. or run a machine purely from a procedural perspective—unaware of how their actions may affect other aspects of the system of which the procedural job tasks are just one part. many workers process forms. Even more problematic are the situations where experienced workers fail to diagnose the inoperative. and the nature of work itself. procedural task analysis methods are inadequate for describing many of the essential systemic work tasks required of many employees.190 Documenting Workplace Expertise systems fail. inefﬁcient. simply because they lack system expertise. Unfortunately. As a result. Systemic tasks. organizations are now requiring the same workers to have a much deeper understanding of their entire work system and to take charge whenever processes within the system are not operating normally. As we saw in Chapter 13. how are the details required of system tasks related to existing and new systems determined? . The expertise that workers must have in order to respond effectively to abnormal conditions is often left to their resourcefulness. make ﬁnancial decisions. or failing system that they work in. The need exists for a task-detailing method that speciﬁcally focuses on the job tasks required to function within work systems and also to keep work systems running effectively and efﬁciently. how it can malfunction. In order to cope. have changed so drastically. Clearly. Because work systems.
These steps result in components of the ﬁnal system task analysis and include system description. people–thing-focused expertise (see Chapter 13)—and (2) the analysis of knowledge tasks that embrace expertise focused on people–idea interactions and people–people interactions (see Chapter 15). let’s walk through the steps of analyzing system tasks (see Figure 14. First. Information from other Task Analyses Figure 14.1). or the task is a work system oversight task). Determine system description and flow. system parts and purposes. Select job task(s). and system troubleshooting analysis. Carry out process analysis. SYSTEM DESCRIPTION The system description involves naming the work system or system task being detailed (sometimes there is more than one task related to a work system.1 Analyzing system tasks Draft. Conduct troubleshooting analysis. review. and approve analysis. Identify system parts and purposes. In this chapter. system process analysis. . and system tasks—the expertise required to understand and troubleshoot workplace information-based and/or hardware systems. Several examples and explanations will be provided to help you understand the method. The other two methods are (1) the analysis of procedural tasks—for step-bystep. specifying the purpose and spine of the work system or system task being analyzed. I will describe the process of analyzing overall work systems. processes.Detailing System Tasks 191 PROCESS OF ANALYZING SYSTEM TASKS Analysis of system tasks is one of three methods that constitute a complete toolbox for detailing the expertise required of job tasks.
A system is conceptually equal to or larger than a process. and in most instances a system has several processes (subsystems). Each is either a system or subsystem within Acme International and is classiﬁed as follows: Distribution System: System Truck Driver Hiring System: Process (subsystem of distribution system) Seat Cover Dispatching System: Process (subsystem of distribution system) . Experts interacting with a large system such as Acme International almost always require system task expertise and knowledge task expertise so as to be able to do their jobs effectively. The concept of system is generally thought to be broader than the concept of process. jobs that have been predominantly procedural task or knowledge task focused in the past increasingly require systems-task-focused expertise as part of their job. that has a shipping process unique to the ﬁrm. and graphically presenting the ﬂow of the system task. or processes. and the Shipping Department of Acme International can be thought of as a system within Acme. In providing a name. A process is a systematic series of “actions” directed to some specified end. each of which may have a number of subprocesses. or a subsystem. Acme International can be thought of as a system. the system scope varies greatly for the following names: distribution. A system is a uniﬁed. experts interacting with subsystems or processes within a larger organizational system may only require their subsystem task expertise plus procedural task expertise to do their jobs effectively. hiring truck drivers.192 Documenting Workplace Expertise establishing a task performance standard for the system task. Overall. Naming the System The name given to the work system or system task begins to focus the analysis effort. it is useful to think about the scope distinction between a system and a process. The shipping process is one of several major processes within the company. and it is used that way in this book. An organization can be viewed as an entire system containing one or more subsystems. and inventory record. dispatching. naming the system task or work system being analyzed is important. purposeful whole consisting of “interdependent components” or parts. For example. even though it does come down to semantics. Thus. In contrast.
sales. signing off for receipt of product or service. recording data en route. carrying out the required activities at the customer site. Both are clear and simple. . “What is the major or core output of the system?” For example. and distribution) System Purpose and Spine The system purpose and spine are connected. noting the basic activities that take place prior and during ﬁnal delivery. For a university department faculty team. To create a system ﬂow diagram. and so on. They can be created at the same time. and vehicle maintenance needs. and output. the output of a delivery system is a product or service delivered to a specified destination at a specified time. control. process. For a core team leader in an R&D department of a high-tech medical device ﬁrm. the system task. system purpose/description.Detailing System Tasks 193 Seat Cover Inventory System: System (transcends production. and output. In this R&D example. process. input. such as logging in with a dispatcher. fuel levels. such as details of the en route recording of speed. the analyst may either interview or accompany the delivery person to the final destination. You start by identifying the output of the system in creating the purpose and spine of the system. and report → Output Mitigated project risk You can isolate the spine by asking. signing off at the warehouse. System spine: Input → Process(es) Need to mitigate risk Identify. analyze. The system spine is a simplified diagram of the overall work system or system task where the three major components of a general system are named: input. and the other is a graphic. One is expressed in words. Each of these steps may then be expanded on. and system spine would be as follows: System/task name: Manage Product Development Risk System purpose/ description: A system for aiding core team leaders in making decisions meant to mitigate the inherent risks in developing products such that the probability or impact of those risks is decreased. mileage. Both deal with the system. the output could be university degrees granted. the output could be mitigated or averted project risk.
194 Documenting Workplace Expertise Let’s take a very simple and familiar hardware work system—the incandescent lightbulb—as an example. In this case. the performance standard for the shipper’s task 4. the person who diagnoses and replaces failing or broken bulbs in building maintenance or in product research does not need to know about the larger power production system that includes coal as the input. System Performance Standard Next is the section for recording the performance standard for the system task. what about the process within the incandescent light system? How is electricity. “Monitor and troubleshoot shipping operations. An appropriate system with its subsystems is deﬁned by the performance demands on the worker determined in the organizational diagnosis and the system task being analyzed. For example. coal could easily be an input. glows. wasted output. coal could be the source of energy at an electrical power production plant. Electricity is the major input. the primary output is light. transformed into light? The process stage of any system includes both transmission and conversion.” Certainly. Given such a system.) What do you think the major input is? Some people might have replied. the transmission is accomplished by the electron flow through wires. As an example. and the conversion is accomplished as a result of the resistance to the electrons ﬂowing through a ﬁlament that heats up. and gives off light—the output. you will ﬁnd yourself analyzing information that exceeds the expertise required to perform the work—and you will frustrate everybody by doing so. . In our example. drawing boundaries around the system that you are dealing with is crucial. “Coal. with light being the secondary. Just knowing that electricity is the primary input to the incandescent lightbulb system is enough. the input. Now. If you were analyzing an electrical power production system. Because systems interact with other systems. and small systems can be nested within larger systems. A second output of the incandescent bulb is heat. the ﬁrst question to ask is “What is the primary output?” In the case of the incandescent bulb. you may have used heat lamps with bulbs speciﬁcally designed to produce heat. but it is not the ready source of energy for the incandescent lightbulb system. it is light.” is as follows: Shippers will be the first to recognize and report operations that are failing and be proactive members of operations troubleshooting teams. Otherwise. (In fact.
it did not exist. Remember.2. System Flow While the core input. through the process. The automobile is a wonderful. In this case. and fewer returns. As noted in the procedural task analysis chapter. and to output—are traced through the system. Remember to start with the output and then go to the input. The following checkpoint uses the automobile as a familiar example to illustrate important points about the system ﬂow. familiar. Subsystems or subprocesses are added to the spine to create the system ﬂow. with . use it. and output(s): INPUT → PROCESS → OUTPUT It is a view of the system being detailed from the required vantage point of the work task. Systems theory tells us that there are three basic interconnected components to any system: input(s). The work process was improved (changed) to include this new job task. attached to the spine are the subsystems that more fully portray the complexity of the operating system. process. order fulfillment. process(es).Detailing System Tasks 195 The result will be increased uptime. there may already be an established workplace standard that is used to assess this work. and the information or the materials—from input. It has many subsystems. In this instance. In Figure 14. the performance standard can come from several sources. ✓ CHECKPOINT 䊐 Let’s work through another example of systems ﬂow. A systems flow diagram provides an understanding of the system and its elements. In the system ﬂow. An existing performance standard may be specified at the task level or as part of the job-level standards. although most complex systems are made up of several subsystems or processes. Once a task has been detailed. the automobile. and output is called the spine of the work system or system task. some of which have little or nothing to do with the intended output of motion. it is appropriate to establish the performance standard after the task has been detailed. the major elements that make up the spine of the system are labeled. I identiﬁed fuel as the major input. First. the system process is broken down into its components. it is important to begin by deﬁning the spine of the system under study. and complex system. Do the process last. the performance standard will be revealed as part of the analysis. If it exists.
process. The major controller of the automobile system is the “driver.2 Automobile system spine with driver and cruise control subsystems the conversion portion of the process being the engine and the transmission portion of the process being the drive train. have several subsystems that directly affect the major output of motion.2) as driver and cruise control.196 Documenting Workplace Expertise Input Process (Conversion/Transmission) Output Fuel Engine/Drive Train Motion Cruise Control Driver Figure 14. one can illustrate the complexity of the operation and the control components of the system.3 in Chapter 7. One of these is the control system. Familiarity with standard ﬂowcharting symbols is useful but not mandatory. Using them allows the analyst to communicate in a standard and easily understood visual language. This seemingly mundane step of analyzing work systems or system tasks is straightforward as long as a . Answer: Cruise control (upper box) and driver (lower box) SYSTEMS PARTS AND PURPOSES A more detailed understanding of the system is provided when identifying the system parts and purposes. and output are useful in identifying the spine of a complex system. however. These symbols are shown in Figure 7. A stereo sound system as a subsystem of the automobile would be an absurd place to start ﬁguring out the complex automobile system. The basic systems components of input. By adding each of the subsystems.” Choose and label the appropriate empty boxes in the spine of the automobile system (Figure 14. The automobile does.
should be named and their purpose described. data sets. As for accurate terminology. do you call it the hopper or the bin? Talk to the employee who was told by his supervisor to clean out the bin (the size of a small house) when she really meant to clean out the hopper (the size of a desk). It might be equally foolish to insert people within the system who are not actively engaged in the system operation. customers. When these conditions exist within system tasks. here are four of twenty-one parts and purposes for the “Manage product development risk” system task that is part of the leader job that has been mentioned earlier: Part Product development project Project investment board Risk log Action item Purpose A written project document with a set of objectives for developing a new product A cross-functional board made up of senior management that is responsible for making project management decisions and allocating resources to projects A list of product development project risks generated by the risk identiﬁcation team An item or task that someone is responsible for completing . Including extraneous people would unnecessarily clutter the system. don’t call parts of the system by the same name. The reality is that two workers in the same work system don’t often see the same things. does strategic plan mean the same thing to each member of the senior management team? Does monitor the work mean the same thing to all stakeholders? To further illustrate. For example. and may not view the parts as having the same purpose.Detailing System Tasks 197 sociotechnical view is taken. documents. workers. and he will tell you about the importance of terminology! Accurate terminology is an important outcome of all three types of task analysis. managers. is the customer a part of the system or not? Not having the customer and customer service support personnel in a computerbased purchasing system designed to serve people around the country would be foolish. For example. That is. be sure to include the people operating and troubleshooting the information and hardware systems. and the like. Tangible aspects of a system such as parts. confusion can reign.
The authors may have already analyzed the process and explained the operation and handling of the components. and technical information sheets. tax law codes) of which the processor might only be aware. including data with which people interact. a gas cap another time. So far. such as external consultants. That old saying that knowledge is power begins to take on added meaning once a system ﬂow diagram and a system parts-and-purposes analysis are completed. we have discussed the broad understanding that results from system ﬂow analysis and the essential knowledge that results from system parts-and-purposes analy- . while the designer’s would reﬂect a more conceptual process. you will again want to use subject experts. often caused by the use of varying terminology. These two sets of information form the foundation for understanding system work tasks. I referred to subject experts as sources of knowledge. all the process elements with which a worker interacts. For example. The system parts-and-purposes form provides an accurate list of. thus saving you a great deal of time. Obviously. In addition to relying on the subject experts in the organization. The use of inconsistent terminology often causes confusion and frustration in the workplace among beginners and old-timers alike. some overlapping of items would occur on the two lists.g.198 Documenting Workplace Expertise The product of a parts-and-purposes analysis is a summary list of the correct names and use(s) of the tangible parts of the work system. and explanations for. Specialty books that provide detailed information are particularly helpful in preparing the system ﬂow diagram and conducting the partsand-purpose analysis information and hardware systems. but the claim processor’s parts-and-purposes analysis might be longer (due to more numerous process steps). Previously. Doing such an analysis for any system offers an excellent opportunity to name the system parts correctly. manuals. In analyzing system tasks. A list of system parts and purposes for the employee beneﬁts designer will differ from a list intended for the benefits claim processor. you will want to utilize expert knowledge from other sources.. Here is your opportunity to straighten out some of the language in your workplace. original manufacturers of equipment. A rule of thumb for creating a parts-and-purposes analysis is to include every system element with which the worker interacts directly or indirectly. The workplace is ﬁlled with inefﬁciencies resulting from miscommunication. This provides knowledge that will be used later in the troubleshooting analysis. confusion results from references on the shop ﬂoor to a fuel cap one time. The designer will actually use items (e. and a tank cap still another.
It is forward looking. are also identiﬁed by process analysis. Process variables are simply those human or hardware elements that can change—for example. Speciﬁcations. decision makers. with the idea that this is how the smooth-running system is intended to work—how all the elements ﬁt and ﬂow. the process variables (people. unwanted variation. Variables Process variables such as people. decision points. Actions that need to be performed regularly in managing the system. knowledge. and Controls Process analysis helps document the connections between the system and its various parts. overlaps. method. number in attendance. in operation. proposal completeness. process analysis also has the potential of identifying disconnects. In a perfectly logical system. indicators. temperature. This information is recorded on a process analysis form (see the appendix). and/or environment). materials. and unnecessary complexity that may have been designed into or grown into the system. Software programs makes flowcharting quite easy. timing. the key to flowcharting is consistency. Behind each possible variance is a metric such as product quality.7) with sample symbols used to document system tasks. and satisfaction. materials. and the process environment are identiﬁed in terms of their speciﬁcations. controls. Indicators. service quality. method. and effects on the process. The end result—a process flowchart—is a clearer picture of what changes are needed. equipment. That is. temperature. Remember. . and so on. such as taking process measurements and communicating with suppliers for just-in-time delivery. Chapter 7 illustrates a simple ﬂowchart (Figure 7. or process. and their interconnections become apparent and display critical contributions to the system’s effectiveness and efficiency. their attributes. As you might expect. you analyze how it is supposed to work or function.Detailing System Tasks 199 sis. decisions. These two analyses are important but insufficient to provide the level of understanding needed to work with a complex system. PROCESS ANALYSIS Process analysis is aimed at analyzing the system. accuracy. equipment.
their causes and corrective actions can be specified. system parts and purposes. Problems Remember that process analysis is forward looking and troubleshooting analysis is backward looking. Causes and Corrective Actions Once potential process problems have been identiﬁed.200 Documenting Workplace Expertise TROUBLESHOOTING ANALYSIS Based on the system task description. I have seen production workers trained in troubleshooting react and recover failing food production operations to end up saving the company large losses in production and downtime. They ended up saving the sale (and their big commission). it yields backward logic starting with the problem. The troubleshooting analysis forms (see the appendix) may appear to be more complex than they really are. yields the flow of diagnostic knowledge needed to respond to a sluggish. Troubleshooting analysis. In that sense. system flow. They should be entered on the . are necessary to equip the analyst with deep understanding needed to advance to the troubleshooting. In this final component. failing. In a similar vein. and process analysis. the system flow. Neglecting even simple troubleshooting tasks can cause performance problems in the workplace. For example. or inoperative system. parts-and-purposes. I have seen expert salespeople purposefully troubleshoot in the middle of a major sales transaction that was failing. with the consequence being serious economic losses. Troubleshooting analysis calls on the practical understanding of a fully operational system and uses it to think intelligently about a failed or failing system. system ﬂow and system parts and purposes. and process analysis are called on and synthesized to complete the understanding of how to troubleshoot the failed or failing system. Having the process expertise is a prerequisite to the troubleshooting expertise that allows the worker to keep the system running or get it functioning again. The troubleshooting options to these problems are organized into a troubleshooting analysis. The two earlier steps. Process analysis explains the practical operational expertise of the system in a graphic manner. a network of the problems that could be encountered in the work system is specified. the last step in analyzing system tasks.
System parts and purposes c. Troubleshooting analysis e. The value of analyzing system work tasks should be clear. When we are confronted with a problem. Low-cost solutions should have priority. Low cost. d 5. Troubleshooting actions should therefore be listed in the following order: 1. High-probability solutions are apparent when a problem has only a few probable causes or when one solution to that problem has been successful in the past. low-cost. low probability 3. In fact. System ﬂow b. Name Answers: 1. c 4. System description a. most of us want to jump intuitively to the answer. High-probability solutions have the next priority. High cost. low-probability option could save many costly headaches. Process analysis d. b . High cost. Spine ____ 2. The minute needed to investigate this low-cost. e 2. Clearly. Low cost. Elements ____ 4. system downtime. ✓ CHECKPOINT 䊐 Match the term on the right that best fits each of the following elements in systems task analysis. most of us have seen the home appliance troubleshooting charts that ask you ﬁrst to check whether your appliance is plugged in. For example. Low cost is calculated in terms of amount of worker time. The system worker’s knee-jerk answer can cause serious problems in the workplace. high probability 4. high probability 2. low probability The generally recommended order of troubleshooting is to focus first on low-cost and then on high-probability corrective actions. Backward analysis ____ 3. ____ 1. high-cost actions. This is especially true when the costs of certain actions are high.Detailing System Tasks 201 troubleshooting analysis form. and materials. a 3. How they are listed on the form will vary. the desired solutions are those requiring as little of those three elements as possible. low-probability corrective actions should be examined before high-probability. Forward analysis ____ 5.
The speciﬁcation then could be: If an item costs $1. The input is not a blank purchase order form but rather an employee’s need for materials or services. There is no special consequence for the plus deviation—that is. The purchase order process includes both conversion and transmission. Any item costing more than $1. One variable for an acceptable purchase order system could be a request for quotations.000 must be sent out for quotations. it must go out for quotations. the purchase cost variable requires quotations for purchases at or above $1. This speciﬁcation could be displayed on the process analysis form. By way of an introduction. forwarding the purchase order to an approval authority is the transmission.000 takes only one day.202 Documenting Workplace Expertise PURCHASE ORDER SYSTEM CASE STUDY— THE VOILÀ COMPANY The following is an analysis of the purchase order system within the Voilà Company. Taking the determined need and recording it on a purchase order form is the conversion.000 would have process consequences. having a value of less than $1. having a number of items valued at more than $1. One consequence is the eight weeks required to complete the quotation process.3 Spine of the Voilà purchase order system Output Approved Purchase Order . the output was determined to be an approval to purchase (Figure 14.000.000 on such a purchase order. any one item on a purchase order with a minus deviation—that is.3). Take the time now to review the organizational charts and the system task analysis forms.4). However. Purchasing a single item of less than $1. Input Need for Goods or Services Process (Conversion/Transmission) Complete and Process Purchase Order Figure 14.000—combined with other items over $1. letting them speak for themselves (Figure 14. Within the existing process.000 or more.
Knowing the conditions. QUESTIONS DEFINITION EXAMPLE Step Step Step Step ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ 1. From the example that follows. The one benefit of a potentially lower price with quotation is weighed against the shorter turnaround time. controls. The one-day versus eight-week variation in purchase order processing is revealed to everyone through a process analysis. System description and ﬂow A Summary list of the correct names and use(s) of the component parts of the system A If this.000 out for quotation. In comparison. Troubleshooting analysis showed how this system would stop if the wrong purchase order procedure were used. ✓ CHECKPOINT 䊐 The following is a summary of the steps involved in analyzing system and system tasks. This circumstance can be averted if a nonquotation purchase order option is used instead of the quotation option. System description and ﬂow System parts and purposes Process analysis Troubleshooting analysis Match deﬁnitions and examples to steps: SYSTEM TASK ANALYSIS STEP DEFINITION EXAMPLE Step 1. Answer the following questions. indicators. match the correct deﬁnitions and examples on the right to the system task analysis steps by placing the letters A. the answers provided should help you check your understanding of this detailing method. positive minus deviation consequence is a potentially lower purchase price resulting from sending items that cost less than $1. 2. 4. and thus a nonresponsive purchasing system could create havoc with almost any operation. An item requiring a quotation takes eight weeks to purchase.Detailing System Tasks 203 A second. specifications. The control is the person initiating the purchase order. and effects of deviations is the key to process control and troubleshooting. 3. Work in an organization can stop because of a lack of supplies. C. a nonquotation item takes one day to purchase. B. The initial indicator is the estimated price from catalogs or from preliminary pricing per telephone request. or D by the steps. then that .
and effects of their responses EXAMPLE B Control command. A Dept. speciﬁcations. returns program tutoring segment C Process versus product SYSTEM TASK ANALYSIS STEP Step 4. C Dept. tracing the this. into its components. D Bishop’s OFFICE SUPPLY Receiving Purchasing Supplies Figure 14. and 1 secretary in each department VOILÀ COMPANY Distribution Marketing/Sales Top Management (President/Vice President) . Process analysis Step 4. 4 supervisors. Systems description and ﬂow Step 2. Troubleshooting DEFINITION EXAMPLE D D Breakdown of the system process If this. B Dept. B System parts Flow of diagnostic knowledge and purposes needed to respond to a failing or inoperative system Step 3.4 Voilà Company PRODUCTION • 4 departments • 1 manager. Systems parts and purposes Step 3.204 Documenting Workplace Expertise SYSTEM TASK ANALYSIS STEP DEFINITION Step 2. C Process Analysis of the system in analysis operation including variables. then this. or that information or materials from input to output Deﬁnition Example Answers Step 1. Troubleshooting analysis D A C B C B A D Voilà Company Dept.
4 Voilà Company (continued) . B Manager Distribution Supervisors Manager Region B Shipping Supervisors Sales Personnel Secretary Secretary Secretary Manager Dept. President VP of Production VP of Operations Manager Dept. D Supervisors Secretary Figure 14.000 • No der $1 • Un d Use rchase Be u y P a • M R ANY FO d d • Bi queste Re APPROVAL APPROVAL All Voilà Company salaried employees can initiate purchase orders. A VP of Marketing Manager Purchasing Supervisors Manager Region A Assistant Manager Sales Personnel Secretary Secretary Secretary Manager Dept.Detailing System Tasks 205 Voilà Voilà Voilà Quick Purchase Order Bid Request Purchase Order Bid . C Manager Personnel Supervisors Secretary Manager Region C Sales Personnel Secretary Secretary Manager Dept.
Blum Analyst ________________________________ M/D/Y Effective Date ________________________ None Cancels Page Dated ___________________ Jagr Rinehart Approved By _________________________ System Purpose Description A paper-based information system for employee to purchase needed work goods/services and for the company to obtain the best prices while retaining accurate company records.206 Documenting Workplace Expertise Systems Description and Flow Purchase Orders Job or Program _________________________ 1 of ______ 1 Page ____ Voilà Company Location _______________________________ Company-wide Department ____________________________ W. System Spine INPUT Need for Goods or Services PROCESS(ES) Complete and Process Purchase Order OUTPUT Approved Purchase Order Subsystem/Process Flowchart Need for Goods or Services Approve Purchase Order Initiate Appropriate Purchase Order Supplier Decision Bidding Process Approved Purchase Order Mailed Purchase Order Processed “Quick” Purchase Order Processed Approved Purchase Order Hand Delivered Figure 14.4 Voilà Company (continued) .
and cost of a purchase. Reports directly to the VP of Operations and Finance. and secretaries. vice presidents. Includes president. managers. and cost of a purchase. supervisors. conditions. Voilà Quick Purchase Order • Company form that speciﬁes the vendor. Purchasing Agent • Salaried employee responsible for approving all purchases and initiating all purchase bids. Must be used for all company purchases of $1. Salaried Employees • Company employees paid for services on an annual salary basis. Figure 14. goods/services. Also explain how it works.000 or more. and may be used for smaller purchases. Voilà Purchase Order • Company form that speciﬁes the vendor. conditions. goods/services.000.4 Voilà Company (continued) . Blum Analyst ________________________________ Jagr Rinehart Approved By _________________________ Part Use Correct Nomenclature Purposes Explain what the part does. Can be used for purchases under $1. Voilà Bid Request • Company form that requests a supplier’s price for goods/services purchase.Detailing System Tasks 207 Systems Parts and Purposes Purchase Orders Job or Program _________________________ 1 of ______ 1 Page ____ Voilà Company Location _______________________________ M/D/Y Effective Date ________________________ Company-wide Department ____________________________ None Cancels Page Dated ___________________ W. if not obvious.
000 or more Figure on bottom line of purchase order Purchasing agent Put out on bid Reject Quick PO Purchase Order under $1.000 Total cost of goods/ services (including taxes) less than $1.4 Voilà Company (continued) Other Information . Blum Analyst ________________________________ Jagr Rinehart Approved By ________________________ Effect of Variable Speciﬁcation Indicator Control Plus Deviation Minus Deviation Purchase Order over $1.000 Figure on bottom line of purchase order Purchasing agent Reject Quick PO • 1 day to procure PO • Potential high cost to company for goods/services Bid or not bid under Total cost of goods/ services (including taxes) less than $1.000 Figure on bottom line of purchase order Salaried employee requesting purchase • Purchasing agent asks salaried employee if they want to bid • Potential lower costs to company • 8 week process PO • Increased handling costs to company if put on bid Request for bids Total cost of goods/ services (including taxes) Over $1.000 Total cost of goods/ services (including taxes) $1.000 or request from salaried employee Purchasing agent Given estimated cost.Process Analysis Purchase Orders Job or Program _________________________ 1 of ____ 1 Page ____ Voilà Company Location _______________________________ M/D/Y Effective Date _______________________ Company-wide Department ____________________________ None Cancels Page Dated _________________ W. send out on bid If no estimated cost. no bid Figure 14.
000 • Put $1.000 items on a bid or less items instead of “Quick PO” • Not much range in bids received Figure 14.Detailing System Tasks 209 Troubleshooting Analysis Purchase Orders Job or Program _________________________ 1 of ______ 1 Page ____ Voilà Company Location _______________________________ M/D/Y Effective Date ________________________ Company-wide Department ____________________________ None Cancels Page Dated ___________________ W. Blum Analyst ________________________________ Jagr Rinehart Approved By _________________________ Problem Too long to get PO approval Paying too high prices for goods Cause Corrective Action • Using bid PO on items $1.000 or less • Only use bid PO when required • Minimum of two bids not received in a timely fashion • Increase the number of bid requests • Not obtaining bids on $1.4 Voilà Company (continued) • Increase number of bid requests .
Task 4. what appears to be obvious often ends up not being true in that the expertise is not directly observable. System task analysis does not always result in adding more tasks to the task inventory form. Figure 14. Like other analysis methods. The proposal included the recommendation to strengthen the job of shipper. Having to operate both within a smooth operating system and under abnormal conditions adds dimensions to any job. In fact. One of the seven tasks on the inventory was “Process seat cover order” (task 2). detailing system tasks provides its share of revelations. Chapter 6 featured a performance improvement proposal for the Acme Shipping Department.” is a system task. . The ultimate goal of the system task analysis is to improve the work system or enhance employee expertise so that workers will no longer be unsure of their role within the system. and the task inventory for this job was found in Chapter 11.210 Documenting Workplace Expertise ACME INTERNATIONAL—ANALYZING THE SYSTEM TASK OF MONITORING AND TROUBLESHOOTING SHIPPING OPERATIONS The Acme International case study in Chapter 3 offered an overview of an organization with performance problems. what initially appeared to be a confusing and complex set of work behavior issues can become a simple set of procedural statements or a detailed process ﬂowchart. “Monitor and troubleshoot shipping operations. it was analyzed in Chapter 13. the opposite can at times be true. These dimensions need to appear on the original job description and task inventory.5 provides the full analysis of that task. Following a full work system/system task analysis. The description of the job of shipper was included in Chapter 10. partly by training all the job incumbents. however. The subtleties of working with systems generally prove to be difﬁcult for both the worker and the analyst. TIPS FOR THE ANALYST Detailing system tasks focuses on information-based system and hardware system work and is used to describe complex human expertise under abnormal conditions. In system tasks. This is why system task analysis is needed.
pack. System Spine INPUT Order Received PROCESS Fill Order PROCESS Pack Order OUTPUT Shipped Order Subsystem/Process Flowchart Order Received Order Shipped In Stock ? Pallet Decision Inspect Pallet Shipment Select Items Yes No Pack Items Label Order Nonpallet Shipment Substitute Yes Order No Document Order Acceptable Substitute No Load Order Inform Customer Figure 14. Minn. Performance Standard Shippers will be the ﬁrst to recognize and report operations that are failing and be proactive members of operations troubleshooting teams. Head Approved By _________________________ System Purpose/Description: The shipping system processes customer orders for ACME seat covers. and ship. The result will be increased uptime. Location _______________________________ M/D/Y Effective Date ________________________ Shipping Department ____________________________ R. order fulﬁllment.5 Analysis of shipper’s systems task . Torraco Analyst ________________________________ None Cancels Sheet Dated __________________ Dept. and fewer returns.Detailing System Tasks 211 Systems Description and Flow and Troubleshoot Shipping Operations Page ____ 1 of ______ 1 Job or Program #4-Monitor ______________________________________________ St. Paul. It involves customer requests for speciﬁc items that shippers select.
Shipper Person responsible for processing customer orders. In addition to ACME. Shipping Mode The method of shipment used to transport ACME products to customers. Minn. Figure 14. four-wheeled vehicle used by the shipper to internally transport shipping containers within the warehouse. Also explain how it works. Head Approved By _________________________ Part Use Correct Nomenclature Purposes Explain what the part does. Shipping Pallet A portable. There are three shipment modes: ground transport. Paul. if not obvious. Delivery Carrier The transportation company used to transport ACME product to customers. Distribution Director Person responsible for the policies and direction of the distribution function in ACME. approved delivery carriers include UPS.S. Flatbed Cart A manually loaded. and U. Torraco Analyst ________________________________ Dept. The mode of shipment is determined by the customer’s distance from the ACME distribution point. and shipping ACME products. Customer Person and/or organization ordering seat covers. Referred to as parts. Express.5 Analysis of shipper’s systems task (continued) . DHL. Conveyor Belt An automated system linking all levels and sectors of the warehouse used for the internal transport of shipping containers. Location _______________________________ M/D/Y Effective Date ________________________ #4-Monitor and Troubleshoot Shipping Operations Task ______________________________________________________ Department Shipping ____________________________ None Cancels Page Dated ___________________ R. air transport. Parts Bin Large containers within which seat covers of the same part number are stored in inventory. Order Ticket The document generated by the Order Handling Department in response to customer requests for products that speciﬁes all the data necessary to process and invoice a seat cover order. there are over 130 different seat covers offered for sale. reinforced cardboard containers in which parts are shipped to customer. Seat Covers The primary product manufactured and distributed by ACME. Shipping Container Reusable. and international air. Conveyor belt movement is manually started and stopped by the shipper. moving. Shipping Clerk Person responsible for maintaining shipping department records. Each part number has its own parts bin. wooden platform for storing. Shipping Supervisor Person responsible for overseeing total shipping process.212 Documenting Workplace Expertise Systems Parts and Purposes Job or Program Shipper _________________________ 1 of ______ 1 Page ____ St.
Minn. Head Approved By ____________________________ Effect of Variable Inventory status of part(s) Speciﬁcation In stock or out of stock Indicator Control Computerized display Level of production of inventory status of part(s). Location _______________________________ M/D/Y Effective Date ___________________________ and Troubleshoot Shipping Operations Task #4-Monitor __________________________________ Shipping Department ____________________________ None Cancels Page Dated _____________________ R. Torraco Analyst ________________________________ Dept. and Plus Deviation Minus Deviation Excess parts in inventory No parts in inventory Presence of part(s) on warehouse shelf Level of customer demand for part(s) Customer acceptance Approval or of substituted parts disapproval of substitution Communication with customer Substitute parts or expedite production of parts originally ordered N/A Terminate processing of substituted parts Speed of shipment delivery Speed shipment selected by customer (see Delivery Speed indicated on order) Shipper selects proper mode of shipment to meet speciﬁed delivery time N/A Parts delivered late Priority shipment is delivered within 24 hours of order Standard shipment is delivered within 2–3 days of order Figure 14.5 Analysis of shipper’s systems task (continued) Other Information .Process Analysis Shipper Job or Program _________________________ 1 of ________ 1 Page ____ St. Paul.
Head Approved By _________________________ Performance Standard Shippers will be the ﬁrst to recognize and report operations that are failing and be proactive members of operations troubleshooting teams. Contract for delivery through an alternate mode of shipment. account number and address with each order. Mechanical breakdown. Increase production of out-of stock parts. Incorrect parts information on Order Ticket. and fewer returns. Torraco Analyst ________________________________ Dept. Complete Department. Delay in shipment departure. Ensure that requests for parts are conﬁrmed with customer and coded with correct ACME part number. Parts information not obtained Ensure that requests for parts are or coded by Order Handling conﬁrmed with customer. Order Ticket with all information necessary for processing order. Parts for complete order unavailable. Proper Shipment Mode unavailable. Incomplete customer information on ﬁle. Minn. Delay of shipment en route. Order Ticket improperly coded. Incomplete parts information on Order Ticket. Ensure delivery carriers meet shipping contract obligations.5 Analysis of shipper’s systems task (continued) . account number and address with each order. Cause Corrective Action Production of parts inadequate to meet demand. Location _______________________________ M/D/Y Effective Date ________________________ and Troubleshoot Shipping Operations Task #4-Monitor __________________________________________________ Shipping Department ____________________________ None Cancels Page Dated ___________________ R. Order shipped to incorrect address Ensure correct customer information on Order Ticket.214 Documenting Workplace Expertise Troubleshooting Analysis Shipper Job or Program _________________________ 1 of ______ 1 Page ____ St. Paul. Ensure that parts are properly stored according to ACME inventory system. Incorrect parts information on Order Ticket. Do not initiate order processing without Customer Status Approval from ACME Sales ofﬁce. Problem Parts not in stock. Fill order with originally speciﬁed or substituted parts. order fulﬁllment. The result will be increased uptime. Change of address of current customer. Conﬁrm customer name. Figure 14. Parts misplaced in inventory. Customer account does not match customer. Conﬁrm customer name.
these tools also have great utility for analyzing the process performance level of organizational diagnosis (Chapter 7). and the expertise required of those connections including the handoffs from one expert worker to another. How about a system analysis of the global market or the industry in which your company operates? Or one of the company in which your department operates? Or one of the process that links workers to workers and workers to customers? System task analysis can help develop a more accurate picture and understanding of the selected system. and troubleshooting analysis. . a method for detailing knowledge work expertise—people-toidea interactions and people-to-people interactions. the connections among subsystems. system parts and purposes. Thus. While the tools have been used here to detail what a person needs to know and be able to do to perform part of a job—a system task— the method can be applied to any work system. The next chapter describes the process of analyzing knowledge tasks.Detailing System Tasks 215 CONCLUSION The process of analyzing system tasks has introduced you to a set of unique documentation tools—system description and flow. process analysis. This third tool will complete your toolbox for analyzing and detailing job tasks.
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The analyst has been able to follow the logic of these work behaviors by observing and questioning workers about prescribed step-by-step procedures or by studying the various information 217 .15 Detailing Knowledge Tasks Process of Analyzing Knowledge Tasks Planning a Knowledge Task Analysis Taking the Expertise Search-and-Analysis Path Taking the Literature Search-and-Analysis Path Case of the Manager under Pressure Analyzing the Data Synthesizing the Data What Is a Synthesis Model? Eight Types of Synthesis Models Which Synthesis Model? Acme International: Knowledge Task Description of Performing as a Shipping Team Member Tips for the Analyst Conclusion T hus far I have described work behaviors that have been visible. or nearly so.
analyzing equipment requirements. Who shall we send this time? . in job design or organizational design. MEMORANDUM To: All Department Heads From: The Boss Subject: Training I am pleased to announce that Dr. Consultant will be presenting a workshop on “Handling Turnover Problems. and investors better at what they do than others who perform similar tasks? What are the differences between the expert and the not-so-expert performers? Would knowing these differences be beneficial in hiring. your department may send one representative. Look at this memo. when. Hank. most of the work of thinking. supervisors. analyzing.218 Documenting Workplace Expertise or hardware systems with which employees work. These tasks can be categorized as knowledge work. and utilizing people. we may see people scratching their heads as they think). developing..” We will meet in the Holly Hotel on the 20th. The boss is spending big bucks on having another consultant come to town.g. or why certain work behaviors are more effective than others. and not every worker knows exactly how. The knowledge task analysis method addresses such non-visible work expertise that centers on people–idea and people–people workplace expertise. and deciding is not visible. planning projects. let’s ask a few more: Are certain salespeople. But not all work expertise is overtly observable. Why the requirement to analyze such abstract and ill-deﬁned work behaviors? Before answering this question. projects failing or succeeding). handling grievances—these are complex knowledge work tasks in which the individuals doing the work most often develop expertise on their own. decision makers. As previously agreed. and the results of this knowledge work may be observed (subordinates walking away angry or satisfied. Although some work behaviors may be observed (e. Coaching fellow workers. Send me the name of your representative by the 15th. ————————————— Manager: Hey. and in research and strategic planning? You bet it would! The following incident is an example of what can happen as the result of superﬁcial task analyses.
if mastered. thus. which. ————————————— Question: What work performance is lacking in this department that will be improved by Joe’s or Jane’s attending this workshop? Answer: We don’t know. and employee training. She thinks it’s good for her career. Search for and analyze experts. shortsighted organizational development. and the manager doesn’t know. management development. and approve analysis. Information from other Task Analyses Figure 15. . PROCESS OF ANALYZING KNOWLEDGE TASKS First. You begin by simply selecting a knowledge task or subject area of expertise that was identified through a performance diagnosis and specified as a work task on a task inventory. as shown in Figure 15. She likes to get out and meet people. Or you could send Jane. Your knowledge task is not procedural. Create synthesis. nor does it involve a regularly performed systems work task. Select job task(s). that culminate with an approved knowledge task description. Your subject is an area of knowledge.1. review. either. productivity. Prepare knowledge task description. let’s review the steps in analyzing a knowledge task. Many managers are beginning to recognize the limitations of short-term.Detailing Knowledge Tasks 219 Supervisor: Joe has been keeping his nose to the grindstone lately. Knowledge task analysis gives us the means to identify the substance of critical knowledge work expertise and to develop understandings that may affect performance on the job and. Let him go if he wants to.1 Analyzing knowledge tasks Draft. Search for and analyze literature.
The other knowledge task forms are in-process working documents. In this instance. The work process was improved (changed) to include this new job task.220 Documenting Workplace Expertise would contribute to or enhance worker expertise within the job. shipping process problems. you proceed with the investigation along two paths: (1) the search for and analysis of expertise among experts in the workplace. having knowledge of the chemistry of XYZ Company paints would improve performance.” It is particularly interesting to note that the core Shipping Department performance measures are not specifically attributable to one person and one task. Performance Standard The knowledge task performance standard is recorded on the culminating knowledge task description form. having knowledge of meeting management for building team consensus or international ﬁnancial investment decision making might be required. Pursuing the investigation through experts in the organization alone will likely give you a biased and incomplete view of the knowledge task—you will be able to describe practices and . the timing and ready source of the performance standard will vary. there may already be an established workplace standard used to assess this work. “Perform as a shipping team member. and other experts on the subject. An existing performance standard may be speciﬁed at the task level or as part of the job-level standards. In one job. shippers will work in teams to remedy the problems using the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle. determined in the performance diagnosis as being required. In the case of the Acme International shipper. knowing the latest technology in composite materials is a requirement. Following Two Paths Having selected the knowledge task form task inventory.” It reads as follows: “When confronted with difficult substitution problems. (2) the search for and analysis of knowledge in the literature by theorists. Any knowledge task is a candidate for analysis as long as success in the workplace hinges on the workers’ having expertise in that realm. researchers. use it. it did not exist. First. If it exists. it is appropriate to establish the performance standard prior to the detailing of task 6. In another job. or shortfalls in daily production. The intervention proposed includes multiple jobs and tasks. As with procedural and system tasks. In still another job.
you assess the knowledge and expertise components of task expertise. by observing the work environment and the results of particular realms of expertise. you perform a synthesis of all the data collected. though. By interviewing people and presenting questionnaires. In the alternative path of investigation. Reference manuals. as part of the search of knowledge worker expertise. methods. or technical knowledge connected to successful job performance. Knowledge Task Expertise Description The final step in the knowledge task analysis method is to produce a well-organized written description of information about the subject that captures the workplace expertise of the high-performing worker. I have found that it is critical to put the key points of each source in your own words. combine.Detailing Knowledge Tasks 221 constraints but will gain little understanding of the scope of the subject or of the many available alternatives. the Internet. Next. In the workplace. . you organize. they can create a more complete picture. and conceptualize the data into a simpliﬁed knowledge or performance model that shows the relationships among the detailed aspects of the task subject matter. you can study effective and ineffective workers to gain insight into the critical theories. Let’s look at how one analyst planned to conduct a knowledge work analysis. You examine and analyze the expertise data collected and all the reference notes from the literature search for completeness and relevance. and by reviewing performance records. pursuing the investigation through a literature search alone will leave the realities of the workplace out of the knowledge task analysis. Moreover. and bibliographies—these are your tools when searching for speciﬁc information in the literature. Together. multijournal indexes. not the words of the author. plus a list of the analyst’s primary information sources. the literature search and analysis leads you to printed materials on the subject. Using one or more of eight knowledge synthesis tools to be described later in this chapter. Your goal is a complete picture of the performance area under investigation. computer searches. It should contain all the substantive content needed to perform properly at work. You may pursue the two paths of investigation—expertise and literature—either concurrently or consecutively. The expertise description may be in the form of either a narrative or a detailed outline.
Create a database of important facts. where. Include process documentation and full citations of sources. and economic aspects. is given a particularly difficult assignment. Martinez. including deﬁnitions. PLAN FOR ANALYZING A KNOWLEDGE TASK Job: Date: Analyst: All Management Personnel. and distribute an anonymous response questionnaire to a sample of employees. consult a lawyer. director of Personnel Services. Prepare Knowledge Task Description Write up the details of sexual harassment in outline form for deﬁning and understanding sexual harassment in the workplace. she decides to work a bit smarter—she will plan the project ﬁrst. Reese. what. locate references. vice president of Human Resources at Reese Manufacturing. where. whether it is a problem for women in the company. though. Create Synthesis Select and use at least two of the synthesis methods: one for understanding the elements and one for process understanding. Search for and Analyze the Literature Identify articles. The following is her plan of action. cultural. Fortunately. how. has informed her that three women have complained about being harassed at Reese and that this is at least two incidents too many. and what other companies are doing about the problem. Sheu is well qualiﬁed to handle the assignment. Analyze the who. and obtain federal and state regulations. she is familiar with the process of working through all the steps. Inc.222 Documenting Workplace Expertise PLANNING A KNOWLEDGE TASK ANALYSIS Christina Sheu. Because she has completed several such analyses in the past. review complaint records. Martinez wants to know the legal definition of sexual harassment. James Martinez. This time. Sheu Task or Subject Matter Deﬁning Sexual Harassment and Managing Sexual Harassment Grievances Search for and Analyze Experts Interview J. . (month/day/year) C. which she may change or add to as she continues with her analysis. legal. and how employees are and are not being mistreated at Reese. incorporate historical.
and communication at the understanding level to all employees. and search company records. She could also decide to review the reference list at the end of an article. . The ﬁnal performance proposal established the performance requirement of (1) company compliance with sexual harassment laws and (2) managers being able to follow the sexual harassment grievance process. a process. Literature Search In Sheu’s file drawer are copies of articles from the publications Human Resource Management and Human Resource Development Quarterly on the topic of sexual harassment. watching people in their work environment. distribute questionnaires.S. Sheu knows she can interview people. checking the information gathered from one group of people against that gathered from their supervisors. sorting the information into useful categories. or call the local U. conducting a group interview. She ﬁgures that the expertise she is studying will often not be done openly. and so forth. She keeps extensive ﬁles on current topics and is known for being able to come up with articles when others need them. she uses the services of the public library. observe people at work. ask the librarian to make a computer search for appropriate articles. government information ofﬁce. When her needs go beyond her personal resources. looking for contradictions. among other alternatives. She decides to do everything but observe experts at work. Other methods she could include in her plan are talking to many people. and the like. she will limit them to only a few key experts.Detailing Knowledge Tasks 223 Task or Subject Matter Identiﬁcation This step is easy. The ﬁrst performance issue required a company policy. Other methods she can include in her plan are tossing out the extraneous data. Because interviewing and observing are time-consuming. Expertise Analysis Sheu knows from experience that this step often involves pulling her information together to see where the holes are and where else she needs to look. The second performance issue resulted in a new task for all managers in the company and the required expertise in implementing the process. Expertise Search For this step. Sheu and Martinez have already conducted a performance diagnosis.
Take a few minutes at this time to develop a plan for analyzing just one of the knowledge tasks on your task inventory. she keeps a variety of paper forms that will help her in her synthesis and subject matter description steps. observations. Nevertheless. The task of searching and analyzing information on work behavior in an organization is a demanding one. ✓ CHECKPOINT 䊐 In Chapters 10 and 11.224 Documenting Workplace Expertise Literature Analysis Years of experience have taught Sheu to keep reference notes in her computer. In analyzing knowledge tasks. Synthesis and Knowledge Task Description This part of Sheu’s plan will be finalized when she is further along in her search. If any of the tasks requires you to interact with people or manipulate ideas or understand an unclear system in your organization. but it can be as much fun as reading a good mystery. They must go into the world of work to get accurate information. and organizational records. questionnaires. . This forces her to analyze the material as she reads it. the four most commonly used search techniques are interviews. She will change her plan as she discovers new possibilities for analyzing the subject matter assigned to her. you wrote your own job description and created a task inventory. Notes can be grouped. sequenced. In a folder on her desk. Such plans have a way of changing as the analyst proceeds through the task. such a task qualiﬁes as an area of expertise suitable for a knowledge task analysis. or cut in many different ways to reveal patterns of information. TAKING THE EXPERTISE SEARCH-AND-ANALYSIS PATH Analysts who want firsthand information about people and performance must make an expertise search. She pays attention to who was quoted most often and to the material that shows up on many reference lists. creating a plan is a critical ﬁrst step. Sheu visualizes carrying out her plan while she does her behavior and literature searches. She will write ideas by these reference notes in her own words.
and rules have people found to be effective or ineffective in similar circumstances? What criteria and measuring rods have other experts used? What are some feasible alternatives? It is time for you to begin to search the literature on the knowledge task you are investigating. First.S. It is equally important for you to learn what other theorists and expert practitioners have thought about or done in such situations. one of his staff members said she had just heard her friend in another part of the company rave about a brilliant consultant who espoused situational leadership as a method for improving productivity. What behaviors. covered in depth in Chapter 7. These are the same four data collection techniques used in diagnosing workplace performance. TAKING THE LITERATURE SEARCH-AND-ANALYSIS PATH No analyst worth his or her salt would stop a knowledge task analysis after gathering expertise data. Finally. She volunteered to make a literature search of the subject.Detailing Knowledge Tasks 225 Each technique has its appropriate uses. She contacted the company librarian ﬁrst. He asked a few questions and established some concepts and keywords for the information she wanted. But. concepts. He entered the term leadership next and found nearly 1. He combined the two terms and queried the database again. Fewer than 70 entries mentioned productivity and leadership together. Just last month he accepted. models. on behalf of his employees. Then he sat down at his computer terminal and called up a business management database. and each demands competence in searching for and analyzing information. At a special meeting that afternoon. Aha! This was becoming a more manageable project. the best division award for overall improvement of operations. he entered the keyword productivity and learned that the database contained 4. the division must improve even more. CASE OF THE MANAGER UNDER PRESSURE Finn Parker was notified that he must improve productivity in the Hardware Division by 10 percent next year.000 entries from books and U. with their competitors giving them a run for their money. and foreign journals that mentioned the word productivity in the title or in an abstract of the work. he asked for entries with the combined terms productivity .400 entries.
the librarian thought a manual search should be made. and Work in America Studies. Business Periodicals Index (an index of two hundred business-oriented journals). articles index for the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. He recommended that the staff member go to the public library and ask the librarian there to guide her through the search of print indexes.” “Productivity Planning and Measuring the Results. just as the librarian did in the preceding example. the Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature. Perhaps she would find information that corroborated the consultant’s claim.226 Documenting Workplace Expertise and leadership that added either situation or situational as a modiﬁer.” and “After the Grid and Situationalism: A Systems View.” Under leadership she found articles titled “Leadership Style Training: A Myth. At the public library. One article. the analyst may have specified the subject too narrowly. The search began by asking for a count of citations containing the term productivity or leadership.” “Productivity Myths. . Using the Print Indexes The following are some of the indexes and resources available in most large public or university libraries: card catalog or digital index.” and “The Myth of Leadership Style Training and Planning Organizational Change. Explored might be a better word. Under productivity. Beyond the search printout. Either way. she consulted the Business Periodicals Index. or one chapter will rarely present a diversity of opinions or ideas on a subject. it promised to be an interesting search. The analyst must search the print indexes next.” She expected to ﬁnd several relevant articles among these. In this case. the Social Science Index (two thousand journals). Using a Keyword Search Efﬁciency in a literature search in this age of computer-based indexes depends on narrowing your subject matter to a few key words. one book. then productivity and leadership. the search located only one citation.” “Situational Leadership Theory: A Review. In the last instance. and then productivity with situational as the modiﬁer for leadership. she discovered references to articles titled “Managing Productivity in Organizations.
or findings did the material contain? Third. and two monographs—how does anyone begin to analyze this detailed material? Perhaps you already have your own method for absorbing and classifying print information.Detailing Knowledge Tasks 227 Such print indexes are frequently used for ﬁnding materials about business subjects. read the materials you have gathered and think about what you have read. ANALYZING THE DATA Twelve articles. If you need more material. Often overlooked by the new analyst are some fine opportunities to take advantage of the work done by previous researchers. but I recommend that you consider doing both. four books. and look for the answers. Argue with the author. This activity requires that you invest more time than money. approaches. Annotated bibliographies and references cited at the end of scholarly articles offer a wealth of resources. The cost to you is minimal. one video training program. Discard any resource that does not ﬁt your needs. Ask questions. its timeliness. Should you make a computer search or a search of print indexes? The decision is yours. covering the long-distance telephone call and the computer search time. Perhaps you are curious about the results of an exploratory trip through the print indexes. you will find that print indexes are current enough for most of your research needs. write the important ideas in the margins. review each resource for its relevance to your subject. write notes about what you have read in your own words. Second. On copies of articles. Nevertheless. and the accuracy and usefulness of the ideas it contains. Reference manuals and professional handbooks will help pinpoint the topic encapsulated within the larger context—a big-picture view that an analyst sometimes ignores when pursuing detailed information about a subject. . The following method is recommended: First. What useful or important ideas. They lag three months or more behind the actual publication dates of the materials they list and thus are not quite as upto-date as computer-based indexes. Now aren’t you curious about what you will ﬁnd when you do an actual computer search on your chosen subject? Ask your librarian to make such a search for you—especially if your subject is currently being discussed in the print media. but I assure you that you will be richly rewarded. go back to the indexes and search again.
plus an equally thorough search for and analysis of literature. The goal. Synthesis is pulling the pieces together again and simplifying and organizing them in a meaningful way. is your need to collect particularly relevant quotations. meaningful wholes. Expert synthesizers were studied to determine how they approach their tasks of turning collections of information into meaningful . then. and some notion of how the information may be applied effectively to accomplish the job task. The exception to this rule. Eventually. you will have a collection of important ideas. Some analysts do this synthesis step easily. almost unconsciously. these amateur analysts simply choose to select a few manageable pieces of the data and discard the rest. an awareness of what is relevant (and what is not). At the end of your literature search. Others ﬁnd themselves juggling vast quantities of unrelated data. the analyst. is to include in a synthesis all of the material that is important and useful. which either remain up in the air or come crashing down in messy heaps. will yield great quantities of material on cards.228 Documenting Workplace Expertise Expert analysts have learned that merely highlighting the text or copying the author’s words on note cards—or any other method of parroting information—does not facilitate analysis. frame. What can be done with such a collection of detail to make it useful? The step of combining the results of the behavioral search with the results of the literature search is next. papers. computers. SYNTHESIZING THE DATA Analysis is taking apart and examining pieces of collected data. These you will copy into a computer-based bibliographic reference system. and fabric—so subject matter cannot be used when it is in the form of a collection of bits of information. Just as a kite cannot be flown as a collection of pieces—tail. a historical perspective or context for the subject matter. Such tactics only add clutter and confusion to the work of analysis. Synthesis is an essential step in integrating and understanding the subject matter of knowledge tasks. and in the memory of the analyst. but expert synthesizing can be learned. string. It is up to you. to integrate and shape the detailed facts and impressions you have collected into usable. of course. A thorough search for and analysis of expertise. Such arbitrary choosing inevitably results in their leaving out some crucial information. This is not a simple step.
two-. Using systematic patterns of thinking. select. you regularly encounter synthesis models. Undoubtedly. they analyze it. WHAT IS A SYNTHESIS MODEL? A synthesis model is a structure. and then they work with it. They gather their data. Despite the fact that they had trouble describing their mental processes precisely. The notions of levels of need and of decreasing instances of need ﬁt his data well. compose. Synthesis models are created by disciplined minds. relate. these authors have provided us with unique frameworks within which to simplify. these experts asserted that they always begin to synthesize with a rich store of information. Abraham Maslow probably did not set out to create his famous hierarchy of needs. They ﬁnd a synthesis that is logical. summarize. simplify. argue with. organize. Because you are reading this book. EIGHT TYPES OF SYNTHESIS MODELS Our expert synthesizers describe eight synthesis techniques: ■ Reﬂection ■ Two-axis matrix ■ Three-axis matrix . Some prefer using a single favorite synthesis technique. attitudes.Detailing Knowledge Tasks 229 wholes (Swanson. The synthesis may be one-. Herzberg’s theory X and theory Y styles of management and Covey’s seven habits of highly effective people are synthesis models. You will beneﬁt from having a variety of synthesis models at hand. or three-dimensional. they combine. a hierarchy! Such a synthesis process is not magical. arrange. impression. ideas. organize. or opinions—about a subject. and ﬁt the information into a synthesis. But one synthesis model will not ﬁt all situations. used to organize and communicate a large amount of information—facts. in words or on paper. and holds meaning for themselves and others. others use a variety of techniques. conceptualize. I assume that you read organization-oriented publications and participate in business training seminars. 1981). He studied people and thought about them and their motivations. and portray great quantities of information about the subject of management. Voilà. encompasses the data. With their models.
Two-Axis Matrix If analysts have a favorite method of synthesis. some stare out the window. Some walk. others at night. When creating a two-axis matrix. a powerful metaphor. Figure 15. only reﬂection does not lend itself to capturing the synthesis on a worksheet. Where the two axes cross.230 Documenting Workplace Expertise ■ Flowchart ■ Events network ■ Dichotomy ■ Argumentation ■ Graphic models Of these.2 provides an example of a two-axis matrix that helps organize and classify the complex concept of exploitation. The products of reﬂective thinking are likely to be a metaphor. a cartoon. they are also in control of the quality of their thinking.” Some examples are simple. When they are in control of the condition under which they think. a set of factors. it is the two-axis matrix. Analysts who use reﬂection as a synthesis method have found their favorite places and times to think. some go to their favorite café and have a cup of coffee. some are complicated. Reﬂection All eight synthesis methods involve reﬂective thinking. an obvious truth. cells common to two of the variables are formed. but here I emphasize reﬂection as a distinct method for considering a subject matter with the goal of seeing it in its “right” relations. a narrative—something that somehow “says it all. If we were to pass laws against using the two-axis matrix. Individual cells may be filled with information or may be void. both business and education would grind along at a much slower pace. Some think better in the morning. or a detailed formula takes shape in their minds. you express one set of variables as a row of descriptive terms on the horizontal axis and the second set as a row of terms on the vertical axis. The usefulness of this method is affirmed by the frequency with which it appears. These reﬂective thinkers juggle their data until a pattern. Either condition should hold .
the three-axis matrix is not as familiar as the two-axis matrix. It is not ﬂat like the two-axis matrix but cube shaped—a three- . Run a trial two-axis matrix synthesis of the subject matter data you have collected.2 Two-axis matrix showing equilibrium among potential exploitative relationships in industry and business Source: Swanson (1986). Three-Axis Matrix To most of us. Then he checks off the cells by content and information source. He simply writes all the titles on one axis and classiﬁes the items of information covered in all the publications on the other axis. The appendix includes a two-axis matrix form ready for you to copy. use it. some signiﬁcance for the analyst. If you think such a worksheet could be used to synthesize your data.Detailing Knowledge Tasks 231 INDUSTRY AND BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT Society Employees Owners U RI M Society IB IL Proprietary Shareholder Executive Managerial Salaried Hourly Consumers Taxpayers Interest Groups Regulatory Agencies Government Policy U EQ INDUSTRY AND BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT Proprietary Shareholder Executive Managerial Salaried Hourly Consumers Taxpayers Interest Groups Regulatory Agencies Government Policy Owners Employees Figure 15. One analyst I know uses the two-axis matrix to organize the content of each piece of research literature he has collected. A void that should be ﬁlled is a clear signal that an important piece of data is missing. The pattern of checks in the matrix cells provides a synthesis of the subject matter.
232 Documenting Workplace Expertise dimensional object. documentation or preparation steps. Figure 15. and conﬂuence and HUMAN RESOURCE FUNCTIONS Development Rewards Appraisal Staffing Operational MANAGEMENT LEVEL Managerial Strategic Technical System MANAGEMENT Political System AREA Cultural System Figure 15. Flowchart Flowcharting provides a method for organizing and synthesizing information that contains input-process-output items. .3 Three-axis matrix depicting a human resource management cube Source: Tichy (1986). it should be clear that the three-axis matrix is a powerful tool for breaking down and reconnecting a very complex subject. Given the large quantity of individual cells produced by even the simplest of these models. Used by permission. decision points. intervals of time. The appendix includes a three-axis matrix form for you to copy and use as a synthesis tool. or types of things. be aware that some people are not visually oriented and may have difﬁculty in mentally slicing this type of matrix into a series of two-axis matrices. If you find that working with three-axis matrices is easy for you.3 shows a three-axis matrix used to organize the important area of human resources. The third axis is most often used to express a set of abstract variables such as judgment of quality. direction of ﬂow. Such a model could be used to think about the elements of an organizational human resource function.
try to identify the process elements that belong between them. the requirements for documentation. Discusses with Personnel Asks for Action Supervisor Checks with Personnel on Action Asks for Action Personnel Decides Action to Be Taken Employee Submits Documentation. Discusses with VP of HRD Action Taken Employee Satisfied ? no Asks for Action VP Decides Action to Be Taken yes Action Taken yes Drop the Grievance Figure 15. Some experts and many systems are process oriented. Figure 15. If your subject matter data contain inputs and outputs. It clearly shows who is responsible for what.4 displays a synthesis model of a grievance process for handling incidents of sexual harassment in a ﬁrm.Detailing Knowledge Tasks 233 divergence.4 Flowchart model Employee Satisfied ? no Employee Institutes Action with Agency Outside the Company . Harassed Employee Harassed by Supervisor ? yes Employee Prepares and Submits Written Documentation. and the end result of not resolving the grievance. Discusses with Supervisor no Employee Prepares and Submits Written Documentation.
An analyst in a fast-food chain looked at the satisﬁed customers (outputs) and the hungry customers (inputs). Flowcharting is especially useful for mentally and visually walking through present and future organizational processes or for identifying blocks. Figure 15. Certainly. More than a few subject matter analysts have used events networks to synthesize the masses of information needed for understanding and curing problematic systems. Dichotomy One way to approach ambiguous pieces of information is to fit the data into two mutually exclusive groups or camps of contradictory issues. and consultants. Some will require a huge expanse of ﬁne print to show the lapse of time and the depth and breadth of activities undertaken to reach a goal. rather than what is. espoused theory and theory . Argyris (1993) used this synthesis method when he subsumed management practice into two categories. this was no way to run a business. Events networks are systems oriented. Synthesis models of critical processes can lead to better policies and improved decision making in organizations. He used the metaphor of the flow of transactions from the hungry customer to the satisﬁed customer to synthesize the idea of solving customer problems. Often such synthesis models are used to describe what should be. Others are computerized and help calculate the total time and coordination efforts needed for large projects.5 shows a simple events network that helped solve a major organizational problem.234 Documenting Workplace Expertise Many subjects that do not appear to lend themselves easily to process-oriented thinking might beneﬁt from such a synthesis. A form showing the flowcharting symbols is available in the appendix for you to copy and use. The appendix provides a sample form for constructing an events network. managers. It seems that the subscribers deleted were the ones who had just been entered in the records. Events networks can be made as complicated and precise as necessary. Events Network Time-bound synthesis models that combine all the critical activities and events aimed at the achievement of goals have proven their value to planners. They will help you take into account all the activity paths and events by which work toward an organizational goal is accomplished. but no one had made the system visible.
5 Events network used in resolving an organizational problem Deletes Expired Subscriptions (co) Updates Subscriber File (co) Month Ends sc = Subscription clerk co = Computer operator mc = Mailroom clerk .Receives and Records New Subscriptions (sc) Month Begins Updates Subscriber File (co) Receives Printed Newsletters (mc) Receives and Records New Subscriptions (sc) Prints Labels for Newsletter Mailing (co) Receives Printed Labels (mc) Receives and Records New Subscriptions (sc) Updates Subscriber File (co) Updates Subscriber File (co) Mail Drops Labeled Newsletters (mc) Figure 15.
Religion and politics are two cases in point. yes or no.7). But finding an answer to the question “What is the main societal condition that leads to sexual harassment?” may be possible. Such dichotomies help clarify unclear. this or that.6). I have included a sample form in the appendix. To work with a diffuse subject area. He used the model to show managers the contradictions between what they said and what they did. product life cycle diagrams. Again. The intellectual attack provides the basis for modifying and reﬁning the original hypothesis. some seemingly irresolvable issues do lend themselves to reason and dialogue.236 Documenting Workplace Expertise in use. treelike. some subject matter does not lend itself to argumentation because of the irresolvable nature of the facts. wheel shaped. I have attempted to do just this (see Figure 15. and more. The sky is . undeﬁned subjects. such as older workers. become more clearly deﬁned when they are synthesized with a dichotomy model (see Figure 15. Argumentation requires that you pose a best-possible hypothesis and its supporting logic. On the other hand. Difﬁcult or ambiguous subjects. Argumentation On the one hand. Like the dichotomy technique. The parties to a debate must attack their own arguments intellectually before those arguments are torn apart by their opponents. Graphic Models Organizational charts. a simple sheet of paper with headings is all that is needed to complete an argumentation. The form will be a reminder for you to use this straightforward but powerful synthesis method. divide the data into two parts: good or bad. triangular. the argumentation method explores two opposing facets of an issue. maps—these can be circular. Although a dichotomy can be constructed on a sheet of paper folded in half. The process ends with a resolution to the argument. spiral. Classical debate is a prime example of argumentation. The question “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” is not resolvable. I have included a form in the appendix to remind you that argumentation may be an appropriate synthesis tool for your knowledge task. You then disengage from this ﬁrst hypothesis and propose a counterhypothesis. Argumentation is a synthesis method aimed at resolving two or more theses or positions. For purposes of illustration.
and unable to compete mentally • Difﬁcult to train older workers Common blocks to older workers • Beneﬁts are frozen at age sixty-ﬁve • Early retirement is encouraged by greater beneﬁts at an earlier age • Fixed work hours and days limit freedom to do other things • Older workers’ experience and skills are not valued • Must retire older workers to make room for younger workers Advantages to the ﬁrm that employs older workers • Older worker by tradition cooperates with coworkers • Reliable work habits • Experience can help ﬁrm • Older workers have less turnover • Not so concerned about advancement • Loyalty to the job and the ﬁrm • Older worker may pay in. . the triangle could have come ﬁrst to the mind’s eye or through doodling on paper. not making it on retirement income • Add meaning and purpose to life • Greater social contacts • Identity is tied to work • Look forward to longer life and better health • Use their education Common employer beliefs • Age is a deterrent to productivity • Jobs are not important to the older worker • Advance in age correlated with diminishing value on the Job • Older workers are rigid. For the analyst who thinks visually. visual quality that stays with even the most casual viewer. rather than draw on beneﬁts (optional) • Equal or better productivity rates Figure 15.6 Dichotomy example involving older workers the limit when it comes to graphic models.Detailing Knowledge Tasks 237 Facts Related to the Older Worker Facts Related to the Firm Background facts—older worker • Over half of all employed Americans want to work past sixty-ﬁve • Older workers remain unemployed longer than others • Chronological age is not an indicator of mental or physiological aging • Only half of U.S. it is easily understood. When analysts capture the subject matter in a particularly ﬁtting graphic model. visual.2) exempliﬁes the simple. workers are covered by a pension plan • Earnings account for 25% of money income of elderly • Life expectancy and ﬁnancial need will keep people in the workforce longer • The job-seeking skills of older workers are often outdated • Career planning programs are increasingly available • Fewer older workers will pay into pension plans and more will draw from them (optional) Older-worker qualities • Superior attendance record • Low accident record • Higher job satisfaction • Eager to learn new skills • Ability to learn continues into old age Reasons older workers continue to work • Financial. inclusive qualities of a memorable graphic synthesis model. The Taxonomy of Performance (Figure 2. Such models have an appealing. inﬂexible.
Supporting facts and assumptions: The many instances of sexual harassment against women can be found in books and in print and broadcast media daily. no step is missed or skipped. The form for graphic modeling in the appendix is simply a blank page with sample illustrations in the frame. In the linear model. . Counterhypothesis: Sexual harassment is sometimes used against the male members of our culture. Men and women need to raise each other’s awareness and to counter past and current views of persons as property. Resolution: The real issue is one of power. no matter how powerful. the linear model does not. Supporting facts and assumptions: It is true that many men have reported incidents of being harmed by sexual harassment that was perpetrated by both men and women. The difference between a linear model and a flowchart model is important. While the flowchart includes decision points. All steps are experiences. Figure 15. the law. When you must create a synthesis model showing the qualities. as objects to serve at the pleasure of those in greater power. Aim to make the “thousand words” of your graphic models say something important about your subject. quantities. a graphic interaction model is appropriate. The practice has harmed and will continue to harm women because policies in the workplace. dotted or dashed arrows—whatever will help synthesize the meaning of the transactions. and the Constitution do not disallow such behaviors. This form has been included to remind you to unleash your creative faculties whenever you synthesize a subject matter graphically. sexual harassment will no longer be an acceptable behavior for anyone.238 Documenting Workplace Expertise Argumentation Subject: Sexual Harassment Analyst: Major hypothesis: Sexual harassment is a variety of behaviors practiced by the male members of our culture against the female members of our culture. I created simple linear models to organize and synthesize the subject matter of this book. Linear models can be used to capture the thinking processes of expert performers such as loan ofﬁcers.7 Example of argumentation dealing with sexual harassment Linear graphic models are particularly useful for depicting the steps or phases of a process. Whenever women and men collectively organize and demand respect for their persons and their self-esteem and then work to aim all persons in society toward courtesy and fairness. and directions of interactions between people or machines. The transactional nature of much of organizational life lends itself to the use of heavy and light. This practice would seem to contradict the contention that sexual harassment is the result of a cultural bent against women.
the knowledge task description ends with a list of references and other sources of information that were actually used in the ﬁnal description—not every article or book you have read. or providing content for a training program. The last page of the same subject matter description lists the resources used. ACME INTERNATIONAL: KNOWLEDGE TASK DESCRIPTION OF PERFORMING AS A SHIPPING TEAM MEMBER The Acme International case study presented in Chapter 3 introduced you to an organization trying to cope with performance problems. Part of the proposal was a decision to revamp the job of shipper and to train those currently holding the job.8 contains a knowledge task analysis of sexual harassment—a knowledge expertise description based on several synthesis models. You may or may not decide to include your synthesis model in the knowledge task description. meaningfully organized. while others prefer an outline format.Detailing Knowledge Tasks 239 Caution: Although the diversity of graphic modeling offers great freedom to the subject matter analyst. The information in a subject matter description is logically arranged and accessible. WHICH SYNTHESIS MODEL? You have collected information. and synthesized it. Figure 15. For credibility. the model should not always be carried forward to the knowledge task description step. The final step in the process of analyzing knowledge tasks is writing the knowledge task description. and accurate. far too many graphic synthesis models confuse rather than clarify. relevant to the job. an orderly presentation of all the important. . A performance improvement proposal for the Acme Shipping Department was presented in Chapter 6. writing a report to management. The key word is organized. In any event. It can be used for guiding performance research. Just because a graphic model works well for you does not mean that it will work for others. this model serves a useful purpose as the organizing framework for presenting the information. Therefore. A useful description will be complete. analyzed it. job-relevant information on a given subject. Some analysts prefer to develop their knowledge task descriptions in full sentences.
and nonaccidental touching. “Deliberate or repeated unsolicited verbal comments. Sexual harassment is 1.” (federal policy 1979) 3.240 Documenting Workplace Expertise Knowledge Task Description Sexual Harassment Policies and Responses Job or Program _____________________________________________ St. and intimidates. A. Men blame the women. or job of an employee is engaged in sexual harassment. Parker Approved By _________________________ Task: Responding to Sexual Harassment Performance Standard To ensure legal compliance on the part of the company and to install knowledge policies and procedures for discouraging and handling sexual harassment. D. 2. innuendos. their denial. 6. Behavior that demeans. Figure 15. C. 10. embarrasses. a supervisor who uses implicit or explicit coercive sexual behavior to control. references to women’s anatomy. Sexual Harassment is deﬁned in several ways. remarks. perhaps because of their cultural conditioning. whistles. generally taking place out of public view. 2. obscenities. saying that women provoke harassment by their actions or their manner of dress. Gradous Analyst ________________________________ F. whom they value as one of the team. The Harvard Business Review survey of 1980 revealed that: 1. Women may expect differential and less supportive treatment in the workplace—the men will stick together and cover for one another. Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in the work environment that threatens one’s person or one’s position in the organization. It takes the form of jokes. I. or affect the career. or their lack of awareness of women’s issues. inﬂuence. Paul Location _______________________________ 1 of _____ 5 Page ____ M/D/Y Effective Date ________________________ Company-wide Department ____________________________ N/A Cancels Page Dated ___________________ D. “A prohibited personnel practice when it results in discrimination or action against an employee on the basis of conduct not related to performance.8 Example of knowledge task description focusing on sexual harassment . Ranges from looks or verbal innuendos to explicit sexual demands linked to performance evaluation and keeping one’s job. B. Jokes. confuses. leers. 7. Any sexually oriented practice that undermines a person’s job performance or threatens economic livelihood. Men don’t perceive sexual harassment the same as women do. 5. Managers tend to ignore or to deny that any incidents of harassment have occurred within areas for which they are responsible. they may warn or otherwise protect the offender. 3. 8. salary. and double entendres about women and directed at women workers. gestures. or physical actions of a sexual nature that are unwelcome. Unwanted behavior on the part of one person toward another. Regulations requiring women to wear provocative costumes at work and not making the same requirement of men. 9. catcalls. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued guidelines for executive action about sexual harassment. or deliberately eyeing a woman up and down. Verbal threats or abusive comments. 4. Within the federal government.
Harvard Business Review readers rate supervisors’ behaviors as more serious and threatening than the same behaviors by peers.8 Example of knowledge task description focusing on sexual harassment (continued) . IV. E. D. Some believe that the sexual harassment issue is a side issue. Making a fuss over an ofﬁce romance that has ended. (Such behavior between persons of unequal status is open to the question of coercion. D. Being embarrassed or feeling the tension of sexual attraction to another person and choosing not to act on it. A. Persons in hierarchical positions of authority (usually men) can use their roles to place conditions of compliance (sexual or otherwise) on their subordinates.Detailing Knowledge Tasks 241 Knowledge Task Description Sexual Harassment Policies and Responses Job or Program _____________________________________________ St. where there are power differentials. Sexual harassment is not: 1. C. Parker Approved By _________________________ E. Mutual sexual behavior between consenting adults who happen to work in the same organization. Paul Location _______________________________ 2 of _____ 5 Page ____ M/D/Y Effective Date ________________________ Company-wide Department ____________________________ N/A Cancels Page Dated ___________________ D. Contrary to anthropologists’ claims. top management may fail or refuse to see the destructive actions of subordinates—actions that result in high turnover rates and that fail to make use of the full competencies of 40% of the workforce. III. Many fear that this issue might get in front of other minority rights issues. C. B. As power increases. E. Men conspire to keep silent about one another’s conduct in this area—the power to obscure or deny reality. H. F. A. the lifestyle of the cave dwellers may not have depended on the superior strength of the male hunters so much as on the steady food gathering behaviors of the females. Harassment is by deﬁnition integrated within a social context in which women as a group have a disproportionately small share of wealth and authority and social advantages compared to men as a group. At least one woman has been found guilty and punished for sexually harassing a man. the perceived ability to act on one’s wishes without suffering the consequences increases. II. Cries of sexual harassment could be used as a defense to cover issues of incompetence and poor work performance. A. Sexual harassment may be seen as a power play. 3. Some say this exempliﬁes the power of a special interest group to exaggerate the importance of a minor reality. Gradous Analyst ________________________________ F. Sexual harassment can be traced throughout the history of the human race. B. Figure 15. a conscious or unconscious way of expressing authority and dominance. Sexual harassment can be seen as an issue of power. In hierarchies. Women must use energy to fend off unwanted behaviors instead of applying their capacities to performance on the job. G. Some say that at least a few women ask for such treatment through a desire for some personal advantage such as a promotion or special favors.) 2.
religion. Harassed persons may ﬁle civil suits under tort law because employers are deemed responsible for the actions of their employees. VI. Many of the legal solutions for sexual harassment are costly and relatively ineffective. state.8 Example of knowledge task description focusing on sexual harassment (continued) .242 Documenting Workplace Expertise Knowledge Task Description Sexual Harassment Policies and Responses Job or Program _____________________________________________ St. strong prevention programs by employers may mitigate against collecting damages. A. A. E. and ofﬁce workers and suffered sexual harassment in silence—this after being welcomed as workers during World War II. B. Gradous Analyst ________________________________ F. V. she is presumed to be telling the truth of her experience of sexual harassment. women in factories were denied privacy to go to the bathroom and then were blamed for unseemly behavior. shot her employer because he “ruined her character. Judge Finesilver found Johns-Manville guilty of permitting sexual harassment in the workplace.” C. the Civil Rights Act made sex discrimination illegal and sexual harassment came to be seen as a subissue of discrimination. In Minnesota today when a woman ﬁles a civil suit and it is her word against his. F. In the Middle Ages. The action against sexual harassment beings. C. Paul Location _______________________________ 3 of _____ 5 Page ____ M/D/Y Effective Date ________________________ Company-wide Department ____________________________ N/A Cancels Page Dated ___________________ D. Redbook magazine surveyed its readers on the subject of sexual harassment and experienced an avalanche of replies. F. The EEOC guidelines of April 1980 deﬁne and prohibit sexual harassment for private employers of ﬁfteen or more employees and all federal. The law is male oriented and may perceive certain male behaviors to be socially acceptable. D. and local government workers. women worked in the “pink ghetto” as waitresses. D. E. the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued guidelines deﬁning and outlawing sexual harassment in the workplace. C. however. Under Section 703 of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 1915. In 1980. B. D. In 1976. or national origin. Slave owners often shared their women slaves with male visitors. C. In 1978. Parker Approved By _________________________ B. sex. the employer may be held responsible for failing to provide a safe place to work. lords claimed the “right of ﬁrst night” with the brides of their serfs. From 1950 to 1965. In the case of rape or assault. a housemaid. Carrie Davis. Figure 15. and so on. only a handful of suits have been tried. which prohibits discriminatory employment practices based on race. sales clerks. During the Industrial Revolution. Women working in cottage industries were dependent on the goodwill of middlemen who brought them supplies and picked up the ﬁnished goods—men who threatened the women with cutting their supplies or with bringing inferior materials. In 1964.
8 Example of knowledge task description focusing on sexual harassment (continued) . B. Collective action by women is possible. A. Documentation on the part of the victim is essential because it forces the organization to behave responsibly. guidelines. D. Figure 15. C. action must be taken against the offenders. Parker Approved By _________________________ VII. and the victim must be protected against retaliation. Unions represent at least the potential for protection by providing sanctions through the contracting process. B. E. To assure effectiveness. the Chief Executive Ofﬁcer must endorse the policies and processes. F. A. Picketing and leaﬂeting to expose sexual harassment (public embarrassment) are somewhat effective in convincing management that this is a personnel issue. C. and grievance processes to limit sexual harassment in the workplace. and a gesture is not appropriate. but they will not do so unless organizational policies support and make clear what behaviors are not permitted. Working Women United Institute was formed as a network for referrals. Women must begin to tell the men they work with that a remark is not funny.Detailing Knowledge Tasks 243 Knowledge Task Description Sexual Harassment Policies and Responses Job or Program _____________________________________________ St. The grievance process must be simple and visible to encourage legitimate complaints. legal advice. In 1977. Paul Location _______________________________ 4 of ____ 5 Page ____ M/D/Y Effective Date ________________________ Company-wide Department ____________________________ N/A Cancels Page Dated ___________________ D. Such policies must cover all types of harassment. Organizational leaders can establish policies. Action internal to an organization is possible. The organization must offer support through the process so that the injured employee does not exit the organization or seek outside support before exhausting internal steps. a touch is not welcome. Gradous Analyst ________________________________ F. G. VIII. and job counseling service for victims of sexual harassment.
” Harvard Business Review. C. R. Safran. Inc.” Management Review. “Sexual harassment: The view from the top. Zemke. “Sexual harassment: Is training the key?” Training.” Harvard Business Review. Collins. Hannaford. 86. “Corporate culture determines productivity.” Redbook. Whitney. 42–44. B.A. General Mills. Woodrum. B. M. Remmele Engineering. October 1. 46. pp. 1981. 51–54. & Halladay Dixie Lindsey. 77–94. C. Figure 15. Dorsey. . Larry Johnson. Interviews Fred Gradous. Parker Approved By _________________________ Resource List Print materials Backhouse.” Personnel Journal.” Advanced Management Journal. Driscoll.” Business Week. May–June 1981. 1981. May 4. Renick. P. 82–84. pp. T. some won’t. 1979. pp. March 1981.244 Documenting Workplace Expertise Knowledge Task Description Sexual Harassment Policies and Responses Job or Program _____________________________________________ St. pp. pp. Gradous Analyst ________________________________ F.8 Example of knowledge task description focusing on sexual harassment (continued) . 122.” Industry Week. J. “Sexual harassment at work: Why it happens. pp. 30–32. winter 1981. . “Sexual harassment lands companies in court. NJ: Prentice Hall. “Sexual harassment . L. pp. pp. 20–26. C. Paul Location _______________________________ 5 of _____ 5 Page ____ M/D/Y Effective Date ________________________ Company-wide Department ____________________________ N/A Cancels Page Dated ___________________ D. & Blodgett. July 1980. & Bova. February 1981. & Cohen. J. 2728. “Dealing with sexual harassment. “The sexual side of enterprise. Windhorst. . 120. Englewood Cliffs. R. “Sexual harassment: New concern about an old problem. Inc. 658–662. E.. March–April 1981. 22. Cunningham. Rowe. C. pp. 45–51. M. Sexual harassment on the job: How to avoid the working woman’s nightmare. . R. what to do about it.. L. some see it .. August 1980.
• Read recent teamwork literature. “Process seat cover order” was one of the procedural tasks from the seven-task inventory and was analyzed in Chapter 13. how. detailed outline or narrative on teamwork based on the analysis and synthesis steps. methods.9 Example of shipper’s knowledge task . • Write important ideas from the literature in my own words. Figure 15. Figure 15. • Questionnaire to current and former Acme team participants.” Analysis Plan for Knowledge Task Step 1. • Call industry association for information on teamwork. Create Synthesis • Select and use one or more of the methods for synthesizing information.9 offers an analysis of a shipper’s knowledge task expertise: “Perform as shipping team member. Search for and Analyze Exports • Interview 3 shippers and 3 managers about teamwork. if any. • Consult a teamwork expert. Search for and Analyze Literature • Review research on teamwork. where. Step 5. Step 2. Prepare Knowledge Task Description • Write a comprehensive. and why of teamwork among shippers. • Include prerequisites. In Chapter 14. the task inventory for the job was included in Chapter 11. Select Job Task • Achieve teamwork and greater collaboration among shippers. and outcomes of successful teamwork. when. Step 4. • Analyze the who. a system task—“Monitor and troubleshoot shipping operations”—was analyzed.Detailing Knowledge Tasks 245 The description of the job of shipper in the Shipping Department of Acme International was presented in Chapter 10. what. Step 3.
E. Teamwork is a method by which two or more people accomplish work. Improved communication is a beneﬁt of teamwork. collaborate freely. down. and communicate openly and clearly with one another. 1992). B. This is contrasted with a nonteam. teamwork.246 Documenting Workplace Expertise Knowledge Task Description Shipper Job or Program _________________________ 1 of ______ 7 Page ____ St. shippers will work in teams to remedy the problems using the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle. A task force may. Location _______________________________ (M/D/Y) Effective Date ________________________ Shipping Department ____________________________ (M/D/Y or “None”) Cancels Page Dated ___________________ R. and solve its own problems (Baker. Teams are characterized by members who support each other. or shortfalls in daily production. 1982). Team building is the attempt to assist the work group to become moreadept at its own problems by learning. diagnose. Minn. Common kinds of teams: (1) Committees usually serve as investigative or advisory bodies reporting to the person or agency that has appointed or organized them. 1.9 Example of shipper’s knowledge task (continued) . A. and laterally. (3) Process improvement teams are groups of employees and supervisors who identify and solve problems to increase the effectiveness of their work groups through improved quality and higher productivity (adapted from Quick. It is characterized by collaboration. shipping process problems. A. for its life. 1979). Teamwork results in beneﬁts both for the members of a team and for the organization in which they work. and (2) learn to apply certain principles and skills of group process toward greater team effectiveness (Burke. to identify. and team building. (2) Task forces are temporary problem-solving groups formed to deal with issues or projects that cross functions or lines of authority. clear and open methods for communicating and dealing with conﬂict. with the help of a process consultant. be full time or part time. Team members communicate openly with information ﬂowing freely in all directions up. shared bases of power and decision making. The beneﬁts and importance of teamwork. particularly the interrelationship of process and content. Paul. C. Deﬁnitions of team. which tends to be a group of people with personal agendas that are more valuable to the individuals than to the group as a whole. Torraco Analyst ________________________________ Department head Approved By _________________________ Task #6-Perform as Shipping Team Member Performance Standard When confronted with difﬁcult substitution problems. Collaboration—people working well together and supporting one another-is a primary beneﬁt of teamwork. B. 2. Figure 15. A team is a group of people who have as their highest priority the accomplishment of team goals. and consensus on the goals to be achieved. D. Team building is a set of activities whereby members of a work team: (1) begin to understand more thoroughly the nature of group dynamics and effective teamwork.
The organizational culture must reﬂect a democratic style of leadership. This initial stage is characterized by a transition from individual to team member status and by the formal and informal testing of the team leader’s guidance. Prerequisites for successful teamwork include the following: A.Detailing Knowledge Tasks 247 Knowledge Task Description Shipper Job or Program _________________________ 2 of ______ 7 Page ____ St. This is likely the most difﬁcult stage for the team. Team members must want involvement in teams—that is. Figure 15. participation in teams must be voluntary. and lack of consensus on the purpose and goals for the group. Quality improvement is often the result of teamwork. B. another member is there to pick up the slack. C. whenever one member lacks resources or expertise. Location _______________________________ (M/D/Y) Effective Date ________________________ Shipping Department ____________________________ (M/D/Y or “None”) Cancels Page Dated ___________________ R. Teamwork allows a more efﬁcient application of resources and talents to identifying and solving problems. and they want to make the team look as good as possible. members rely solely on individual experience rather than collaboration to address problems. Torraco Analyst ________________________________ Department head Approved By _________________________ C. fear. Members realize the task is different and perhaps more difﬁcult than they expected. Teams are more highly motivated if they are currently facing problems. The stages of team growth (adapted from Scholtes. Not yet exhibiting true teamwork. Forming. 4. Open communication prevents duplication of effort. A. and suspicion about what lies ahead. With the cooperation and pooling of resources by team members. D. defensiveness. Successful teams require the support and commitment of the formal team leader(s). and the support of top management can result in tangible improvements in quality. Conversely. Other behaviors exhibited during the storming phase include resistance. E. decision making based on data. Team membership instills team pride in members. teams lose focus and interest in the absence of problems requiring solutions. not through involuntary assignment. Minn. Team leaders must have expertise in team building and in all phases of team development. At team formation. as well as some anticipation and optimism about the team’s capabilities. B. 1988). Solving work problems using teamwork. 3. Paul. questioning the selection of the project and of the other members who appear on the team. Successful teams require adequate time for team development (approximately a year) and adequate time to accomplish their prescribed goals. Teamwork and team-building efforts must be supported by top management. D. Storming.9 Example of shipper’s knowledge task (continued) . feelings of anxiety. disunity among members. there may be feelings of pride in team membership.
When team members get stuck in personal disagreements. You have clearly expressed quite a number of ideas. At times. 1992). At this point. Each member then has an opportunity to revise or correct what was said. Figure 15. Performing. It is not uncommon for an individual’s behavior to be detrimental to team progress. Members feel pride and satisfaction at the team’s progress. Team members can constructively confront this undesirable behavior.9 Example of shipper’s knowledge task (continued) . mediation between the members is needed. One member may attempt to prevent or discredit the contributions of another. and then does so for each side of the argument. As the team develops. For example. Mutual support among members leads to an increased sense of self-worth and enhanced team performance. and ﬁnally the group can begin to make signiﬁcant progress in addressing the project. Minn. C. Team members collectively establish team ground rules and boundaries (the “norms”). Location _______________________________ (M/D/Y) Effective Date ________________________ Shipping Department ____________________________ (M/D/Y or “None”) Cancels Page Dated ___________________ R. Another team member acting as the mediator intervenes to illuminate and clarify each point of view. the mediator asks if the clariﬁed versions reﬂect each disputant’s argument. and relief that everything is apparently going to work out. Change necessary for team progress is more readily identiﬁed and implemented. Torraco Analyst ________________________________ Department head Approved By _________________________ C. This often clariﬁes real differences or areas of disagreement that may not have been acknowledged. Since the team now has the ability to prevent or work through obstacles to performance.248 Documenting Workplace Expertise Knowledge Task Description Shipper Job or Program _________________________ 3 of ______ 7 Page ____ St. A. as long as the confrontation is conﬁned to the undesirable behavior and not directed at the offender’s personality. work is being done and group goals are beginning to be achieved. First. After clariﬁcation. Unkind comments about members or their ideas may surface. Confronting. group dynamics are such that certain members monopolize a discussion so completely that others can’t enter it or are so intimidated that they remain silent. I’d like to hear what some others have to say. Paul. 5. Intense or prolonged disagreement can occur during interactions among team members. Norming. Supporting. mediation can break the impasse and move discussions forward. Team-building roles (adapted from Quick. members have discovered each other’s strengths and weaknesses and begin to exhibit a collaborative approach to solving problems. Carol appears to have something she wishes to say. the mediator asks for permission from opposing members to interpret their positions. B. Mediating.” D. When disagreement between members becomes so polarized that they can’t move toward each other’s point of view. In this case. Initial tension and competition are replaced by acceptance of the team. a gatekeeper may say to monopolizers. acceptance of individual roles and membership on the team. there is a realization that support and encouragement of other members results in more and better contributions from them. As members begin to conﬁde in each other and identify common experiences. D. a sense of trust and team cohesion begins to develop. Gatekeeping.
Domination is a common obstacle to the effective functioning of teams. Labeling can sidetrack useful discussions and even cause a team discussion to be terminated. is opposed to idea arid provides the team with a reason for abandoning it. Torraco Analyst ________________________________ Department head Approved By _________________________ E. Unfortunately. Naysaying is a shortsighted and counterproductive behavior. A. Because of the personal animosity it engenders. Naysaying. D. Paul.Detailing Knowledge Tasks 249 Knowledge Task Description Shipper Job or Program _________________________ 4 of ______ 7 Page ____ St. Shutting off is a way that one member can quickly silence another. Labeling. During group problem-solving sessions. 6. If the dominator succeeds in monopolizing the team discussion. Figure 15. Labeling is very counterproductive to team progress because it elicits defensiveness and negative feelings among team members. This summary allows the group to reframe the real question to be answered and restores conﬁdence in the group’s purpose. for whatever reason. Labeling is the practice of putting a label on behavior or suggesting that another member has a particular attitude or unworthy motive. a team member intervenes to sum up what has been discussed so far. 1992). The major obstacle to the continued effectiveness of the team is that the dominator is more interested in pursuing personal agendas than in achieving the team’s goals. Team-subverting roles (adapted from Quick. In this situation. Dominating. it allows the team to escape from meaningful decision making.”Process” information highlights the team’s strengths and weaknesses and allows the team to improve its effectiveness. The speaker often responds to shutting-off behavior with anger or withdrawal. The member in the role of dominator wants to take over the team discussion and may be heavyhanded in his or her efforts to do so. the power of no often has disproportionate weight in many team deliberations. Shutting off. participation of other members will noticeably decline. B. C. it is not uncommon for groups to get lost in details and become confused as to the overriding issue or problem. The “processing” of group interaction is a review of what the group is doing effectively and what the group is doing ineffectively. Location _______________________________ (M/D/Y) Effective Date ________________________ Shipping Department ____________________________ (M/D/Y or “None”) Cancels Page Dated ___________________ R. Summarizing. Process observing. The process observer is usually a facilitator who provides members with feedback. Through interruption or at a pause in discussion. this behavior has a destructive effect on teambuilding efforts. For the moment. F. Other members may add to the summary and provide additional data on which further work can be based.9 Example of shipper’s knowledge task (continued) . the speaker is ignored or contradicted by another member. both positive and negative. Minn. During such confusion. about how they are functioning as a team. the team may be susceptible to the naysayer who. The team may be considering an option or proposal that has merit but that may also be unusual or risky.
250 Documenting Workplace Expertise
Knowledge Task Description
Job or Program _________________________
5 of ______
St. Paul, Minn.
Effective Date ________________________
(M/D/Y or “None”)
Cancels Page Dated ___________________
Approved By _________________________
7. Elements and practices of successful teams.
A. The problem-solving process can become more productive in the following
(1) Keep the group small. Full participation is more readily achieved in a
small group than in a large group. Experts recommend that optimum
group size is between ﬁve and nine members (Quick, 1992).
(2) Create a plan for team action with input from members. The team’s
action plan sets a timetable for achieving team objectives and
determines what advice, assistance, materials, training, and other
resources the team will need.
(3) Announce team meetings in advance. Deﬁne the issue to be addressed
at the meeting and encourage members to come prepared with ideas
and possible solutions. Individual preparation maximizes the time and
energy for group work and decision making.
(4) Groups are generally better at evaluating ideas than generating them;
individuals are better at coming up with ideas. Encourage members to
discuss an idea with the group, not with the originator. Other members
should not put undue pressure on the originator to defend or argue for
(5) Team members should have cues or reminders about the objectives
toward which the team is working. Timely agendas or key words that
have meaning for the group should be referred to or made visible in the
team’s work area.
B. Optimal group dynamics and teamwork can be developed in the following
(1) Achieve consensus on team goals. The goals of the team should be
consistent with its original mission. Goals should be clariﬁed and
discussed until full consensus among members is achieved. Unacceptable or unworkable goals must be modiﬁed or eliminated from the
(2) Establish basic guidelines for team behaviors. Team members should
agree on a few basic guidelines for how members will work together as
a group. Written guidance clariﬁes what behaviors the group considers
desirable versus those it considers unacceptable. For example, a broad
range of ideas and opinions should be encouraged, while individual
domination of discussion and criticism of other members should be
identiﬁed as unacceptable.
(3) Deﬁne the roles of team members. Once the talents, experiences, and
interests of team members are apparent, work will proceed most
efﬁciently if team roles are clearly deﬁned. The roles of team leader,
facilitator, technical expert(s), quality advisor, and others must be
(4) Encourage discussion and constructive criticism of ideas and proposals.
If necessary, rephrase criticism in a positive way. The nature of criticism
is such that it is often expressed in negative terms. Yet critical thinking
is needed to reach team goals.
Figure 15.9 Example of shipper’s knowledge task (continued)
Detailing Knowledge Tasks 251
Knowledge Task Description
Job or Program _________________________
6 of ______
St. Paul, Minn.
Effective Date ________________________
(M/D/Y or “None”)
Cancels Page Dated ___________________
Approved By _________________________
(5) As an integral part of group development, all team members should
achieve awareness of the group process and experience their own
sense of responsibility for team progress. All team members are
accountable for teamwork and for contributing to the achievement of
group goals. Any member can intervene to correct a problem in how the
team is functioning. The team’s process and outcomes are the responsibilities of each individual member (adapted from Scholtes, 1988).
8. Evaluating and rewarding teamwork.
A. The team’s performance must be based on the progress of the team
against agreed-on goals, not on the activity of individual members.
Evaluation of performance that is activity based gives a self-defeating
message: that the results of teamwork are not important Evaluation should
encourage collaboration and teamwork. Team performance can be
evaluated in several ways.
(1) The team as a whole should track their progress against the objectives
they have established. This occurs most effectively when progress
charts based on the initial objectives and timetable are regularly
assessed and updated by the team.
(2) The performance of individual team members can be evaluated by
peers. Peer evaluation is valuable because members are knowledgeable
about the impact of the behavior of others. Peer evaluation can be both
written and oral and can occur individually or through a group evaluation
session. The advantage of a group setting is that all team members are
present to hear feedback and are free to ask a member-evaluator why
they have been given a particular assessment of performance. Of
course, a disadvantage of evaluation in group settings is that a member
who receives several unfavorable performance assessments may feel
threatened and react negatively to an open evaluation.
(3) The most commonly used method is evaluation of the individual member
by the team leader. This is based on the traditional model of
performance appraisal where feedback on performance comes primarily
from a single evaluator. This method carries with it the biases of
evaluator perceptions (e.g., “halo effects”), low recognition of systems
effects on individual performance, and other methodological problems.
B. Rewarding successful team performance is a matter of the equitable
distribution of rewards to the team as a whole. Again, the rewards and
reinforcement of performance are based on team output, not individual
input. There are many possible ways of rewarding a team for its efforts:
(1) Meaningful praise and recognition of the team from top management.
(2) Monetary and salary rewards; time off from work; new and better
furnishings and equipment.
(3) More responsibility and control over the scheduling and performance of
(4) Training and development for new or advanced work responsibilities;
career opportunities for team members.
(5) Further opportunities for the team to address meaningful work problems.
Figure 15.9 Example of shipper’s knowledge task (continued)
252 Documenting Workplace Expertise
Knowledge Task Description
Job or Program _________________________
7 of ______
St. Paul, Minn.
Effective Date ________________________
(M/D/Y or “None”)
Cancels Page Dated ___________________
Approved By _________________________
Baker, H. K. (1979). The hows and whys of team building. Personnel Journal,
Burke, W. W. (1982). Organization development: Principles and practices.
Boston: Little, Brown.
Dyer, W. C. (1987). Team building: Issues and alternatives. Reading, MA: AddisonWesley.
Quick, T. L. (1992). Successful team building. New York: AMACOM.
Scholtes, P. R. (1988). The TEAM Handbook: How to use teams to improve
quality. Madison, WI: Joiner Associates.
Larry Blomberg, Shipper, Acme, Inc., St. Paul, MN 55101
Ken Kirschner, Shipper, Acme, Inc., St. Paul, MN 55101
Eric Lauderdale, Shipping Supervisor, Acme, Inc., St. Paul, MN 55101
Susan Mancusi, Shipper, Acme, Inc., St. Paul, MN 55101
Ronald Reed, Shipping Supervisor, Acme, Inc., St. Paul, MN 55101
Barbara Jensen, Johnson & Associates, 168 Fifth St., S.E., Minneapolis, MN
Frederick Tracey, Action Consulting Group, 1211 Franklin Blvd., Chicago, IL
Christopher Voeltz, Distribution Manager, ACME Seat Cover Co., St. Paul, MN
Figure 15.9 Example of shipper’s knowledge task (continued)
Detailing Knowledge Tasks 253
The following exercise is included so that you can check your understanding of the procedure used in completing a knowledge task analysis. In the spaces provided, write the letter of the knowledge task
analysis step (a–g) that captures the analysis activity (1–15). Compare your responses with those at the end of the list.
Task or subject matter
Expertise search (methods and sources)
Expertise analysis methods
Literature search (methods and sources)
Literature analysis methods
Knowledge task description (format and features)
___ 1. Decided that some important features of organization could be
shown by a diagram of the numbers and types of communications between departments
___ 2. Discarded two articles from among twenty on the topic of job
design because they were written by authors who did no research
___ 3. Listed in a well-organized format all that is known about the
potential for job redesign in this organization so that a coherent report to the vice president could be written
___ 4. Listed the sources of information so that others could verify or
duplicate the same search and analysis steps
___ 5. Wrote a complete outline of the information gathered and organized
___ 6. Compared the results of twenty interviews
___ 7. Realized that she had defined eight factors that showed the
vice president was on the right track in challenging the current
organizational design and eight factors that showed he should
take another look before making changes
___ 8. The company vice president reported from his performance improvement proposal that “this organization needs some organizing.”
___ 9. Interviewed many people to ﬁnd out where in this organization
certain policies are developed
___10. Made a two-axis matrix showing the relationships among several
dimensions in common among various organizational theories,
and the reality of those same dimensions in this organization
254 Documenting Workplace Expertise
___11. Found two books and ﬁve articles on organizational theory
___12. Watched an organizational development training ﬁlm
___13. Examined the differences between the organizational theories
of two well-known experts
___14. Sent a questionnaire to one hundred employees asking them to
identify who makes certain policies in this organization
___15. Checked the results of the employee questionnaire against the
results of the interviews
Answers: 1. f 2. e 3. g 4. g 5. g
11. d 12. d 13. e 14. b 15. c
TIPS FOR THE ANALYST
I did not say that analyzing knowledge work tasks would be easy. Neither do I want to leave you with the impression that the process is too
difﬁcult. To succeed as a performance analyst, you will need
perseverance and curiosity to explore many aspects of a subject
and performance at work as it relates to that task;
research skills for locating information in the literature and in
an analytical bent for taking information apart and discovering
the relationships of the pieces to one another;
the courage to live with ambiguity—you must not feel the need
to oversimplify or to pull the data together too soon;
the capacity to tolerate disorder while finding meaning and organization in the data;
the power to organize, combine, limit, and see new arrangements, frames, or ideas in the data; and
the ability to synthesize.
Detailing Knowledge Tasks 255
Knowledge work has become the most critical work in today’s economy. Knowledge work requires expertise—the capacity to do things
with knowledge, not just to have information. The most important
feature of the knowledge task analysis method is the connection of information to expertise and of both to performance.
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PART FOUR Managing Analysis Work to Improve Performance Chapter 16 Organizing and Prioritizing Analysis Work for Maximum Performance Impact Chapter 17 From Analysis to Performance Improvement 257 .
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System Principle 4: Choose the Right Tools Principle 5: If It’s Worth Doing. it offers a five-phase process highlighted by (1) the organizational. and three 259 . task inventory. capacity. Related to the analysis of expertise. In terms of the analysis of organizational performance. Do It! Principle 6: Good Solutions Make Heroes (and Good Analyses Make Good Solutions) Principle 7: Beneﬁts Should Exceed Costs Conclusion A nalysis for improving performance is a systematic process of diagnosing organizational performance and for documenting workplace expertise. motivation. team and individual levels of performance and (2) the performance variables of mission/goal. System. process.16 Organizing and Prioritizing Analysis Work for Maximum Performance Impact Principle 1: Engage Partners Principle 2: Deﬁning the Performance Requirements Is Half the Battle Principle 3: Mission and System. systems design. a ﬁve-phase process is used that includes the job description. and expertise.
If there is no documentation surrounding the task. just because you have them in your toolbox does not mean you should use them for every situation. This chapter provides more insight into how to do this by discussing seven principles for managing the analysis: . The methods presented in this book have been used successfully in many organizations for diverse purposes. I contend that much of the work that is labeled changing and ﬂuid is simply the result of poorly defined work systems and less-thanexpert workers. not just procedural work.260 Managing Analysis Work to Improve Performance unique task analysis tools. like any other human activity. Systematic analysis of workplace expertise would then be focused on the task and task modules that could quickly be configured into job assignments and training programs. and individual jobs are less stable than workplace tasks. As mentioned earlier. to determining performance requirements. They might suggest jumping from organizational diagnosis. This is often an option. Organizations. All the tools presented in this book should now be warmed up and ready to go. The application of performance diagnosis along with work process and workplace expertise documentation should put an organization on the path to improving its situation. you should use your judgment about how to handle individual situations. processes. teams. jobs and the inventory of job tasks typically get shufﬂed at a rate that exceeds the change in requirements within the tasks that are being reassigned. Flexible management and human resource systems would facilitate having the right people working on the right projects and enrolling the right people in the right development activities. and it is reassigned to another worker. To religiously use all these tools for every performance issue is not recommended. However. I also contend that changing requirements should not force an organization into hiring and ﬁring as the only means of staying ahead of the competition. that expertise is in danger of being lost to the organization. Dynamic organizations may need to create management and human resource systems analogous to ﬂexible manufacturing systems. The critics of analysis would argue that the contemporary workplace is so dynamic that investing too much in analysis is foolish. The task analysis tools have the capability of analyzing the full range of contemporary workplace expertise including knowledge and systems work. and to hiring workers who have expertise and ﬁring those who are not able to perform at work. In managing the work of analysis for improving performance. The accumulated performance losses are enormous. These losses are being experienced day in and day out by large and small organizations.
Mission and system. The person in charge of the organization you are diagnosing should be your partner in managing the diagnosis. Deﬁning the performance requirements is half the battle. You and the person you are working for in the organization need to become a team working together for the organization. organizational decisions to implement new processes or work systems can often leave the analyst without a ready expert. the analysis tools in this book are used in conjunction with experts. system. Beneﬁts should exceed costs. Choose the right tools. Never conduct a performance diagnosis by yourself. It is conceivable that the project can speed up and the costs go down as a result. The logic of the three task analysis methods helps substitute for the missing expert. 2. which methods and personnel are best for particular situations. 4. In the best of conditions. consider using unbiased third-party professionals for interviews and surveys.Prioritizing Analysis Work for Maximum Performance Impact 261 1. They often enjoy the power that comes with having and dispensing information. Also. PRINCIPLE 1: ENGAGE PARTNERS Too many people in the consulting and performance improvement business want to hold on to their secrets of success and therefore restrict participation in their realm of activity. 3. system. the analyst pieces together a variety of “partial experts” in the organization to . 5. As much as possible. he or she should be active in accessing and interpreting analysis information. Under these conditions. 7. do it! 6. However. A local consultant or performance improvement graduate student intern could be just the right person for some of this labor-intensive work. These principles highlight why analysis for improving performance is important. If it’s worth doing. Engage partners. and when a rigorous analysis isn’t worth the effort. Good solutions make heroes (and good analyses make good solutions). It is critical that the performance improvement proposal come from that person and you (with both names on the proposal) as it is presented to the host organization for approval.
It worked. and commitment to. the consultant withdrew and just stayed in touch via fax and e-mail. doing the kind of analysis work described in this book requires an understanding of. They did the analysis. All fifteen of the critical jobs were documented to a high standard in record time. The reality is that most of the tools described in this book can be learned by average people. There have been extraordinary successes in teaching the use of these tools to workers (blue-collar and white-collar) as well as to professional analysts. Their production waste went to almost zero. Together they flowcharted a core process of a company and identified the fifteen critical jobs within the process. and they ended up not needing training for themselves. after teaching them the tools. That would have put them in a team mode. Out of fear of failure. they tried to drag the consultant into their workplace. with the consultant as analyst and the workers as subject experts. where production waste was sky-high. and documentation to produce training for others. performance.” Avoid these options. PRINCIPLE 2: DEFINING THE PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS IS HALF THE BATTLE For most of us. a consultant was working with a top management team as partners in diagnosing the organizational performance. Many of the horror stories about choosing the wrong people revolve around the overutilization of committees and the use of “political appointees. he commented on it and sent it back. They didn’t think they could do it. Then the analyst weaves together the components into the complete documentation of expertise required to perform the job and its tasks.262 Managing Analysis Work to Improve Performance capture the components of expertise. If you . and as they did it. Their analysis did serve to train others. the substandard-performing workers themselves used the task analysis tools to document the expertise required to do their work. They transmitted their work to him. Instead. Doing the analysis produced learning analysts. and they themselves analyzed the expertise required of each of their own jobs. they learned their jobs in the process. an effective job aid. In one case. They were going to produce a training program based on the analysis. In another situation. Then expert job incumbents (mostly high school and technical school graduates) in each job were taught the analysis of expertise tools.
A clearly conﬁrmed performance requirement establishes the general need for analyzing and documenting workplace expertise. development and delivery of interventions should be clearly linked to performance requirements. new employees ■ The desire to bring the performance level of all workers up to that of an exemplary performer ■ A search for less costly methods of performance being forced by competition . or what level in the organization he was referring to. Thus. The following true incident illustrates the necessity for a clearly defined performance requirement: The president of XYZ Corporation tells his vice president of operations that he emphatically wants to see a reduction of emails and paper ﬂow in the ﬁrm. the vice president assembles a task force to reduce the ﬂow of communication. The response was nonexistent. Whether or not there were important work behaviors that needed to be understood and improved was never resolved. With a click of his heels. causing critical difﬁculties in the organization or marketplace ■ New equipment. or what types of documents/e-mails. Not once did these highly paid corporate sharpshooters ever pin down the president to ﬁnd out what he meant by “excess” communication. So producing an analysis that will not be used is a wasteful way to spend your time. It also offers direction in choosing the appropriate task analysis tools. the activity that followed was doomed to failure.Prioritizing Analysis Work for Maximum Performance Impact 263 were not engaged in analysis work. produced. and displayed around the facility. Many four-color posters were designed. Their tentative solutions include the following: ■ A poster campaign ■ Employee newsletter articles ■ A work-group discussion program The president chose the poster campaign. Some situations that would push you toward a clear deﬁnition of a performance requirement include these: ■ Lack of clarity regarding exactly what is involved in a work performance situation ■ Nonperformance or substandard performance. you could easily ﬁnd other ways to spend your time. Because the performance issue was never clearly deﬁned. new work systems.
SYSTEM The perceived performance requirement will start you thinking about what to analyze. as defined by the careful diagnosis. maintenance. PRINCIPLE 3: MISSION AND SYSTEM. The actual performance requirements. The principle “Mission and system. or people’s attitudes and habits at work ■ Equipment use. The following items are inherent in all organizations and may yield opportunities to gain surprisingly large benefits from a competent and thorough analysis: ■ Corporate culture. Time is the demon in the corporate picture. using the analysis tools in this book. “Have it done yesterday!” is the battle cry. it was quickly discovered that the real reason for the excess communication was the fear and paranoia caused by the president himself. system. His judgemental management style caused everyone to want to cover their bases when it came to addressing his wrath. Thus. will frame the plan for performance improvement and the possible need to analyze specific workplace expertise. analysts who fail to link their analysis work to important performance requirements and performance results will never make much of a difference to their organizations. The proof is ultimately in the new understanding of performance at work and any resulting solutions that maintain or improve that performance. Insufﬁcient time is the most common objection to analysis work—the very analysis work that has the potential to define the specific requirements and work behaviors for significant gains. You must come to grips with (1) the connection of your role in the organization and (2) the connec- . and their effects on performance ■ Work system analysis and performance improvement ■ Personnel policies and practices and their effects on performance ■ New technology planning ■ Safety issues ■ Use of time at work Quality analysis for improving performance has its results. SYSTEM. misuse. system” highlights the importance of looking at the big picture. It seems that the only constant in industry and business is the pressure of time.264 Managing Analysis Work to Improve Performance It is interesting to note that some time later.
The old saying “Pay now or pay later” could have been written for the analyst. Decide to do your best in the time allotted. You are the one who will live with the results. But excellence is within your reach. Creating a simple selection of the right tools for each performance improvement project will outline the initial planning. master it. They should expect no less of themselves. buy into a best system. DO IT! Wanting others to do things the right way and wanting them to get it right the first time is a perspective on work held by most work performance analysts. An old craftsperson once told me that the newest and best tools are needed by beginners. Better yet. but let reason prevail. If you are new to analysis. Do it! . Early and conscious estimates as to what analysis tools will be required will help you define and control the work. It takes time to do quality analysis. The specific tools come from the following dimensions: ■ Diagnosing organizational performance ■ Documenting and improving work process(es) ■ Documenting workplace expertise The injunction to “Choose the right tool” holds true for all forms of work. I hope you are willing to pay the price for good analysis work and then reap the beneﬁts. honor it. It is doubly important for the neophyte. I am not talking about perfection—perfection is an elusive goal. only skilled old-timers can use less precise or worn tools and still produce good results. carefully choose the best and most appropriate analysis tools. and work it. A sound mission carried out by a fully implemented mediocre system will outstrip a brilliant system that is not honored and worked on a day-to-day basis.Prioritizing Analysis Work for Maximum Performance Impact 265 tion of your tools to that role. so pay now or pay later. and your boss may not understand why you need to do all that. PRINCIPLE 4: CHOOSE THE RIGHT TOOLS You have learned how to conduct analysis for diagnosing organizations and documenting workplace expertise. PRINCIPLE 5: IF IT’S WORTH DOING. Hopefully you have also learned where each tool can most usefully be applied.
not analysis. desired state. For example.1 provides an example of a cost–beneﬁt chart. troubleshoot. Good solutions are grounded in good analysis. By itself. The taxonomy can be used to talk about the present state. you will need to hold your ground in the analysis phase so you can obtain hero status at the solution phase. As a neophyte. the time for thorough analysis must be snatched from the organization. and (3) wisely use available internal and external resources for both the performance diagnosis and the expertise documentation phases. Do not expect management to support your requests for resources without a proven record of delivering on promises of performance improvement. Unfortunately. you understand what it takes to conduct good analyses. improve. PRINCIPLE 7: BENEFITS SHOULD EXCEED COSTS Cost analysis by itself is just plain useless. an intervention aimed at understanding the system will not be enough to get to the troubleshooting level. Figure 16. The major strategies are to (1) focus on present performance problems. and the appropriateness of various interventions. The name of the game in industry and business is cost–beneﬁt analysis—getting a good return on your investment. (2) have an internal partner that “owns” the performance problem in the diagnosis phase. analysis is rarely rewarded. operate. More than anyone else in your organization. Which option would you choose when investing your own money? . PRINCIPLE 6: GOOD SOLUTIONS MAKE HEROES (AND GOOD ANALYSES MAKE GOOD SOLUTIONS) Analysis for improving performance requires understanding and commitment. therefore. Others will neither know nor appreciate the demands of good analysis work. and invent) to gain personal clarity as well as to help decision makers think about their situation. Management sees the costs of analysis in time and dollars and a pressing need for solutions. Taking the time to analyze will ensure good solutions. Management rewards solutions. for people who cannot but need to be able to troubleshoot the system. time is the nemesis of business and industry.266 Managing Analysis Work to Improve Performance I often use the Taxonomy of Performance (understand.
The performance analyst in industry and business is a businessperson first and should think as one.Prioritizing Analysis Work for Maximum Performance Impact 267 Option Cost $ (Investment) Return $ (15 days later) A B C D 1. This is not so. Option Cost $ Return $ Return % Beneﬁt $ A B C D 60 120 300 1. See Figure 16. Excessive or inappropriate analysis can result in paralysis through analysis. 2001).2 Financial comparison of performance improvement options . what truly constitutes good work performance.1 Financial analysis of investment alternatives Quite frankly. If you want to succeed in your organization. not because it was inexpensive but because of the cost–beneﬁt ratio (Swanson. and how to link solutions to performance requirements through analysis will be of tremendous value to both you and your organization. I’d find it quickly so that I could take advantage of high-cost option D.50 0 +100 +1. Options A and B are bad investments. Just because an option is expensive.000 Figure 16.000 180 180 180 180 300 150 60 18 +120 +60 –120 –820 Figure 16. The shrewd performance improvement manager went with the low-cost model.000 readily available. don’t think that it’s the best. One more bit of advice about the reality of costs and benefits: From this book. however. you may get the impression that I would like you to analyze all work performance from every angle.50 10 500 1. Decide when or at what point analysis is not worth the effort.3).000 Return % –50 0 +20 ≠100 Beneﬁt $ –0. if I didn’t have $1. you will need to play by the rules of the organization. A decision matrix can be useful (see Figure 16. These are real figures from the forecasted costs and benefits of a small performance improvement intervention.000 1 10 600 2.2 for a comparison. Knowing what the problems are.
I recommend that you plot all of them on a two-axis. cost–benefit matrix. Enjoy your analysis expertise and its ability to make a difference in your organization. high-beneﬁt quadrant. My goal has been to provide you with all the tools you need to complete it successfully. You approach the situation through a quick performance diagnosis and the careful analysis of the critical work task. The potential for return on your investment of time and talent is enormous.268 Managing Analysis Work to Improve Performance High Benefit Low Low #1 Best OK High OK #4 Worst Cost Figure 16. one that results in high waste of an expensive product that is almost totally linked to the lack of worker expertise. Wisdom dictates that you choose for your first performance improvement effort one that falls within the low-cost. so much the better.3 Decision matrix Wouldn’t it be great to be able to earn a high return on a low investment? Imagine a tough performance problem in a manufacturing plant. Hero status for you! If you are new in the organization and must “hit the ground running. CONCLUSION It is important to look before you leap into the work of analysis for improving performance.” a few discrete inquiries will net many identiﬁable work performance problems. . If the problem is urgent. This is then used to efﬁciently correct the problem.
Serious scholars in the area of problem solving tell you that the odds of success are increased when you use powerful analysis methods for deﬁning problems/opportunities. interesting. and fun. The in-process activity is almost as rewarding as the final accomplishment.17 From Analysis to Performance Improvement Phases of Performance Improvement in Review Performance Variables in Review Performance Improvement in Practice Conclusion T he journey from analysis to improved performance can be challenging. Simply stated. But not everyone feels that way. especially those without a well-equipped. up-front analysis toolbox for performance improvement. 269 . They also tell you that your mental health is enhanced when you are in control of the front-end deﬁnition and framing of the problem/opportunity. good up-front analysis leads you to success and also helps you feel more confident along the way.
. and delivery phases (apart from analysis) are almost always deﬁcient.270 Managing Analysis Work to Improve Performance PHASES OF PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT IN REVIEW The five phases of improving performance. They are generally sophisticated and costly interventions in search of an ill-deﬁned Environment • Economic Forces • Political Forces • Cultural Forces Organization • Mission & Strategy • Organization Structure • Technology • Human Resources Inputs Organization Processes 1 Analyze 2 Design 3 Develop 4 Implement Outputs 5 Evaluate Performance Improvement Figure 17. knowledge management. (2) design. are to (1) analyze. (3) develop. let alone winning the race. reengineering. Interventions such as human resource development. customer acquisition.1 Systems model of performance improvement: Interacting with organizational processes . many organizations learn the importance of analysis after spending large amounts of time and money in the design. product development. and order fulﬁllment) for the purpose of improving performance. first presented in Chapter 2. and delivery phases—only to ﬁnd that their crowd-pleasing.g. analysis-less interventions had little or no positive impact on performance. Unfortunately.1 once again illustrates performance improvement as a process that parallels and enhances core organizational processes (e. Performance improvement interventions that are not accurately connected to organizational goals at the analysis (input) phase have no chance of ﬁnishing the race. The bookend phases of performance improvement—analysis and evaluation—connect to the basic organizational inputs and outputs. Figure 17. and (5) evaluate. quality improvement. production. (4) implement. development. and performance technology that are fixated on the design. development.
capacity. and expertise help guide the performance diagnosis. 1997). and help ensure the inclusion of the critical dimensions required of an effective intervention. physical. political. Being able to accurately respond to the questions under each variable enables the performance improvement professional to move closer to success: Mission/Goal ■ Does the organizational mission/goal fit the reality of the economic. systems design. or arm twisting from the top. The answer often is that there was an emotional decision. and cultural forces? ■ Do the process goals enable the organization to meet organizational and individual mission/goals? ■ Are the professional and personal mission/goals of individuals congruent with the organization’s? Systems Design ■ Does the organization system provide structure and policies supporting the desired performance? ■ Are processes designed in such a way as to work as a system? ■ Does the individual face obstacles that impede job performance? Capacity ■ Does the organization have the leadership. capital.From Analysis to Performance Improvement 271 performance/opportunity problem—a great solution perhaps to some other organization’s problem. motivation. and timeliness)? ■ Does the individual have the mental. a high-pressure sales pitch. “How did we ever get involved with this?” (Torraco & Swanson. Audits of such efforts invariably drive decision makers to ask. focus the documentation of expertise. a hasty decision. it is important to emphasize that inside each goal and intervention are multiple performance variables at work. and infrastructure to achieve its mission/goals? ■ Does the process have the capacity to perform (quantity. PERFORMANCE VARIABLES IN REVIEW To avoid such errors. and emotional capacity to perform? . Thus. the performance variables of mission/goals. quality.
with a mixed report card. the bad news is that the organizational leaders continually flirt with improving performance. The arguments for a performance improvement are loud and clear. and ample guidance is available for dramatically increasing these efforts’ success. The real challenge is integrating the message of need into a personal understanding of performance that is backed up by a professional performance improvement toolbox. The good news is that the know-how for systematically improving performance is available. . There are rival visions of performance improvement that run the continuum: ■ Performance improvement as a major organizational process— something an organization must do to succeed ■ Performance improvement as a value-added activity—something that is potentially worth doing ■ Performance improvement as an optional activity—something that is nice to do ■ Performance improvement as a waste of organizational resources—something that has costs exceeding the beneﬁts What follows are proﬁles of organizational case studies that illustrate overall performance improvement journeys (not just the analysis phase) that include starting and ending points as well as key steps. culture.272 Managing Analysis Work to Improve Performance Motivation ■ Do the policies. and reward systems support the desired performance? ■ Does the process provide the information and human factors required to maintain it? ■ Does the individual want to perform no matter what? Expertise ■ Does the organization establish and maintain selection and training policies and resources? ■ Does the process of developing expertise meet the changing demands of changing processes? ■ Does the individual have the knowledge and expertise to perform? PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT IN PRACTICE In thinking about strategy and performance.
and back on the job ■ Tracking actual sales attributable to the training ■ Having the CFO provide the net value of each sale ■ Providing a two-page executive summary evaluation report to all key personnel CASE 2: From Satisfaction to Performance Situation: This Fortune 50 corporation is seen as a leader on a number of fronts. Participant knowledge and expertise exceeded the goals. The results assessment system required that they specify the business outcome and think beyond training. They then conducted a performance analysis and completely revised the performance improvement intervention. Starting Point: Management was questioning the value of sales training. Once that decision was made. as did the organizational performance. Key Steps along the Way ■ Identifying the outcome variable of “sales” ■ Facing the lack of understanding of the communication breakdown in the sales process ■ Quickly studying the communication breakdown in the sales process ■ Altering the communication training to match the new understanding ■ Gaining management support to implementing the new sales communication techniques ■ Evaluating the communication expertise of participants before training. 1999). a number of important questions were asked and actions taken that resulted in improved performance. Ending Point: There was a 4:1 return on investment in less than a year. The training staff had attended a popular four-level evaluation workshop but could not get beyond the “level 1” happy sheets. including its enlightened view of investing in the development of its . They then turned to the results assessment system (Swanson & Holton. Upper management increased its investment in the program. A decision was made to evaluate the program’s effectiveness. at the end.From Analysis to Performance Improvement 273 CASE 1: From Evaluation to Performance Situation: A major insurance company had been spending significant resources on communication training for all sales personnel.
and it seemed as though only selected “superstar” sales personnel were able to regularly succeed. This was a very emotional truth-telling session. with management team defensiveness and admissions of less-than-desirable conditions. information systems. Even so. The ﬁrst was the three-hour presentation of the audit results to the twelve-member top management team. The letter reported the fact that the audit report was still functioning as their benchmark and that major HRD staff development investments and major changes in the way HRD work was being done had taken place. They commissioned an audit by a team of researchers to evaluate their investment. The second ending point was captured in a letter from the top manager to the lead auditor three years after the audit. the top managers thought they should “check up” on their investment. with large amounts of money being spent on quality improvement. and market competition. Key Steps along the Way ■ Having an internal champion of the effort ■ Having a clear and straightforward auditing method ■ Having external auditors ■ Having auditors with HRD expertise ■ Having the company developers provide all documentation ■ Having all top managers in the room for the audit report ■ Having a company with a history of integrity ■ Having a continuing dialogue with the auditors after the audit CASE 3: From Analysis to Performance Situation: A large sales organization had been experiencing major changes in products. Starting Point: An auditing model designed to compare existing practices and ideal or “best practices” was selected. A team of two external auditors with expertise in performance improvement and auditing conducted the on-site audit. A decision was made to do a comprehensive up-front performance diagnosis. the work had changed. Clearly. Ending Point: There are two major ending points. organization development. and training efforts. . Participant satisfaction with development efforts has always been high.274 Managing Analysis Work to Improve Performance workforce. customer requirements.
The VP hired a consulting ﬁrm to work with him. and ■ the individual performs better. and nobody was willing to take on the challenge. ■ the team performs better. Key Steps along the Way ■ Having an internal champion who also brings the performance partners to the table ■ Underestimating the power of a “culture of relationships” relative to a “culture of analysis and improvement” ■ Using the power of process documentation to reveal leadership gaps ■ Using people who want to and have the capacity to be “students of the business” as part of the team ■ Managing the demand for quick action (with or without results) CONCLUSION Analysis is the sextant of performance improvement. with process activities clustered into assignable and trainable tasks. The roles of the people working in the process were clarified. Training and certification programs directly tied to the deﬁned and improved sales process are in place. . and it survived two leadership changes. The follow-up assessment and evaluation of results address the ultimate worth of a performance improvement investment. When all is said and done. Ending Point: The core sales process was documented and improved. ■ the process performs better. The new VP of Performance Consulting walked right into the middle of the situation without adequate staff competence to do a performance diagnosis of the major sales business process.From Analysis to Performance Improvement 275 Starting Point: Things were not going well. the conclusion drawn from evaluating a performance improvement intervention should be that ■ the organization performs better.
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APPENDIX: Master Copies of Diagnosis and Documentation Forms 277 .
1 Job Description Form .278 Appendix Job Description Job or Program _________________________ Approved By _________________________ Location _______________________________ Effective Date ________________________ Department ____________________________ Cancels Page Dated ___________________ Analyst ________________________________ Figure A.
___________________________________________________________________________ 8. ___________________________________________________________________________ 4. ___________________________________________________________________________ 3.Appendix 279 Task Inventory Job or Program _________________________ Page ____ of ______ Location _______________________________ Effective Date ________________________ Department ____________________________ Cancels Page Dated ___________________ Analyst ________________________________ Approved By _________________________ 1. ___________________________________________________________________________ 24. ___________________________________________________________________________ 9. ___________________________________________________________________________ 16. ___________________________________________________________________________ 12. ___________________________________________________________________________ 2. ___________________________________________________________________________ 19.2 Task Inventory Form . ___________________________________________________________________________ 7. ___________________________________________________________________________ 17. ___________________________________________________________________________ 23. ___________________________________________________________________________ 5. ___________________________________________________________________________ 22. ___________________________________________________________________________ 11. ___________________________________________________________________________ 6. ___________________________________________________________________________ 14. ___________________________________________________________________________ Figure A. ___________________________________________________________________________ 20. ___________________________________________________________________________ 15. ___________________________________________________________________________ 21. ___________________________________________________________________________ 10. ___________________________________________________________________________ 18. ___________________________________________________________________________ 13.
Learning difﬁculty: E = easy. Figure A. D = difﬁcult.280 Appendix Procedural Task Analysis Job or Program _________________________ Page ____ of ______ Location _______________________________ Effective Date ________________________ Department ____________________________ Cancels Page Dated ___________________ Analyst ________________________________ Approved By _________________________ Task Performance Standard Safety and Other Cautions Major Headings Subheadings Sequential Steps in Performing the Work *Learning domain: C = cognitive. M = moderate.3 Procedural Task Analysis Form Notes* . P = psychomotor. A = affective.
A = affective.Appendix 281 Procedural Task Analysis Task: Job or Program _________________________ Page ____ of ______ Location _______________________________ Effective Date ________________________ Department ____________________________ Cancels Page Dated ___________________ Analyst ________________________________ Approved By _________________________ Major Headings Subheadings Sequential Steps in Performing the Work *Learning domain: C = cognitive.3 Procedural Task Analysis Form (continued) Notes* . P = psychomotor. Figure A. D = difﬁcult. Learning difﬁculty: E = easy. M = moderate.
4 System Description and Flow Form .282 Appendix System Description and Flow Job or Program _________________________ Page ____ of ______ Location _______________________________ Effective Date ________________________ Department ____________________________ Cancels Page Dated ___________________ Analyst ________________________________ Approved By _________________________ Task/System Systems Purpose/Description: Performance Standard: Figure A.
5 System Parts and Purposes Form .Appendix 283 System Parts and Purposes Job or Program _________________________ Page ____ of ______ Location _______________________________ Effective Date ________________________ Department ____________________________ Cancels Page Dated ___________________ Analyst ________________________________ Approved By _________________________ Task/System Part Use Correct Name Purposes Explain what the part does. if not obvious. Figure A. Also explain how it works.
6 Process Analysis Form Indicator Control Plus Deviation Minus Deviation Other Information 284 Appendix Job or Program _________________________ .Process Analysis Page ____ of ____ Location _______________________________ Effective Date _______________________ Department ____________________________ Analyst ________________________________ Cancels Page Dated _________________ Task/System _______________________ Approved By ________________________ Effect of Variable Speciﬁcation Figure A.
Appendix 285 Troubleshooting Analysis Job or Program _________________________ Page ____ of ______ Location _______________________________ Effective Date ________________________ Department ____________________________ Cancels Page Dated ___________________ Analyst ________________________________ Approved By _________________________ Task/System Performance Standard: Problem Cause Figure A.7 Troubleshooting Analysis Form Corrective Action .
7 Troubleshooting Analysis Form (continued) Corrective Action .286 Appendix Troubleshooting Analysis Task/System: Job or Program _________________________ Page ____ of ______ Location _______________________________ Effective Date ________________________ Department ____________________________ Cancels Page Dated ___________________ Analyst ________________________________ Approved By _________________________ Problem Cause Figure A.
Appendix 287 Knowledge Task Description Job or Program _________________________ Page ____ of ______ Location _______________________________ Effective Date ________________________ Department ____________________________ Cancels Page Dated ___________________ Analyst ________________________________ Approved By _________________________ Task Performance Standard Figure A.8 Knowledge Task Description Form .
Subject: ___________________ Analyst: ____________________ Date: ______________________ Figure A.9 Two-Axis Matrix Worksheet Form 288 Appendix 2-Axis Matrix Worksheet .
Appendix 289 Subject: ____________________ Analyst: _____________________ Date: _______________________ A ____________ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 B ____________ Figure A.10 Three-Axis Matrix Worksheet Form C ____________ .
11 Flowchart Worksheet Form extract decision arrowheads .290 Appendix Subject: ____________________ Analyst: _____________________ Date: _______________________ SYMBOLS input/output process preparation merge Figure A.
12 Events Network Worksheet Form . ______________________ 3. ______________________ = EVENT = ACTIVITY S = START S E 1 4 E 4. ________________________ = END 3 Appendix 291 Figure A.Subject: ___________________ Analyst: ____________________ Date: ______________________ Program Evaluation Review Technique FLOWCHART LIST OF EVENTS 1. ________________________ 2 2.
13 Dichotomy Worksheet Form Part II: Deﬁnition and/or characteristics .292 Appendix Sample Dichotomous Terms good ្——៑ bad high ្——៑ low strong ្——៑ weak structured ្——៑ unstructured complete ្——៑ incomplete excellent ្——៑ poor well ្——៑ ill (dichotomous term/subject) Part I Subject: ____________________ Analyst: _____________________ Date: _______________________ Part II (dichotomous term/subject) ——៑ ្ Part I: Deﬁnition and/or characteristics Figure A.
Appendix 293 Subject: ____________________ Analyst: _____________________ Date: _______________________ 1. COUNTERHYPOTHESIS Supporting facts and assumptions 3. RESOLUTION OF OPPOSING HYPOTHESES Figure A. MAJOR HYPOTHESIS Supporting facts and assumptions 2.14 Argumentation Worksheet Form .
294 Appendix Subject: ____________________ Analyst: _____________________ Date: _______________________ Figure A.15 Graphic Modeling Worksheet Form .
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von. L. 5 Bandler. 17 Behavioral psychology. 126. 265 of expertise. 120 Bereiter. 47–122 excellence in.Index Academy of Human Resource Development Standards on Ethics and Integrity. 264–265 of tasks. 270 principles of. 89. 37–45 interviews in. L. 118. 192–193. 34. 140 knowledge task analysis in. 107–122 diagnosis of performance in. J. L. 211–214 task inventory in. 7–8 of job. 39 performance improvement proposal in. J. 20 Benchmarking. 5 importance of. C. 156 mission in. 83–84. 96 Bassi. 21 Berkley. 93–105 Argumentation method in synthesis of information. 239. 53 costs of. 148–150 work process in. 149. See Task analysis of work process. C. 1–45 characteristics of analysts in. T. 264–265 organization for maximum performance impact. 259–268 of organizational performance. 33–34. 261–268 selection of tools for. 63 system tasks analysis in.. 259 overview of. 149. 175. 68–69 performance needs in. 9 participants and partners in. 259–260 in follow up on performance improvement programs. 123–255. 41–45 job descriptions in. 293 Argyris. 182–184 purpose of performance diagnosis in. 23 Acme International case study.. 29.. 220. 261–262 and performance requirements. 266 data collection methods for. 70 performance variables in. 83–84. 21. 236. 234 ATM system of Chase. 262–264 as phase in performance improvement model. 19. 54 Banking and ATM system of Chase. 245–252 organizational performance in. 4 Bertalanffy.. 96 Automobile example of systems ﬂow. 66. 149.. 21. 95 Analysis. 90–91 performance measures in. 210. 195–196 Baldwin. 266 of systems. J.. 265 solutions resulting from. 33–34. 29 305 . 33. 23 The Academy of Management Code of Ethical Conduct. 90 procedural task analysis in.
222–224. 65. 76 on procedural task analysis... 37–45. W.. procedural analysis of. See also Acme International case study on Chase Bank and ATM system. 156 Buckley. 108. 60 Blow molder operator tasks. 170.. 108. 22 Brache. K. 157–161 on purchase order system. 84.. 64. 202–214 Champy. 221. 69–70 Chaos theory. 22 Camp. 129 as performance variable. 54 Competency deﬁnition of. Inc.. 15. H. 224. 270 . 115 Data collection. G. P. C. T. 17 Customer satisfaction. P.. 195–196.. 118–120 questionnaires in... 66. 23–25. R. 201 Critical incidents. J. questionnaires on. 33. 82 Campbell. 22. 108–109 in task inventory process. 143. 82 Brannick.. 115 Cronshaw. F. W. J. 31 ﬂowcharts on.. 62. organizational. 29 Culture. 30. 225–226 on performance improvement.. R. 20 Coleman. 107–122 checkpoint on. N. 266–268. 96 Checkpoints on data collection. 96–97. E. J. L. 201. 100–104 on Health Management. 120–121 interviews in. 98.. 15 Decision-maker characteristics affecting performance diagnosis. 54. 114 Cummings. 21. 120–121 on job description. 115–118 organizational records in. 22 Chase Bank and ATM system. 118 Campbell. T. 203–204 on task inventory. 272 as performance measure. 156–157 Costs of analysis. 34. 169 Cognitive psychology. 170–174. 82 Dean.. E. 127 and expertise. 224–225 observations in. 85. 156 Crossland. 28. 150–151 Clarke. 174–175 on system task analysis.. 112–115 selection of methods in. 71–76 on knowledge task analysis. 146–147. 82 Change in Taxonomy of Performance. 98. T. 141 on knowledge task analysis. 83. 271 Case studies on Acme International.. 68 in troubleshooting actions. A. P. 21. 6. 202–209 on system task analysis. 19. 176–181 Boulding. 50. 88. L. 53 Deming. 266 of performance improvement interventions. 50 Capacity.306 Index Bierema.. M. D. 144 Davenport. D. C.. 126. S. 234 questionnaires on. 253–254 on performance diagnosis process. 15 Bjorkquist. 29 Cognitive activities in procedure. 26 Design phase of performance improvement. 273–275 on process-referenced tasks. 109–112 in knowledge task analysis. 96 on health care insurance company.
57–77 and proposal on performance improvement. 163–185. 16. 135–141 . 68–69. 67–69. 71. 17–18 in single-dimension view of organization.. 59–60 initial purpose of. K. 259–260 compared to job performance. 135–141. 108. 126 Espoused theory compared to theory in use. 237. I. 49–56 ethical issues in. 11 and system knowledge. 34. 33. 278–294 selection of tools for. 63. 74–75 Dichotomy approach to synthesis of information. 156 DuPont Corporation. 34. 74 measures in. 12. 123–255. 58. 235. 234. 234–236. 33. R.. 129–130. 74 participants and partners in. T. 280–281 of process-referenced tasks. 75. 234–236 Ethical issues.. D. 27 Erickson. 73–74 types of performance in. 18 in systems approach. 13. 63. 261–262 phases in model of. 34. 66. 82 Development phase of performance improvement. P. 53 Erricsson. 54–55 frame of analysis in. 134.. 79–91 sample documentation forms in.. 126 competency-based approach to. 29 Employee satisfaction and productivity. 291 Experience and expertise. 270 Events networks. 63. 58–63. 38–45 Documentation of expertise. 55–56. 58. 31 sustainable resource theory of. R. 72 politics of. 26 Drazin. 155–161 sample forms used in. 278 of knowledge tasks. 224 of procedural tasks. 51–52 in health care insurance company. 34. 70–71. 33. 54–55 Evaluation phase of performance improvement. A. 33. 96 checkpoint on. 17–18 in ﬁnancial beneﬁts of performance improvement. J. 60–62 variables in. 118–120. 155–156 documentation of.. 63–67. 18 Dubois. 17. 127–128 hired or developed in organization. 292 Dirkx. 75 needs in. 127 and performance improvement. F..Index 307 DeToro. 47–122 in Acme International case study. 287 organizational records in. 70 in Chase Bank and ATM system. 265 starting points in. 76 concepts in. 270 Diagnosis of performance. J. C. 123–255 of job description. 71–76 indicators of performance in. 58. 93–105 Dooley. 22–23 in performance diagnosis. 33–34. 128 and job description. 6 Drucker. 279 of work process. 18 scare resource theory of. 156–157 deﬁnitions of. 53 Economics. 127. 123–255 general and speciﬁc levels in. 69–70. 132. 278–294 of system tasks. 58. 282–286 task inventory in. 221. 84–89 human capital theory of. 189 Expertise. 98 in Health Management case study. 23 Distribution Division in Acme International case study. 96–97. 143–154. 54–55 process in..
128–129 outsourcing of. 61 proposal on improvement in. 29 Implementation phase of performance improvement. 290 on work process. M... 69. 83. F. 82 Future performance diagnosis of. 99. 18 Humanistic view of organizations. 130. 18 Human capital theory. M. H. 83. 266–268 costs in. 5. 66. 82 Gilley. S. C.. 22 FitzGerald. 115 Health care insurance company work process. A. 6 Goals. 272 in procedural tasks. J.. 54 Form samples.. 100–104 Health Management Inc. R. 128 as performance variable. 232–234. 19. 199 Forecasts on ﬁnancial beneﬁts. 155 Hiring of expertise. 21. 98. 60. 278–294 Frame of analysis in performance diagnosis. 64. 98 as performance variable. 270 Improve tier in Taxonomy of Performance. 133. 15 Gleick. case study on performance diagnosis. organizational. 32 in systems approach. 86–88 Fine. T. 84. continued job/task approach to. 143–154 Exploitation. 65. 133. 163–185 in process-referenced tasks. 71–76 Hergenhahn. 143.. 15. M. 133. 134. 14. 84–89. 3–10. 236–239. B.. R. A. 187–215 and task inventory. F. 20 Gilbert.. 91. 85. J.. 290 as synthesis method. 88. 84–89 Forelle. 66. 82 Futures theory. 156 FitzGerald. 64. 135–136 Holton. M. C. 23 Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (Becker).. 115 Flowcharts symbols used in.. 96–97. H.. 155–161 in system tasks. B. 134. D.. 82 Harrington. F. R.. 132. J. 20 Herling.. R. 294 Group interviews. 156. E. 130. 15 Gestalt psychology. compared to developing expertise. 54 Forester. 84. 22 Graphic models for synthesis of information. 271 Gradous. J. 51–52 and performance improvement proposal.. 30 as basis of performance improvement efforts. 266 . M. 128 job description written for. 34. 60. J. 98. 129–130. E. S. 130. 23 Financial beneﬁts of performance improvement. 23. 22 Glynn.308 Index Expertise. 273 Horton.. 99–105. 134.. 127. 112 Hammer.. E. J. 27. 24. 31. 156 in knowledge tasks. 18. 266–268 value in. 217–255 nature and nurture paths to. G. 22 Gagne. 33. B. 134. 54. 11 Gerstein. 22 Flanagan. A.. 85.. 19. 65. 13. J. 82 Hayes. 234. 82 Harless.
See also Task inventory ISO 9000. 220. 138 of volatile jobs. 287 . V. 135–141 in Acme International case study. 137 in task inventory process.. 109–112 in Acme International case study. 85. 239. 151–152 title of job in. 7 proposal on improvement in. 65 importance of analysis.. 272 ﬁnancial beneﬁts of. 40–41. 278 scope of. 226 Knowledge and expertise.. 222–224 process of. R. initial. 226–227 Indicators of performance. 138 sources of information for. 69. L. 85. 219–221 sample documentation form on. 266–268. 129–130. 127 Knowledge management. 223. J. 82 Kazanjian. 137–139 deﬁnition of. 222. 84. 23. 126 compared to expertise analysis. 225–228 planning for. 266–268 follow up on. 23 Keyword search in literature review. 8 observation of. 136–137 draft of. 112 in knowledge task analysis. 88. 141 criteria for. 156 inventory of tasks in. 270–271 analysis as basis of. 245–252 checkpoints on. 21. 15 Job analysis. 6 Kellogg. 26. 50. 143–154 Job descriptions. A. 138 sample documentation form for. 140–141 Job performance of individual. 224. 108.. 133. W. 224 on telephone. 91 Interviews. 62. 132. 5 performance requirements in. 24. 86–88 proposal on.Index 309 In Search of Excellence (Peters & Waterman). 42 Inventory of tasks. M. 221 expertise search and analysis in. 53 Jacobs. 64. C. 224–225 expertise description in. 266 Inventory control in Acme International case study. 253–254 data collection methods in. 132. 193–194. 221. 23 Juran. 221. 134. 130. 82 Input in system task. 144. 115–118 planning for improvement efforts in. 53 Knowledge task analysis. 53 Kelly. 262–264 performance value of. 129–130. 111 Invent tier in Taxonomy of Performance. 83–84. 143–154. 135 development of. 140 checkpoint on. 84 costs of. 84. 195 Interventions for performance improvement. See Individual performance Julliard. 223–224.. 217–255 in Acme International case study. 134. 137 length and form of. 84–89. 149. 126 expertise deﬁned in. 134. 6.. R. 224–225 literature review in. 41–45 with group. 266 appropriateness of. K. 59–60 Individual performance data collection on. 12 Indexes for literature search in knowledge task analysis. 108 diagnosis at level of.
20 Operate tier in Taxonomy of Performance.. 108. 221. M.. 115–118 in knowledge task analysis. 69–70. performance. 62. D. B. D. Z. 52. 144. M. 66.. F. 67–69. 58. 18 Maslow. 237 Olson. 17 Organizational Behavior: Foundations. 225–227 Lyau. 114 Organizational performance. M. G. 224 Organizations characteristics affecting performance diagnosis. 136. 13. 222. 15 Motivation as performance variable. 17 Mager.. 69–70 Marshall.. 112 Kusy. 27 Miner.. 221.. 53 . 66. A. 40. 74 in performance improvement proposal. 118–120 in knowledge task analysis. 83. 229 McGuire. P. continued synthesis of information in. 60 Nadler. 126 Organizational culture. 271 Models of performance. William. A. 12. J. M. 30 in analysis and performance improvement. 126. 53 Nadler. 81 Nohria.. 62. 82 Organizational records. 39 data collection on. 111 Learning in workplace. 8. 63. 29 Micklethwait. 64... 23. A. 259 in Acme International case study. 23 Kotter. 63. 126 Mission. Abraham. 16. 6. A.. N. 266 Order handling in Acme International case study. P. 264–265 as performance variable. R. 54 McLagan. data collection in. 7 proposal on improvement in. E. 53 in procedural task analysis. 64. 108 diagnosis at level of. 26 planning for improvement efforts in. 65 importance of analysis. H. C. 228–239 Korten. 169 Levine.. and Analyses (Miner). 225–228 search techniques in.. questionnaires on. 15 McLean. 82 Kouzes. 75 in performance improvement proposal.. 5. 224 Older workers. L.. L.310 Index Knowledge task analysis. Theories. 83. J. 4 Observations. 15 Nadler. 98. dichotomy example involving. C. 23–34 compared to theories. 223–224. 272 Murphy. 53 Needs. 156 Linear graphic models. 69. J. N. N. 65. 65. John. 98.. 24. P. 8 perceptions of. 82 Maintaining the system in Taxonomy of Performance. 64.. 5 Lavarakas. 58. 31 in systems approach.. 50.. J. 23–25. P.. 42 Organization Development and Change (Cummings & Worley). R.. P. 114 McMurrer. 17 Measures of performance. 4 Nutt. 81 Mechanistic aspects of organizations. D. 82 Krueger. P. 27. 238 Literature review in knowledge task analysis.
See also Proposal on performance improvement requirements for. 12. 21 Performance deﬁnition of. 270–271 planning for. 261–262 phases in. 8 interventions for. 193–194. 31–32 as system. 29. 86–88 Performance variables. 32 single-dimension views of. 75 in performance improvement proposal. 11–35 as value-added activity. T.. 5 Passmore. 58. 265 as systematic process. 93–105 Performance improvement proposal. 23–34 Outcome of performance improvement economic.. 15 as optional activity. 12 Pfeffer. P. 32 mechanistic view of. 6–7 proposal on. 27. 31. 17 follow-up on. 13. 33–34. 259–268 organizational goals as basis of. 12–14. 75. 64. 31 mission of. 3–10 participants and partners in. 29. 5. 74–75 in performance improvement proposal. 66. 31 goals of. 195 Parker. 266–268. 47–122. 27. 5 planning for. 220 in procedural tasks. 11 follow-up on.Index 311 economic view of. 25. 84. 63–67. 86 Performance improvement case studies on. See also Proposal on performance improvement Performance measures. 67–69. L. 90 diagnosis of. 262–264. 81 Performance needs. 66. 27–29 units of performance in. J. 271–272 in Acme International case study. 271 humanistic view of. 107–122 diagnosis in. 84. 264–265 models of. 26–27 diagnosis of. 272 organization of analysis work for maximum impact in. 3–10 as performance variable. 13. 63. 13. 27 Output in system task. 69–70. 85. 194–195 Performance value. 67–69. 83–84. 30 as basis of performance improvement efforts. D. 168 in system tasks. 273–275 cost of. See Diagnosis of performance units of. 31. 28. 272 selection of tools for. 83–84. J.. 30 power-oriented view of. 63. 33 systems model of. 272 in work processes. 74 in performance improvement proposal. 88. 19 systemic. 85. 83. 90 Peters. 79–91. 79–91. 222–224 of performance improvement efforts. 21. 12. 33 theoretical basis of. 19. 98 in Health Management Inc. 58. 14. 82 Planning of knowledge task analysis. 16.. 27. 13. 272 data collection methods in. 126 Pipe. See also Diagnosis of performance experience in. case study.. 65. 21. compared to theory. 58. 75. 81 Performance standards. 6–7 . 74–75. B. L. See Interventions for performance improvement mission and system in. 262–264 in knowledge tasks. 6 psychological.
195. 130. 225–226 Proposal on performance improvement. 153–154 . 152. 170–174. 75. 96–97. 93–105. 20 Quality as performance measure. 170. 163–185 in Acme International case study. 192 in system tasks. 62. 31. 166–168. 54–55 Reese Inc. 89. 193–194. 174–175 elements of. 13. 37–38 in expertise. 26 relationship to organizational goals. 114 Reengineering. 95–96 importance of analysis. 19. Z. 80 elements of. 115–118 planning for improvement efforts in. 280–281 in telephone call example. 63 proposal on improvement in.312 Index Political issues in performance diagnosis. 166–170 process of. 127 in troubleshooting tasks. 61. 202–209 Purposive behaviorism. 222–224 Reﬂection as synthesis method. 134. 171–172 Process compared to system. 50. 169 Pucel. 230 Research and development team leader. organizational. 90–91 construction of. 95 in Chase Bank and ATM system. 165–170 sample documentation forms on. 82 Problem solving. 60. 83–84. 24 Quantity as performance measure. 200. 79–91 drafting of. 80 Psychological theories.. 221. 155–161 case study on. 91 interventions recommended in. 80. 284 Process analysis. 133. 12. case study. knowledge task analysis in. 65 documentation of. 7 proposal on improvement in. 84–89. 64. 75. 149. 18–21 Psychomotor activities in procedure. 99–105 in health care insurance company. task inventory for. 12. 82 Power-oriented view of organizations. 170. 199. 98. B. 93–105 in Acme International case study. 17 Purchase order system case study. 83–84. 13. 16. D. 175. 96 diagnosis at level of. 5 taxonomy of performance in. 200.. 32 Posner. 54–55 in power-oriented view of organizations. 112–115 on customer satisfaction. 82 Process-referenced tasks. 182–184 in blow molder operator example. 27 knowledge task analysis on. 157–161 Productivity and employee satisfaction. 176–181 checkpoints on. J. 224 on organizational culture. 100–104 identiﬁcation of processes in. 284 ﬂowcharts on. 284 Process performance. 115 in knowledge task analysis. 6. 200–201 Procedural task analysis. 79–91 in Acme International case study. 199. 53 historical aspects of. 81–84 on ﬁnancial beneﬁts. 164–165 information included in. 68 Quality programs. 91 submitted for approval. 68 Questionnaires. 8 observation of. 32 Present performance diagnosis of issues in.
. 222–224. M. 195 Subsystems. 11. 30–31 levels of performance in. 282 on parts and purposes. 17–18 Scardamalia. 210. 284 process of. See also Acme International case study Sleezer. 230–231. 191 in purchase order system.. 21 Schwartz. 283 in performance improvement model. 27–34 analysis of. 226–227 Senge. 68... 157–161 Sanchez. 271 determining boundary of. 27. P. 51–52 futures theory of. 238 ﬂowchart in. 273 Synthesis of information in knowledge task analysis. 198 troubleshooting in. G. M. 60. 198. 234. 236–239. W.. P. 18... 83. 293 dichotomy approach in. 195–196. 282 design as performance variable.. B. 203–204 description of system in. J. 16. 126 Spine of system. R. 202–209 sample documentation forms in. 192 complex. 134. 21–22 interdependencies in. 149. 27. 228–239 argumentation method in. 136. 239 three-axis matrix in. 64. 62 Ruona. 225–227 keywords in. 200–201. 28. 23–24. 22 closed. A. 200. 195–196. 233 Shaw. 24 compared to process. 196–199. 236. 96–97. 16. 15 Shipping functions in Acme International. 84. 236. 69–70 naming of. 199. 156. 98. 133. 21. 23–25. 232–234. 65. 288 System task analysis. 22 general theory of. 41. 294 reﬂection in. 19. M. 194 checkpoints on. 194 ﬂow diagram on. 230 selection of model for. 23. 192 Sustainable resource theory. 30 description of. 226 print indexes in. 62 and limitations of single-dimension views. R. 187–215 in Acme International case study. 191–196. 285–286 Systems.Index 313 Rummler. 23–34. R. 271. 21. 211–214 boundaries of system in. 239. 69–70 chaos theory. 15. 30–31 tasks analysis in. 98. 130. I. 126 Swanson. 191–196. 114 Smith. 282–286 sources of information in. 23 Sexual harassment issues. 196–199. 6. 22 Search techniques in literature review. 18 Sutton. 240–244 argumentation synthesis method in. 283 process analysis in. 8. 12–14. in Taxonomy of Performance. 33 . 192–193. A. 26. knowledge task analysis on management of.. 54. 192 parts of. 64. J. 193–194. in Taxonomy of Performance. 282 frame of analysis in performance diagnosis. 144 Scarce resource theory. 25. 264–265 changing of. 289 two-axis matrix in. 290 graphic models in. 31–32 maintaining existing. 234–236. 201. 100–104 process-referenced tasks in.. 229. I. 42–45. 29. 53. 29. 114. 66.. 292 events network in. 26 Sales process in health care insurance company. 291 ﬂowcharts in. 231–232. C.
147–148 checkpoints on. 16. linear graphic models on... 129–130. 53 Three-axis matrix as synthesis method. M. See Performance variables Voilà Company purchase order system. 133. E. 69–70. 17. C. J. 153–154 sample documentation form on. 187–215 Task analysis. 217–255 on procedural tasks. 20 Torraco. performance.314 Index Systems. 152. 130. 69. 6. 170. 133. 22–23 psychological. 111 procedural analysis of. 69. 289 Thurow.. 84. continued purpose of. 15 economic. 144 Taxonomy of Performance. 260 . 26 Training within Industry project. 143–154 in Acme International case study. 17–18 ethics in. M. 237 in procedural task analysis. 85. 23–25. 200–201. 67–69. 21–22 Thomas.. 68 Troubleshooting in systems tasks. R. 82 Time as performance measure. 143–154 on knowledge tasks. 28. 7 proposal on improvement in. 279–287 on system tasks. 62. 266 UnitedHealth Group. J. 86–88 Variables in performance. 50. 23. 163–185 process-referenced. 134 expertise in. 134. 145–148 for research and development team leader. 27. 171–172 Tenner. 198. R. 129–130. N. 133. 195 subsystems in. 65 importance of analysis. 202–209 Volatile jobs. 8 planning for improvement efforts in. 283 spine of. 18 Tichy. 126. 86 Value. 133. 42 Theories on performance improvement. 26 Transactions. 85–89 and performance improvement. 134.. 150–151 criteria on. 23. 140–141. description of. 193–194. 166 Team performance diagnosis at level of. 82 Telephone use for interviews. 30–31 and tasks in work. 54 Units of performance. 24. 27.. 231–232. 132. 193–194.. 18–21 systems. 24. 26. 134. 266 as graphic model. 279 steps in creation of. 16. 285–286 as tier in Taxonomy of Performance. A. 156 inventory of tasks in. 187–215 Task inventory. 146–147. 82 Terminal operator in Acme International. 64. 134. 68 Tolman. 130. 33. 155–161 sample documentation forms on. 271 Training assessment of ﬁnancial beneﬁts in. 132. 230–231. C. 238 Tribus. 134. 11–35 compared to models. L. 16. 266 Two-axis matrix as synthesis method. 130. 129–130. 288 Understand tier in Taxonomy of Performance. 15. 148–150 bottom-up and top-down approaches to.
C. 12. 17 . 187–215 Work team performance. 53 in procedural task analysis.. See Expertise Workplace learning. 98. 155–161 ﬂowcharts on. 115–118 in system tasks. G. 99–105 in health care insurance company. 169 Worley. R. M. 16..Index 315 Waterman. 96–97. 27 Work process. 82 Wooldridge. A. 12 Wheatley.. 199 Work system. 93–105 documentation of tasks in. 100–104 observation of. See Team performance Workplace expertise.. J.
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Swanson’s most recent book is Research in Organizations (2005). Assessing the Financial Benefits of Human Resource Development (2001). He is also a University of Minnesota professor emeritus. He served as president of the Academy of Human Resource Development and was the founding editor of two scholarly journals. His recent work has focused on theory building research. and results assessment. He has authored more than 240 publications on human resource development and performance improvement. and Perceptions in Organizations (1999). Swanson Lectureship was established at the University of Minnesota in 2006. Europe. Swanson has consulted with major corporations throughout the United States. Foundations of Human Resource Development (2001). 317 . Swanson is Distinguished Research Professor of Human Resource Development and the Sam Lindsey Chair in the College of Business and Technology at The University of Texas at Tyler. Mexico. Swanson was inducted into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame (2001). Canada. Other recent books include The Adult Learner (2005). The Richard A.About the Author Richard A. and Results: How to Assess Performance. received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Illinois (2003). winner of the Book-of-the-Year Award from the Academy of Human Resource Development. and Africa. human resource development. Human Resource Development Quarterly and Advances in Developing Human Resources. and was inducted into the Human Resource Development Scholar Hall of Fame (2004). Swanson is an internationally recognized authority on performance improvement and organizational change. Learning.
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