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Human performance is a behavior, a process, a procedure, a way of working or functioning, or an accomplishment. As a study, human performance is concerned with the measurable results of specific behaviors, especially work performance and productivity or athletic accomplishments.
The field of study of human performance for the workplace usually covers three main subjects: human performance improvement, human performance management and human performance technology.
1. Human Performance Improvement
Human performance improvement is any process for increasing the effectiveness of specified behaviors or work procedures in producing better results or finding more effective behaviors or procedures to produce the desired results. Performance improvement methods apply to individuals, teams, organizational divisions or departments and/or entire organizations. Training and coaching have been the primary methods of human performance improvement, but human performance technology (HPT) is encompassing and superceding them.
2. Human Performance Technology
Human Performance Technology (HPT) refers to the systematic processes in which an organization discovers and analyzes desired human performance outcomes (goals), determines what causes those outcomes, designs methods for achieving those outcomes, applies the methods, measures the effectiveness of those methods and redesigns the system for further improvement. Often, HTP is a studied on a meta level, covering a number of organizations or on a theoretical level, covering modeled organization types. In the workplace HPT application tends to be an organization-wide, rather generalized process and usually relies on Human Performance Management for specific applications to specific units of the organization.
The phrase human performance technology is misleading in that it means technology in a different sense than most commonly used. It is accurate, however. a true meaning of the word technology indicating that the scientific method has been used for commercial or industrial ends. It is about a process or system of procedures that organizes and directs or regulates human behavior.
Human Performance Technology comes from Systems Theory as it applies to people and organizations. Systems Theory studies complex natural and human systems.
3. Human Performance Management
Human Performance Management is the real-world application of HPT in the workplace. Like the more general HPT, it follows a systematic process, but is hands-on, and applied to specific employees, teams or organizational units: Establishing goals or objectives. Planning procedures for accomplishing those goals or objectives. Conveying the objectives and the procedures to the employees. Modifying employee behavior. Measuring results. Identifying the differences between the desired results and the actual results. Analyzing the probable causes of the differing results. Designing new procedures. And starting the whole process over again, until the results are satisfactory.