Friday, 11 March 2016

Human Performance Technology Model Explained

Introduction to the human performance problem

What is the problem?

In a training program to teach orthopaedic surgery residents on the microsurgery skills of repairing the nerves of the hand, the current success rate is not as expected and the resources that are used to run this workshop is significant.

The problem is, how to increase the rate of successful acquisition of the skill of nerve repair in this high fidelity skill workshop.

Benefits that can be gained by solving the problem           

If the success rate can be increased, the number of trained personnel will be higher , the number of successful nerve repair done in the hospital will be higher and therefore reducing the number re operations and secondary reconstructive procedures with better outcomes for the patients.

What is expected when the problem is solved or performance is improved?  

If the success rate of skill acquisition in the workshop can be increased the following can be expected:-

1.     number of surgeon competent to perform nerve surgery will be higher
2.     the number of successful nerve repair done in the hospital will be higher 
3.     reduction in the number re operations for nerve surgery
4.     secondary reconstructive procedures for nerve injuries will be less
5.     Better outcomes for patients with nerve injury.

Personal approach to solving the problem

Based on the assessment of the trainees at the end of the course, the “gut” feeling is that the success rate is not satisfactory. This is based on analysing the quality of the output of the trainee at the end of the workshop based on the assessment rubrics used.

My personal approach to increase the percentage of candidates being competent in nerve repair in the context of the high fidelity simulation model that we use, would be to increase the time and episodes the candidates spend in the laboratory repeatedly practising the skills till the outcomes are achieved .

This will require intensive resources in arranging for faculty members to be made available during these workshops and also that the candidates must leave the workplace to attend this workshop and therefore reduce productivity of the organisation.

Introducing the stages, tools and approach of HPT Model 1 (Van Tiem Model)

 This popular model of businesses to improve performance, consists of four stages.

Performance analysis

The first stage is to identify a problem. The problem has to be related to the performance of the workers. To be able to identify a problem, performance has to be measured. There needs to be an establishment of standards that are acceptable. Once the desired standards have been established the actual performance of the workforce is then measured using various tools and this produces a metrics for the measurement of the gap between what is expected and what is actually occurring on the ground level. Here tools need to be developed to measure performance that has to be defined very clearly with well-defined specificity and should be measurable reliably. These metrics should measure performance as an output and results rather than just mere behaviour of the worker.

In this stage of the analysis it is crucial to ensure that the performance improvement that is being measured is aligned to the corporate objectives of the organisation. Thus an organisational analysis is performed to study the vision and mission, goals and values of the organisation. The performance improvement being targeted must be aligned to the goals and objectives of the organisation. This will ensure buy in by the essential stakeholders to ensure success of the performance improvement measures.

It will also require an analysis of the environment in which the performance improvement strategies are going to be implemented. This will include an analysis of the structure, systems and processes within the organisation that impact the performance of the workers. This will include remuneration packages, reward systems and facilities and equipment available for the workers to perform.

In the analysis of the workers impact on performance, assessment of knowledge, skills and attitudes and motivation of the worker needs to be executed so as to be able to move onto the next stage of cause analysis.

Cause analysis

In this stage the causes for the performance gap is analysed using various tools, looking at environmental factors and personal factors. As introduced by Gilbert, using the behavioural model, the areas of environmental factor in performance include the following;
1.     information exchange to ensure that expectations and relevant feedback are adequate for performance
2.     resources are made available to ensure performance goals are being achieved
3.     adequate incentives are provided to ensure performance
In the area of individual factors that affect performance, Gilbert when onto identify these three areas
1.     adequate knowledge and skills of the individual to perform, and the provisions of adequate training to acquire this level of knowledge and skills
2.     the capacity of the individual to the task and performance expected by the organisation.
3.     The individuals motives in terms of intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation to e.g. expected performance.

One of the tools that can be used here would be root cause analysis to identify areas that may be responsible for the performance gap. Another tool that can be used to identify some of the causes would be information gathering tools like focus groups, interviews, surveys, observation and benchmarking.(Duman, Chyung, Villachica, & Winiecki, 2011)

Design, development and deployment

Based on the previous two stages performance gap has been analysed and the causes have been determined using the various tools. In this phase dependent on the findings of the first two stages, various strategies are generated based on the cause analysis and in the organisational structure, system or processes. This stage will also generate strategies for human capital development that will enable the staff and with performance support and financial systems to ensure resource allocation for environmental changes and performance incentives.

The ADDIE model can be utilised to generate the various strategies to improve performance. Using this model and based on the analysis that has been done stage I and 2, specific learning outcomes, techniques and materials for training can be developed and implemented to training programmes and then carefully measured to achieve desirable outcomes so that the performance improvement is obtained.


The purpose of the evaluation phase of this whole performance improvement exercise is to ensure that the overall objective of reducing the performance gap has been achieved. This is an ongoing process even during the analysis stage, formative assessments can be performed in the form of surveys and feedback to ensure that the true situation is being observed and measured accurately, so as to determine the performance gap to implement improvement strategies. In terms of the effectiveness of the various interventions that have been deployed to improve the performance, summative assessments of the workforce can be done to ensure that change in behaviour and performance have been achieved.(Nickols, 2011)

Confirmatory evaluation is performed by ensuring that the corporate objectives have been achieved by the performance improvement program. These would include return of investment, continuing effectiveness and efficiency in the processes of the organisation. The results of these evaluation can be used to provide further improvement in performance to the next level so as to ensure continuous improvement as part of quality and excellence in performance in the organisation.(Kaifeng Jiang, Lepak, Jia Ju, & Baer, 2012)

Introducing the stages, tools and approach of Appreciate Inquiry Model

In this model , originally described by Copperrider and Srivasta, it uses a much more empathetic approach towards the analysis of performance deficiency in an organisation with the use of affirmative language. It bears similarities in many ways to the first model of the classical humans performance technology models described earlier, in which it consists of also four stages.

It starts by describing the problem in a rather supportive way rather than a gap in performance which can be negative. So the problem is crafted with a language that brings about positive values that are desired to ensure the success of the individual through striving for a high level of performance.


In this phase which will be equivalent to the analysis stage of the first model, instead of looking at the deficiencies in performance, in this model the positive core strengths are identified. During this phase of data collection it not only reaffirms the core strengths of the individual but also helps to initiate the process of root cause analysis that is holding them back from performing at higher level. This sets the stage for the next phase in the development of the expected performance that is desired by the individuals.


Carrying on from the previous theme of a positive and encouraging process, in this phase the workers are encouraged to dream of the ideal workforce performance as compared to the current which is the actual. The difference is not characterised as a gap but rather the goal to move forward in a positive manner. So this therefore starts to measure the distance between the ideal performance and that in which they are now, known as the distance analysis. This sets the stage for the next phase which is the design, development and deployment of strategies to achieve a higher level of performance.


In this stage it is very similar to the first model in which various strategies are designed generated and then chosen and implemented for a change in performance. However as a result of the engagement of the staff in the first two phases, it helps in the development of a  very positive environment among the workers in helping design strategies to improve the performance level.


In this phase which is the implementation stage of the performance improvement program, the difference as compared to the first model, is, as the result of the process by which the analysis had been perform in the design phase there has been engagement of the stake holders of the performance improvement program. This therefore facilitates, and , it commences change management which is required in performance improvement projects. Evaluation of the program is similar as in any other system but in the appreciative  inquiry model it includes lessons learned to reinforce behaviour change and the confirmatory evaluation processes focuses on positive outcome from the change affect.(Vieregge & Moseley, 2012)

Application Comparison table:

The following table compares the three methods for the problem stated in the beginning of this assignment.
Area Considered
Your Personal Approach
Approach of HPT Model 1
Approach of HPT Model 2
Analysis of gap/s* in performance
Measuring the percentage of candidates achieving satisfactory results during workshop.
Calculating the performance gap by first setting standards that is required in clinical life or nerve repair and then comparing that to what is achieved in real life clinical practice. The current performance level is 20% (80% gap) and we will set a realistic target of 40% of candidates achieving competency as described by the rubrics of the workshop.(reduce gap to 60%)
Engaging all stake holders in Nerve Injuries and inquiring how the outcomes can be excellent through an analysis of the distance between where they are now and where they want to be. A focus group methodology will be used to engage the participants to achieve a higher level of competency that they would set themselves.
No real analysis is done but a gut feeling says that more practice to produce better results. Not evidence base.
In this model action research is performed to understand the root causes of the performance gap systematically against environmental and individual causes.
In this model the core values and competencies of the individual and environment are positively analysed to determine the distance from achieving higher performance.
Design of
Very little design is performed here except in increasing the repetition and frequency of practice.
Using models like the ADDIE, various suitable instructional design strategies will be generated to overcome the causes of the performance gap.
The engagement of the candidates will be involved in the design of the various intervention to improve performance thereby they having ownership of the strategies.
Of Intervention
Conduct more frequent workshops and longer periods of time to practice. Resource intensive.
Options generated would be carefully chosen to meet the needs of the candidates. Consideration will be given to individual factors and environmental factors in implementing the strategies. Timely and positive feedback will be implemented.
Effective communication of chosen strategies of which candidates have ownership to ensure acceptance and produce desired outcome.
To ensure effective utilisation of resources the performance gap is contextual and real-world based. This will ensure stakeholder acceptance. Ensuring appropriate individual and environmental factors conducive to performance improvement.
Commitment and acceptance to the change process is ensured as during the discovery phase positive affirmations and enhancements of the positive competency and core values have been emphasised.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Observing the results of nerve repair through summative and formative evaluation.
Similar formative and summative assessment but include confirmatory assessment through outcome measures in nerve injury patients.
With the affirmative and positive process the candidates can be encouraged to continue to improve on their performance.


HPT provides model to systematically and systemically analyse the performance deficiency in an endeavour. By its rigorous methodology it allows for the analysis of the causes of the performance gap. Once the causes have been analysed the solutions can be generated using generic models of instructional design to provide the necessary strategies to help improve performance to the level desired. The whole process of performance technology requires a rigorous and robust methodology to convert to metrics the performance of human behaviour.
It can provide a look forward to future challenges in human performance technology, since by far the greatest activity within any organization is human activity. (Pershing, Ji-Eun Lee, & Jing Li Cheng, 2008). The identification of expected levels of performance clearly and specifically articulated through objectives that are measurable allows for a scientific method of improving performance through various environmental and individual factors to provide the desired outcome. It ensures that the solutions generated are effective for the causes of performance deficiency, and appropriate monitoring and evaluation ensures that the right strategies are being utilise allowing for review and change as necessary.

The guesswork approach does not allow for the methodology and rigour that is needed to achieve performance outcome in a most cost effective manner. It can be risky and expensive as it does not take into consideration all the factors involved in changing behaviour and performance. It lacks the rigour and robustness of analysis of the causes for the performance deficit and in the generation of effective options to improve performance. It is not an evidence base method of solving performance problems.

In attempting to resolve a problem and performance in the real world, the first is to identify performance gap that exists. In order to identify this, tools must be identified or designed and chosen to measure the performance. In the next phase, the desired performance is identified and the metrics to measure it determined with the appropriate tools to measure the level of performance. Once the gap has been determined, the causes for this defect is identified through an analysis of the environment, the individual and the organisation. Having identified the causes for this performance deficiency one can then develop the various strategies to overcome these deficiencies to reach the desirable outcome. This can be targeted at the environment, the organisation or the individual. Specific and effective strategies are then chosen and implemented and during the process monitored and appropriately reviewed to ensure that the desired outcome is achieved.

Duman, B. D., Chyung, S. Y. (Yonnie), Villachica, S. W., & Winiecki, D. (2011). Root causes of errant ordered radiology exams: Results of a needs assessment. Performance Improvement, 50(1), 17–24. doi:10.1002/pfi.20192
Kaifeng Jiang, Lepak, D. P., Jia Ju, & Baer, J. C. (2012). How Does Human Resource Management Influence Organizational Outcomes? a Meta-Analytic Investigation of Mediating Mechanisms. Academy of Management Journal, 55(6), 1264–1294. doi:10.5465/amj.2011.0088
Nickols, F. (2011). A single universal model? No, thanks! Performance Improvement, 50(9), 15–19. doi:10.1002/pfi.20252
Pershing, J. A., Ji-Eun Lee, & Jing Li Cheng. (2008). Current status, future trends, and issues in human performance technology, part 1: Influential domains, current status, and recognition of HPT. Performance Improvement, 47(1), 9–17. doi:10.1002/pfi.174
Vieregge, K. L., & Moseley, J. L. (2012). Our future as performance improvement practitioners: A follow-up wake-up call. Performance Improvement, 51(10), 12–20. doi:10.1002/pfi.21310

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