Sunday, October 24, 2010

Performance Analysis Defined


Performance analysis is a methodical procedure designed to best identify causes to performance deficits. Performance analysis procedures can be applied to the individual, process, or organizational levels of performance. Performance analysis is the first step in determining what course of action needs to take place to address a specific problem or performance deficit. This first step is often called front-end analysis and is a pre-curser to the more in-depth needs-assessment and training development stages. The performance analysis helps to identify if a needs assessment or a training initiative is necessary, since these are exhausting and expensive interventions to perform. Additionally, the performance analysis will identify if another intervention could resolve the performance deficit or problem being addressed, other than a training intervention, which could reduce time and costs in many instances.

Performance Analysis Defined

Pershing described that performance analysis "focuses on factors that drive individual, group, and organizational performance. The factors may be causes of problems, road maps to improve quality, or ways to exploit opportunities. They are the why questions" (as cited in Pershing, 2006, p. 18).
Pershing, J. A., (ED, 2006). Handbook of performance technology: Principles, practices, potential (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.
Rossett reminds us that analysis provides the foundation for HPT, "a profession and a perspective that demands study before recommendations, data before decisions and involvement before actions" (p. 139).  Analysis can be defined as having three goals: 1) to find out what is going on and to disseminate and verify those perceptions, 2) to involve key figures and data in the effort, and 3) to model and employ a systematic process for improving human performance (Rossett, pp. 143-149, as cited in Pershing, 2006).
In her latest book titled First Things Fast, Rossett (2009) defines performance analysis in the following manner: "Performance analysis (PA) is partnering with clients and customers to help them define and achieve their goals. PA involves reaching out for several perspectives on a problem or opportunity; determining any and all drivers toward or barriers to successful performance; and proposing a solution system based on what is learned, not on what is typically done" (p. 20).
Rossett, A. (2009). First things fast: A handbook for performance analysis (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.
Organization Development (OD) looks at performance analysis as the first step in identifying the need for a change initiative. OD requires "an initial analysis be done of the performance requirements of the organization that can be improved through the documenting and development of planned, systemic change and the development of human expertise required to implement, maintain, and sustain workplace change and performance" (Swanson & Holton, 2001, p. 278).
Swanson, R. A., Holton III, E. F. (2001). Foundations of human resource development. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.
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