Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Human Performance Technology Principles (HPT)

Listed below are a set of 10 Principles of Human Performance Technology (HPT) as presented by Jacobs in 1987 (Gilley, Dean, Bierema, 2001, pp. 80-91). These principles provide a guide for those who are interested in providing systematic performance related solutions for their organization. Practitioners, managers, and today's corporate leaders can all benefit by keeping these principles in the back of their minds.

  1. Human performance and human behavior are different, and knowledge of their differences is important for achieving goals.
  2. Any statement about human performance is about organizational performance as well.
  3. Costs of improving performance should be regarded as investments in human capital, yielding returns in the form of increased performance potential.
  4. Organizational and individual goals must be considered to define worthy performance.
  5. Knowing how to engineer human performance and the conditions that affect it is as important as explaining why the behavior occurred.
  6. Diagnosing problems required analysis of the present system and examination of differences between it and an ideal system. Avoiding anticipated problems requires analyzing the planned system and modifying it to approximate the ideal.
  7. Exemplary performance provides the most logical reference for establishing job performance standards.
  8. Human performance problems have differing root causes that originate either from the person, from something in the environment, or from both.
  9. The performance of one subsystem affects the performance of other subsystems in somewhat predictable ways, requiring that root causes be analyzed at more than one level of the organization.
  10. Many different solutions may be used to improve human performance. Selection of any one solution is dependent on the cause and nature of the performance problem, and the criteria used to evaluate a solution must include its potential to make a measurable difference in the performance system.
(Gilley, Dean, Bierema, 2001, pp. 80-91)


Gilley, J. W. (2001). Philosophy of organizational performance. In Gilley, J. W., Dean, P., & Bierema, L. (Eds.), Philosophy and practice of organizational learning, performance, and change: New perspectives in organizational learning, performance, and change, pp. 67-92. Cambridge, MA: Perseus.

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