Analysing the job performance and outcomes


Job performance is a term that is commonly used in human resource management to refer to whether an employee performs his job in the right way. Although there is confusion on exactly how the term ought to be defined, job performance remains an extremely critical criterion for determining organizational outcomes. Campbell (1990) defines job performance simply as an individual level variable as opposed organizational and national performance, both of which are higher level variables.

Characteristics for rating job performance

Different characteristics are used for determining performance components. (Steers, 1977) identifies three characteristics that are used to define individual differences in performance as including motivation, procedural knowledge and skill, and declarative knowledge Declarative knowledge involves knowing what to do whereas procedural knowledge and skill involves knowing how to do it. Motivation, according to Campbell (1990), can best be discussed as a direct determinant of behavior involved in the execution of job tasks.

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Speed and accuracy are also crucial characteristics for determining job performance. They are closely similar to the distinction between quantity and quality. Therefore, human resource managers consider the influence of maximized speed, maximized accuracy as well as a balance between these two variables in evaluating job performance.

However, Emin (2007) observes that the most crucial characteristics for evaluating job performance are gender, age, interpersonal affect and observation time. In a study of job characteristics, Emin reported that working conditions such as hazards and environmental conditions are as crucial as experience and education in task performance evaluation.

Performance, according to Campbell (1990), is something that an employee does as a matter of behavior, such that it determines the outcomes in a very significant way. On the other hand, outcomes are the result of an employee’s performance. However, there are many other influences that determine outcomes in the workplace other than the actions and behaviors of the employee.

It should be noted that there are exceptions to an approach of defining job performance through directly observable actions of an employee; it also entails mental production, including decisions and answers. All in all, performance should be under the control of an individual, whether it is behavioral or mental (Quińones, Ford & Teachout, 1995).

The main difference between an individual’s controlled action and outcomes can best be conveyed through the revenue and sales analogy. Revenue can be compared to the outcome while sales are comparable to the performance. Although the efforts of an employees are necessary for sales volumes to increase, other factor beyond his control can influence this performance. When performance is effective, the outcomes are impressive. Productivity can be compared to the effectiveness of performance. Likewise, utility can be used as a way of determining the level of effectiveness, performance or productivity.

Relationship between job performance and outcomes

According to Wiener & Vardi (1980), the best way to describe the relationship between performance and outcomes is to consider job, organization and career commitments simultaneously. In this case, it is ideal to pay attention to different diverse groups. After carrying out a research in such an environment, Wiener & Verdi found out a strong relationship between commitment and attachment to the organization. On the other hand, commitment was associated with indices of performance and effort effectiveness. Additionally, the research supported the hypothesis that the relationship between performance commitment and outcomes would be much stronger for staff professionals compared to the one for insurance salespersons.

Positive and negative job performance can be determined through an in-depth of various factors determining the productivity of an employee. Negative outcomes can be determined easily by testing a three-way interaction among job satisfaction, positive affectivity and tenure (Duffy, Ganster & Shaw, 1998). Negative job performance in the form of job search behavior, counterproductive behavior and physical health complaints can also be determined through a similar analysis of these interactions. For people with high positive affectivity, the relationship between negative performance outcomes and job satisfactions turns to be strongly negative (Duffy, Ganster & Shaw, 1998).

In a study of the relationship between positive and negative affectivity, Kaplan et al (2009) found out that various performance dimensions determine whether the outcome will be desirable or not. For instance, positive affectivity was related to organizational citizenship behaviors as opposed to withdrawal behaviors. On the other hand, negative affectivity was related to withdrawal behaviors, counterproductive work behaviors, organizational citizenship behaviors and occupational injury.

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Both positive and negative job performance are excellent indicators of the extent of emotional exhaustion among employees (Wright & Cropanzano, 1998). Meanwhile, there is a need for new theoretical perspectives in order for the role of various factors determining the nature of performance to be appreciated. For instance, Wright & Cropanzano (1998) adopted the conservation of resources model in their study of the relationship between emotional satisfaction and performance. The main variables used were voluntary turnover, job satisfaction and level of performance.

Work contexts and job design

Job design refers to the process of bringing together various elements in order to form a job, while paying attention to individual and organizational work requirements as well as other factors such as safety, health and ergonomics (Ferris & Gilmore, 1984). In the process of improving existing jobs and designing new ones, human resource management professional face many problems posed by various individual differences (White, 1993). In most cases, job design is necessitated by the need to incorporate various commercial and technical factors.

The individual differences vary depending on the people expected to take the job positions, the mode of functioning of the organization and the contributions expected from the people spearheading the task of job design. The differences also arise out the people’s expectations in their working lives in terms of the content and context of the jobs (White, 1993).

Work contexts are simply the environments with which certain jobs are supposed to be performed. According to Wright (2004), it is possible to design a conceptual model for predicting how the work contexts of an organization may influence work motivation. Wright uses goal and social cognitive theories to assess whether various aspects of organizational work context can have a detrimental effect on motivation. Aspects such as procedural constraints, goal ambiguity and goal conflict can influence various antecedents of work motivation, including job difficulty, self-efficacy, and job goal specificity.

Findings of a covariance analysis of an employee survey data for state government officials suggested several minor modifications to the model used by Wright (2004). However, the results indicated that accurately specify various leverage points appropriate for increasing work motivation, and by extension, productivity in public working environments.

How job design is carried out /Activities and functions of Human Resources Director

During job design, it is necessary for attention to be paid on business objectives and many other organizational contingencies that influence organizational-wide HRM systems and policies (Tsui, 1987). However, in organizations that operate on centralized systems, it is limitation is often imposed on level of responsibility and decision making among people who are at low levels in the administration hierarchy. Enough attention should be paid to the human resource function at the level of business implementation. Tsui (1987) suggests that the multiple constituency approach is the best bet for a job design process that incorporates all the needs of the organization in terms of desirable levels of performance and positive outcomes.

Although difficulties arise in integrating different constituency perspectives into a job design process, the people in charge of job design should ensure that appropriate measures of evaluating the effectiveness of each perspective have been put in place. In particular, emphasis should be put on how constituencies with an operational orientation are complemented with those that have a strategic focus.

The activities and functions of the job are of utmost importance for people who handle job design tasks. In my job as a human resource director, the main tasks included administering compensation, performance management systems, benefits, recreation and safety programs. Additional tasks included identification of staff vacancies, recruitment, interviewing and selection of applicants.

Furthermore, the activities of allocating human resources, providing current and prospective employees and performing staffing duties were also incorporated during creation of the position of human resource director. Other areas within my prerogative as the holder of the job position included managing disciplinary procedures among employees, advising managers on matters of organizational employment policies and analysis and modification of compensation and benefits programs so that the most competitive policies are established.

The design of the job took advantage of the existing work context. At no time did it conflict with any prevailing work context. The main advantages incorporated in the design included power, giving authority, financial authority and effective communication channels. On the other hand, the main disadvantage of the work contexts in which I operated was the fact that almost all the other departments within the organization looked up to the HR department for directions in critical matters of policy. Unfortunately, I did not have the authority to give all the directions that employees sought from me. It was difficult to determine which directions to give without appearing to be undermining the authority of my seniors.

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I reacted to the advantages by feeling motivated. Therefore, I was able to focus on not only achieving goals but also encouraging others to do so, as well. Sometimes, I feeling of achievement welled up inside me, buoying me into efforts towards further achievements and overwhelming job satisfaction.

On the other hand, I responded negatively to the disadvantages occasioned by the job of a human resource director. The disadvantages made me feel stressed and overloaded with tasks. At other times, I even felt like I was losing control of the work-life balance that I had earlier on managed to strike with relative ease.


In summary, in many situations, deviation arises between practices and theories. This deviation is clear with regard to performance and outcomes. This deviation is comparable to the one that exists between declarative knowledge and procedural knowledge. Sometimes, employees may know what needs to be done without knowing how to do it.

During job design, aspects of both theory and practice should be integrated into the entire process. In jobs that require whereby leadership qualities are required, the leadership style of prospective holders of the position should be put into consideration. Choice of leadership style is a crucial factor in efforts by an organizational leader to influence others. Meanwhile, motivation should be considered an internal factor rather than an external one; it is impossible to motivate a person whereas it is possible to create a context for motivation.