The concept of the thinking performer


In the year 2002, the professional standards of thinking performer all over the world was reframed by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) - one of the leading professional body in UK that engross in development of people and management. It is one of the key skills of an idyllic Human resources practitioner, the one who is competent enough and enthusiastic to persistently defy the way gearing is implementing and benefits the organization they are in employment with.

The Thinking Performer is the also known as a "strategic campaigner" worker who adjoin worth to all the way through unremitting challenge and self obligatory enhancement of target. Exclusively in the human resources area, A person who wishes to thinks surrounded by other things "Why do I do this?" or "How can it be done in a different or better way?" such person is called as an Thinking Performer. An HR practitioner lacks the quality of thinking performer in subsistence.

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In addition, if the HR profession is to have appositive impact on the performance of organization the lack of thinking performer creates a gash that needs to be deal with. Time and again referred as the sacred for "Human Resources management". These prospects enlarge up the confidence when one believes that associated with the amplification of the "thinking performer" matrix. One of inference that is intentionally improved the HR profession, "thinking performer" assets should be widespread among all HR practitioners as well as at all stage of the organisation. ( ""&HYPERLINK ""Filename=html/Output/Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Pdf/1190160401.pdf)

Explanation: the "thinking performer" quadrant, situated in the

Upper right of the matrix, is portrayed in terms of the "strategic activist," someone who

Is willing and able to challenge the status quo position and to demand more from what

is currently being delivered in their place of work. The remaining three quadrants are

Then negatively contrasted with this ideal whose shortcomings vary according to their

Lack or efficiency and/or effectiveness. Thus, the "wish list dreamer" quadrant, located

in the upper left of the matrix, is depicted in terms of someone lacking efficiency

Because of their failure to communicate their (effective) ideas to others. The "automated

bureaucrat" quadrant, positioned in the lower right of the matrix, is then depicted as

someone who is efficient in terms of (accurately and speedily) doing what they are told

but who also lacks effectiveness through not being willing to challenge what is done or

through not considering ways of doing things differently (more effectively). Finally, the

"lifetime liability" quadrant, in the lower left of the matrix, is expressed in terms of

someone who lacks competence on the grounds of both efficiency and effectiveness.

The CIPD's thinking

performer matrix

High effectiveness Wish-list dreamer Thinking performer

Low effectiveness

Lifetime liability Automated bureaucrat

Low efficiency.

Wish list dreamer

Thinking Performer

Life time liability

Automated Burocrat





(Fig1.1)(CIPD, 2010)


A thinking performer is a person, who continuously participates in an organisation's tactical intentions.

strengthen the conformity role of the HR/personnel task (both legally and ethically) whenever it is essential,however he still values that on the road to do so is not an adequate stipulation of HR/personnel's actual added-value efficiency.

To discover the answers that are enhanced, reasonable or quicker, he defies the manner in which the work is completed.

Thinking performs always stays connected with their 'customers' through set of connections so that he can comprehend the business effectively; respond's to comments and goes out his way to help the customers in order to gain 'customer loyalty'.

What does it means:

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The Thinking Performer is a concept about a person or an individual whose different activities differentiates him from others. And he is placed in front of others as an example. He can be identified by subsequent prototype of acts: except

The competent release of ordinary outcome and presentation of necessary method - the 'performance' ingredient. 

Interrupted evidence of how the work is done currently, so that there are ways of enhancing it (to upper the paradigm of lucrative feature), affordable (at lesser expense, calculated monetarily or considering other assets, like time utilisation) or quicker (with better reply period and individual/group output). 

Questioning the work that has been done recently, in which all the measures are considered, organisation is in the right position, to confirm whether these objects/events/structure actually put in worth and create an effective change to the required result.

Getting a hang of and guarantee of functions following everyday jobs and actions, as a result the income doesn't affect the purpose.

Adjustment of suitable, valid and constant moral outlook, along with understanding how to coherent distress while the situation is acceptable.

Comparatively, a non- Thinking Performer is an individual who carries out informaion without utilising his brains, with no knowledge (or concern) with reference to their role. This person thinks that the way he is doing work is suitable because he is been told to do it that manner 'since all the time its completed in a similar method', and will obtain shelter in reasonable point of view on the subject of, say, the officially authorized explanation for few HR activities without worrying to verify the facts. The non-Thinking Performer believes that he or she 'sums up the importance' by implementing lawful and decent agreement, not indentifying that agreement, despite the fact that a compulsory circumstance for commercial endurance, is extremely far-off from being an adequate individual. 

A non-Thinking performer is a burden on an organisation for a life span.  This person neither performs, nor produce, nor upgrads, still dedicate a high-quality of time and liveliness to the improvement of grounds (or justification), why approved amount produce is beyond your reach and responsibilities are unconvinced. The Life span burden is a noxious effect in the venture; threaten its objectives and its standards, all the time understanding its image resentfully, in the hunt for (intentionally or otherwise) to contaminate others with comparable approach. Many companies will have in any case a small number of Life span Liability workforces inside their position: a number of contain loads of and yet there are not many who have made slight efforts to prepare them elsewhere. (

"HR professional who applies a critically thoughtful approach to their own job so as to make a contribution to organisational survival, profitability and to meeting its vision and strategic goals." [(CIPD Management standards 2004, p1) (Lecture slide 2, Thinking Performer and Effective Manager, week 2)]

Basis of a Thinking performer:

"Efficient people-management strategies and processes do not yield high-performance outcomes. What they generate, at best, are people who are instrumentally motivated, who will fulfil the frequently passive, task-oriented obligations of their job descriptions, but who will function mechanically rather than with commitment, and will have no interest in adding value or making the differences that separate the world-class enterprise from its mundane, pedestrian counterpart."Ted Johns introduction to: Rayner, C. and Adam-Smith, D. (2005) Managing and Leading People, London: CIPD.

Characteristics of a Thinking performer:

Personal drive and effectiveness

People management and leadership

Business understanding

Professional and ethical competence

Added value

Continuing learning

Analytical and intuitive/creative thinking

Customer focus

Strategic capabilities

Good interpersonal skills.

(Lecture slide, Thinking Performer and Effective Manager, week 2)

"We function and perform within any organisation within many interacting cultural spheres of influence", such as identified by Schneider and Barsoux (2003:p52). Such areas of authority speak about our general or provincial traditions, our living, and our jobs in this, the business or segment along with the establishment's background of the paying organisation. (Lecture slide, Thinking Performer and Effective Manager, week 2).

Reflection is important because:

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"Learning by reflection converts informal and accidental opportunities into more efficient learning opportunities" Else (1992)

"…by writing up what are considered to be significant learning experiences that occur in the form of everyday incidents, the likelihood of actually doing things better in the future will be increased"

Green & Gibbons (1991) (Lecture slide, Thinking Performer and Effective Manager, week 2).

Why it matters:

The Thinking Performer theory is important because it is very difficult to imagine employers who would deliberately wish their workers to be something else.

The Daily Telegraph of 29 May 2001 contained an article about a massive culture change at Land Rover's Solihull plant, led by Marin Burela, the firm's new manufacturing director. Staff are being given the chance to drive the cars they make around Land Rover's jungle track for the first time: under the previous regimes at Solihull, the closest workers had got to driving a Land Rover was helping one to leave the final assembly line. In a key phrase, Burela was quoted as saying, 'We've gone from telling people, "Come in and build cars" to having a group of people that are thinking.'

Why has Land Rover gone down this route? Certainly not because they are full of the milk of human kindness. They have done it for reasons which are already familiar to those who write about

organizations - and which should be equally familiar to those who manage organizations. The arguments have been brilliantly summarized in an article for People Management [Marked impact, 25 October 2001] by Robert Kaplan and David Norton, the 'inventors' of the Balanced Scorecard:

'A century ago, at the height of the scientific management revolution, companies broke complex manufacturing jobs into sequences of simpler tasks for which industrial engineers and managers set efficient work methods and performance standards. Companies could then hire uneducated, unskilled employees and train them to do a single task. Frederick Taylor, the leader of the scientific management movement, called this "simple jobs for simple people".'

Today, this mode of work is virtually obsolete. Whatever the organization - manufacturer or service provider, private or public, for-profit or not-for-profit - all of its employees need to understand and be able to implement its strategy.

Much of the work done today is mental rather than physical. Automation has reduced the proportion of people in organizations who do manual work. Employees are involved in more discretionary tasks, such as product development, marketing and customer relations.

The challenge for organizations today is how to enlist the hearts and minds of all their employees. Even those employees involved in direct production and service delivery must strive for continuous

improvements in quality, reducing costs and process times to meet customers' expectations and keep up with the competition... Doing the job as it was done before is unlikely to be enough.' (

The role of HR in enhancing job engagement and commitment (Thinking Performer):

Engagement has become a key concept recently. Anyone concerned in people management needs to be aware of what the terms 'engagement' and 'commitment' mean - they are often used loosely - and what needs to be done about them to enhance the value added by human capital. The Hay Group (Murlis, 2005) defines engaged performance as: "A result that is achieved by stimulating employees' for their work and directing it towards organizational success. This result can only be achieved when employers offer an implied contract to their employees that elicit specific positive behaviours aligned with the organization's goals." (Angela Baron & Michael Armstrong, 2007)

Determining Efficiency:

Mullins (2005) has argued that managerial effectiveness can be judge by measuring the difference between what managers intended to achieve and what they actually achieved at the end. This could further be explained with the help of Mullins model of measuring effectiveness (see Appendix (i)).

Mullins (2005) has further argued that there are five major ways to asses this performance gap. The first three are aimed at assessing a manager's performance through their staff, which are motivation amongst their subordinates to perform and if they are able to implement knowledge which they received in their training and how successful they are after doing that, another measure could be that if a manager is able to create a environment in which its staff would willingly like to perform effectively and efficiently (Ibid). The difficulty with these factors were determining objective measurement, some other indications of effectiveness of a manager could be staff turnover, incidence of sickness, absenteeism, poor time keeping and accident at work(Ibid).

Mullins (2005) further advised two other measures of effectiveness which are efficiency of system and procedure and standard of services afforded to other department which could be estimated on the basis of quantitative data like meeting important deadlines, accuracy of work, adherence to quality and productivity (Ibid). Taking all these indicators into consideration we can judge the level of discrepancy to conclude the effectiveness of a manager.

Armstrong and Baron (n.d) cited in CIPD(2010) stress that "performance management is a tool to ensure that managers manage effectively; that they ensure the people or teams they manage". CIPD (2010) further argues that performance management is a procedure which helps in effective management of individuals and groups to achieve organisational objectives .The most commonly used performance management techniques are "return on investment" and "balance scorecard". Return on investment (ROI) is a tool to assess the performance on the basis of profit or loss to the business (Smith, 2005). Where as a Balance scorecard evaluate from customers point of view, internal learning and growth of the organisation and also form the financial aspect of it (Ibid).


Angela Baron & Michael Armstrong (2007). Human Capital Management. London: Kogan Page Ltd. p131.

CIPD (2004). Management Standard. p1. (Lecture slide 2, Thinking Performer and Effective Manager, week 2]

CIPD. (2010). Thinking Performe. Available: Last accessed 6th Dec 2010.

Mullins L. J., (2005), Management and Organisational Behaviour, Harlow : prentice Hall (pp 259 -261)

Paul Higgins, Li-fang Zhang. (2009). Effective Manager. Available: Last accessed 4th dec 2010.

Ted Johns introduction to: Rayner, C. and Adam-Smith, D. (2005) Managing and Leading People, London: CIPD. [ Lecture slide 4, Thinking Performer and Effective Manager, week 2]