Performance Concept Dimension And Theory Psychology Essay

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The individual performance is an old-recent research mainstream. Many researches are interesting on this issue, especially, psychologist researchers. There are many aims: researches sometimes want to predict individual performance, sometimes deal about the assessment issue, or the enhancement and the keeping of a performance value. Although, all theses attempts topics and interventions that are relevant for individual performance are often scattered in various domains and discussed in isolation (Sonnentag, 2002). Additionally, many performance topics are empirical researches which try to test the impact of some determinants of performance as stress (Tubre and Collins, 2000) or motivation (Neal and Griffin, 1999) on performance. In this way, when we make this research, we find that most of papers are in "journal of applied psychology" review. Even, these researches generally are interesting in a specific context (healthcare: Harris et al, 2007;

Thus, in this chapter we are going to present the performance concept, dimension and theory. Second we are going to make an overview to the famous performance model in the literature.

Section 2.1 Conceptualization of performance

In spite of the relevance of individual performance for the organization and the high research in the field either by theoretician or practitioner little effort is made to define performance. Campbell (1999) stays that performance can be defined either as outcome either as behavior. This is based on the conceptualization of performance made by Anderson and Oliver (1987) that is a start point to build a definition of performance made by authors. This model is adopted by many authors (Babakus et al, 1996; Babakus et al, 1999; Grant et al, 2002), even in recent research (Johnson and Bharadwaj, 2005). We are going to define this two perspectives and the relationship between them.

2.1.1 The outcome perspective

The outcome performance is concerning merely the measure of objective (outcome) rather than measures of the methods salespeople use to achieve results. The outcome performance necessitates a little monitoring by management to salesperson.

2.1.2 The behavior performance

The behavior performance is more subject. It's about the aptitude and strategic used by salesperson to achieve goals (Anderson and Oliver, 1987). It implies a considerable monitoring of salespeople's activities and results (Anderson and Oliver, 1987). The behavioral system has some advantages such as open communication between worker and manager, improve the quality of the objectives, reduce stress and the better diffusion of information (Johnson and Bharadwaj, 2005).

Hence, the behavioral performance is concerning the various activities and strategies salespeople engage in when performing their job responsibilities; nevertheless, the outcome behavior is based on salesperson's skill to achieve the task (Babakus et al, 1999; Grant et al, 2001). As consequence, we can conclude that behavior performance is according to the relationship which salesperson hold with customer, while, the outcome behavior is according to operational task.

Sonnentag and Frese (2002) stay that it's difficult to separate the two model in practice. We can talk about the behaviour perspective without talk about the result that constitutes the outcome perspective. They add that only actions that contribute to organizational goals fit with performance, and it's difficult to evaluate such action without make an evaluation of outcome. Hence, there is a distinction between the two approaches, and authors generally don't make this distinction. As a result there is no consensus about what should we label performance. May be the famous definition of Churchill et al (1979) [1] group the two perspectives. They define job performance as behavior that has been evaluated in terms of its contribution to the goals of the organization.

Section 2.2 Performance dimension

The performance is seen as multidimensional construct. The model of Borman and Motowidlo (1993, 1997) shows this statement. The authors propose a two axes model. The first axe is the job-specific task performance that contributes to transforming raw materials into goods and services or to maintaining the organizations technical core. The second axe is about the contextual performance, which includes behaviors that promote the viability of the social and organizational network and the psychological climate which embeds the technical tasks. Contextual performance is more related to external variable than it's the task performance( Sonnentag and Frese, 2002)

Sonnentag and Frese (2002) claim that there are three basic assumptions that distinguish the two dimensions:

The activities associated to contextual performance are the same across job, when activities associated to task performance are job specific;

Task performance is related to ability, whereas contextual performance is related to personality and motivation;

Task performance is much related to the job characteristics whereas contextual performance is more flexible and extra-role.

Each dimension is also multidimensional; that it includes sub-factors (Sonnentag and Frese ,2002). These two dimensions are easily distinguished at the conceptual and empirical level.

Performance model

There are many attempts to construct performance model. In spite of this there is no integrated model of performance. The following model it an example of such attempt. It results from a Meta analysis from the different work in individual performance.

Figure Churchill et al model (1979)


- internally mediated

- externally mediated

Personal, Organizational and environmental variables


Skill level



Role perceptions

- accuracy

- ambiguity

- conflict

Job satisfaction

- intrinsic

- extrinsic

We notice that it integrates situational and individual factors. There are two problems with this model. Firstly it can be tested empirically, because there are many variables. Secondly, it doesn't specify the situational determinants. The application of such model should start by a determination of the situational determinants according to a specific context.

Additional, Sonnentag and Frese (2002) claim the failure of such endeavor when he propose a classification of the different works in individual performance according to three areas: (1) an individual differences perspective which searches for individual characteristics (2) a situational perspective and (3) a performance regulation perspective which describes the performance process. We are going to explain the three perspectives and give studies example according to each one.

Individual perspective

This perspective emphasis the individual differences to predict performance. The difference in performance is function of the individual difference such personality, motivation or cognitive style. Accordingly, Campbell et al. (1993) propose a global model of performance which can be applied to different fields. They define performance as a set of behaviors that are relevant to the goals of the organization.

Figure Campbell et al model (1993-1999)

Individual factors

Eg. ability

Organizational factors

Eg. training

Individual factors

Eg. personality

Organizational factors

Eg. leadership

Individual factors

Eg. adaptability

Organizational factors

Eg. innovation




Contextual performance

Task performance

Antecedents of performance

Determinants of performance

Components of performance

The model makes a distinction between (1) the components, (2) the determinants, and (3) the antecedents of performance. The components of performance represent the actual behaviors that constitute performance. The determinants of performance represent the human and technological capacities necessary for individuals to produce these behaviors. The antecedents of performance are the factors that influence differences on each of these capacities (Neal and Griffin, 1999).

Components of Performance

Campbell et al (1993) state that there are eight distinct components of performance: (1) job specific task proficiency (ability), (2) non-job specific task proficiency, (3) written and oral communication task proficiency, (4) demonstrating effort, (5) maintaining personal discipline, (6) facilitating co-workers, (7) leadership and supervision, and (7) management and administration. They add that job-specific task proficiency, demonstrating effort, and personal discipline are probably relevant to all kind of jobs. Thus, They correspond to contextual performance.

Neal and Griffin (1999) argue that the model of Campbell et al (1993) is an advanced search that emphasizes the multidimensional aspect of performance and opposes the previous studies which state that performance as one-dimensional construct. Performance can be distinguished from effectiveness, which is defined as the value of those behaviors for the organization (Neal and Griffin, 1999).

Determinants of performance

The determinant of performance varies across studies. Campbell et al (1993) define three constructs: motivation, skill and knowledge. Neal and Griffin, 1999) state that knowledge and skill describe the necessary information and capabilities an individual must have in order successfully perform work activities. Than motivation describes the valence the individual attaches to the work activities.

Antecedents of performance

The antecedents of performance include all factors that can influence knowledge and skill, motivation. There are two broad classes of antecedents: individual and organizational factors. Individual factors describe the attributes that the employee brings to the workplace, and include ability, experience and personality. Organizational factors describe the attributes of the workplace itself as the physical work environment, organizational climate, team climate, leadership, and the HR systems used to select, train, reward, and compensate individuals (Neal and Griffin, 1999).

Later, Neal and Griffin (1999) built on the model of Campbell et al model (1993). As Campbell et al (1993) their model posits that skill, knowledge and motivation are determinants of performance. Merely, they add situational factors as determinant of performance too. As situational factor authors stress the importance of technology factors.

According to Individual perspective, there are empirical researches that test the relationship between individual factors and individual performance. In this, way many focus on the interrelationship between personality and performance, especially the big five components. To understand the relationship between personality and job performance Guion and Gottier (1965) [2] was the first investigators. They conclude that there is not a significant relationship between the two constructs. Early Meta analysis was conducted by Schmitt et al (1984) [3] who find that the correlation between personality and performance was not strong enough and conclude that the personality is not the best predictor of job performance in comparison with the other determinants. Later, in the past decades evidence emerged about the relationship between personality and performance. Many Meta analysis have been supported this agreement. Among authors Barrik and Mount were the most influencing. They conduct a set of Meta analysis from 1991 to 2003. They validate this relationship. Nevertheless, they demonstrate that consciousness is the best predictor of job performance across various performance criteria and occupational groups. Later, the same authors (1993) found that conscientiousness and extraversion predicted managerial performance significantly better in jobs categorized as high in autonomy. In this way, many empirical researches stay extraversion and conscientiousness have the most important influence on performance. According to these results some authors (Witt, 2002) analyze even only the influence of these concepts.

On the other hand research based on Eysenck's theory find different results. The relationship between personality and outcome has been demonstrated especially for the extraversion and introversion dimension. According to Cox-Fuenzalida et al (2006), this theory predicts that introvert are more arousal and are more suitable to succeed in tasks that are difficult and require great vigilance than extravert. In fact, this theory emphasis that introvert should perform better on long-term memory tasks but poorer on short-term memory tasks, as compared to extraverts. Similarly, extraverted subjects were found to more quickly retrieve information stored in their own minds and to retain information better over short intervals, but not for long intervals when compared with introverts [4] (Eysenck, 1977).

Hence, in the beginning of work, for the same task introvert and extravert have equal outcome or extravert are better in performance. But this outcome decreases for extraverts over time and increase for introvert. In the same way, individuals higher in extraversion may experience more difficulty adapting to sudden changes than those lower in extraversion. Empirically, Eugenia et al 2006 show that individuals higher in extraversion may experience more difficulty adapting to sudden changes than those lower in extraversion. In conclusion, the introverts have a better performance over time than extraverts.

The same importance is given to motivation performance relationship. (mettre des exemples)

The individual perspective implies that organization should focus on individual differences to make good job selection. As consequence, the problems of tools evaluation emerged. For example, how to assess personality? Is the current scale and measure are valid enough to take right decision? Unfortunately, the debate around this issue is still open. Beside, many researches try developing new instruments (Gosling et al, 2003: developed the FIPI and the TIPI respectively composed of five and ten items derived from the NEO-PI-R; Rammstedt and John (2007) construct a scale composed of 10 items the "BFI-10" derived from the BFI.)

Situational perspective:

System or situational factors are all the factors beyond the control of individual employees as quality of equipment, availability of resources, difficulty of sales territory… (Jawahar, 2005). Such factors have the potential to influence performance directly as well as through effects on task-relevant ability and motivation (Cardy et al., 1995; Peters et al., 1982; Villanova, 1996). Situational factors can enable or constrain performance (Sonnentag and Frese, 2002).. Situational constraints are factors which place limits on the extent to which attitudes, personal attributes, and motivation translate into behaviors and performance (e.g., a lack of materials or malfunctioning equipment… (Peters et al 1985). Many authors have been studied the influence of situational factors on performance (Hatcher et al., 1991; Kane, 1997; Peters, Chassie, Lindholm, O'Connor, & Kline, 1982; Peters, O'Connor, & Rudolph, 1980; Steel & Mento, 1986).

The models according to this perspective are rather response to the individual perspective; especially to the traditional models of performance that present performance as a combination between two constructs: Performance = f (ability * motivation). In this way, there are several models. Some models highlight the situational factors which enhance performance, other stress on factors that reduce performance (Sonnentag and Frese, 2002). According to this perspective the Blumberg and Pringle's model (1982) and the Hackman and Oldham's model (1976) are very influencing one.

Blumberg and Pringle (1982) criticize traditional models of performance and characterize them as missing value. They stay that the ability and motivation cant' capture all determinants of performance; and if it's each variable that affect work performance should be capable of being subsumed under either the dimension of ability or that of motivation. Nevertheless it's not possible. So, authors advance new model that replaces motivation and ability with broader concepts that capture more variables. On the other hand, they add new dimension that capture situational variable which are neglected until now. Hence, the three dimensions are capacity to perform, willingness to perform and opportunities. Capacity refers to the physiological and cognitive capabilities that enable an individual to perform a task effectively such as individual's knowledge, skills, intelligence, age, state of health, level of education… Willingness is the degree to which an individual is inclined to perform a task. It represents the effect on behavior of factor as job satisfaction, personality, attitudes, norms, values, status, anxiety, task characteristics, job involvement… Opportunities represent the conceptualization of situational variable. It's defined as "the particular configuration of the field of forces surrounding a person and his or her task that enables or constraints that person's task performance and that are beyond the person's direct control" (p565). The opportunities can be tools, equipment, materials, and supplies; working condition, rule, and procedure, information, pay…

The traditional model of performance in then modified as follow P=f(OxCxW). Authors assume that the performance is a partial determinant of each component. As a result from this model they propose a layout to predict performance for future research.

Figure Predict performance outcomes for different level of opportunity, willingness and capacity (Blumberg and Pringle, 1982)

Environmental factor


Less favorable

Personal factor

Lower capacity

Lower willingness

Very low performance

Higher willingness

Low to moderate performance

Higher capacity

Lower willingness

Low to moderate performance

Higher willingness

High performance

Blumberg and Pringle (1982) highlight also the importance of technology as the first factor when we are talking about opportunities (situational dimension). They stay that increases in performance through technological change probably are more dramatic than are increases resulting from motivation, leadership, or attitude change programs.

Although Blumberg and Pringle (1982) focus on the situational variable, they don't mention clear variables. While, Hackman and Oldham's model (1976) specifies job characteristics as situational variable. The authors stay that any job can be analyzed and designed according to the following five dimensions: skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy and feedback from the job itself.

Figure Job characteristics model

Core job dimensions

Critical psychological states

Personal and work outcomes

Skill variety

Task identity

Task significance

Experienced Meaningfulness of the work

Experienced Responsibility for outcomes of the work



Knowledge for the actual results of work activities

High internal work motivation

High quality work performance

High satisfaction with the work

Low absenteeism and turnover

Employee Growth Need Strenght

(Hackman and Oldham's model, 1976)

Skill variety is the degree to which a job requires a variety of different activities in carrying out the work, which involve the use of a number of different skills and talents of the employee. Task identity is the degree to which the job requires completion of a "whole" and identifiable piece of work-that is, doing a job from beginning to end with a visible outcome. Task significance is the degree to which the job has a substantial impact on the lives or work of other people-whether in the immediate organization or in the external environment. Autonomy is the degree to which the job provides substantial freedom, independence, and discretion to the employee in scheduling the work and in determining the procedures to be used in carrying it out. Finally, feedback from the job itself is the degree to which carrying out the work activities required by the job results in the employee obtaining direct and clear information about the effectiveness of his or her performance.

This model has a prediction issue. It assumes that the fit between job characteristics and individual should enhance behavioral outcome as satisfaction, motivation and especially overall performance. It's a well cited model in the literature (Griffin, 1981; Saavedra et al, 2000, Griffin et al, 1981; O'Reilly et al, 1980; Dunham, 1977; Saavedra and Kwun, 2000; Locke, 1995; Mottay, 2001; Mowday and Spencer, 1981). Indeed, it's applied in various fields and in relation to technology (ex: Mikkelsen et al, 2002: computer anxiety study in industry; Chen, 2008: information system study). These works were also facilitated through the development of the JDS survey (Hackman and Oldham, 1975).

Expliquer advantage le modèle

Generally, Brown and Peterson (1993) indicate that the many organizational/situational variables that have been studied to influence job outcome can be partitioned into two broad subgroups. These variables are supervisory behaviors and job and task characteristics. Beside, Singh (2008) indicates that in general, the factors that determine performance are salesperson's characteristics, role perceptions, the task characteristics and supervisory behavior.

Accordingly, many author have been demonstrated that the sales manager or supervisor influence widely the individual performance (Johnston et al, 1990; Kholi et al 1998; Jablin, 1979 [5] ; Johlke et al, 2000). Teas (1983) [6] studied the direct and indirect effect of the supervisor on salesperson outcome. He finds that supervisor influence directly and indirectly the salesperson by reducing role ambiguity. Johnston et al (1990) [7] and Kohli et al (1998) [8] demonstrated the influence that supervisor exert on salesperson. Brandes et al (2004) studied in midsized manufacturing organization different social exchange factors into the organization and find that the relationship with the supervisor is the most important variable that influence performance.

Stress is also a well studied concept that is assumed to influence negatively performance. Thus, stress reduces performance. Stress researches study the influence of two stress dimensions on performance: role stress and role ambiguity. Tutena and Neidermeyer (2004) claim that role conflict and role ambiguity as organizational stressors are thought to reduce an employee's ability to perform by diverting effort away from performing job duties and towards coping with the stressors. They add that the individual possesses a limited amount of energy that they should divide into different tasks and stress is an added task. The presence stress over prolonged period of time reduces outcome such as performance.

Ajouter des exemples sur les stress

Jawahar (2002) claims that there is not model that integrate all situational factors into a single model. According to the literature, each study determines situational factors according to specific context. Likewise there is a lack of theoretical research that trait the impact on end user performance of dispositional and situational constructs at the same time.

In this way, Many author demonstrated that personal factors and situational factors influence jointly performance (Jawahar, 2002; Stajkovic & Luthans, 1998 [9] ; Kenrick and Funder, 1988 Waldman & Spangler, 1989 [10] ; Cardy et al., 1995 [11] ; Carlson, 2000; Waldman, 1994. Kenrick and Funder (1988) suggest to study the join relationship between personality and situational factors. They add that is will be a mistake to make separation between the two fields.

Salesperson job performance

Job performance of salespeople revolves around the salesperson influencing the customer's decision-making process and/or providing a specific level of service. Salesperson job performance is vital to the entire firm because it provides the firm's primary source of revenue (Johlke et al, 2000)

Call center performance

Hannif et al 2008 talk about bad condition characteristics of call centers. They stay that in spite that call center offer various economic opportunity they are characterizes with poor job quality of live. This is due in part on the implementation of the Taylor's principles.

Specifically call centers essentially represent a new form of work organization, where workers are often trapped at their desks, the primary form of interaction being between agent and customer.