ERIC Number: ED431584
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
The Psychology of Human Performance.
Thomas, David A.
This paper offers a theoretically grounded template for analyzing the root causes of individual performance problems in school, work, or personal pursuits. There are four basic reasons why individuals fail to perform as desired: they don't know what to do (communication problem); they don't know how to do it (knowledge problem); they don't want to do it (motivation problem); or they are not permitted to do it (environmental support problem). This paper confines itself to knowledge and motivation problems. Considerations are listed for identifying knowledge-based performance problems. Interventions or training for knowledge-based problems must address the following: (1) whether the knowledge needed to improve performance is primarily declarative or procedural; (2) how different or novel the necessary knowledge is, compared to the individual's current knowledge base and capacity to learn; and (3) how to present the new knowledge to maximize the specific individual's chances of learning and using it. Motivation problems include lack of commitment and overconfidence; symptoms include procrastination, "passing the buck," careless mistakes, giving up easily, and denigrating the task. Ford's Motivation Systems Theory (MST) provides a useful framework to summarize and apply motivational research. MST assumes that motivated behaviors can be explained by personal goals (goal content and related cognitive processes), personal agency beliefs, and goal-related emotions. Choice and commitment problems are distinguished from effort problems. (SV)
Descriptors: Evaluation Criteria, Failure, Goal Orientation, Information Needs, Knowledge Level, Motivation, Negative Attitudes, Performance Factors, Self Efficacy, Work Attitudes
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Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Association for Experiential Education, Boulder, CO.