By Richard A. Swanson
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Additional info for Analysis for Improving Performance: Tools for Diagnosing Organizations and Documenting Workplace Expertise
The driving force for the request was the company’s president. While attending a professional conference, she had been persuaded by the urgent legal requirement to conduct unbiased performance appraisals. Simultaneously, the personnel department was carrying out management’s directive to hire a consulting group to institute a new company-wide compensation system. The two situations were treated as unrelated events in this company, even though the power-oriented human resource staff was aware of the potential effects of the new compensation system on the appraisals.
Besides purchasing the equipment and training the product support staff to use it, the economically oriented consultants offered training in listening skills and new methods for defusing the emotion of frustrated customers. As expected, responding to customers’ needs took a little less time following the development program. However, increasing sales volume meant that the customer support staff had to respond to an ever-increasing number of callers. They began hurrying each caller along. Rising customer complaints about the lack of response to their software problems prompted the vice president of sales to question the consultants about the effectiveness of their performance improvement effort.
The realization that there are tiers of subsystems and larger host systems and that systems are open entities constantly changing is humbling. These realizations help prevent professionals from thinking and acting simply and mechanically. Performance improvement practitioners and scholars should not lose sight of the constantly evolving state of overall systems. The larger frame in which performance improvement functions includes organizations and the milieu in which they function. Organizations are the host systems for the activity.
Analysis for Improving Performance: Tools for Diagnosing Organizations and Documenting Workplace Expertise by Richard A. Swanson