The Problem of Measuring Human Performance


Hayton, Thomas   (1987, ASQC)   Hayton Associates, Arlington, VT

41st Annual Quality Congress, May 1987, Minneapolis, MN    Vol. 41    No. 0
QICID: 3374    May 1987    pp. 734-739
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Article Abstract

The striking success of statistical quality control procedures in all phases of production has raised many questions about the adequacy of available means for the assessment of human work performance. This is especially so for those in supervisory and managerial positions, and for all whose performance legitimately requires judgement. By a careful analysis of the historical development of management theories it has been possible to construct procedures whereby the crucial elements of virtually all human performance can be identified, assessed and subjected to rigorous statistical control.The principal barriers to the measurement of human performance have been fourfold. First, the rise of management theory on the foundations of the practical experience of pioneers such as Taylor and Fayol inevitably introduced a confusion of aims and analyses. Organizing and managing an industrial enterprise is a highly complex operation when studied abstractly, and men of affairs are guided by a blend of experience, common sense and rules of thumb. The possibility of quantifying the managerial function was never entertained. At the beginning the operations at shop level needed urgent attention. Second, the concept of strict statistical control of any sort of process was not formalized until the Shewhart era. Third, by then the psychologists had made an appearance and human behavior in the work-place became a matter of academic interest. Fourth, a pervasive dogma emerged of the inherent impalpability of the managerial function. This paper shows how, with the recognition that subjective work without literacy is a contradiction, a precise threefold categorization of human work as objective, sensory and subjective, and a twofold classification of the managerial function, the quantifiable aspects can be extracted and statistically valid measurements introduced.



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