Performance Modeling

Performance ModelingPerformance modeling refers to the complex process of describing and defining job performance and facilitating the consequent goal of accurate prediction of job performance. It is a concept of particular significance in the area of industrial-organizational psychology as a measure of evaluation for the individual worker and the organization as a whole. Performance modeling also has a connection to the area of vocational psychology as well (i.e., the theory of work adjustment). It is this connection to vocational psychology that makes this concept additionally relevant to the practice of career and vocational counseling.

The idea of performance has generally been viewed from two perspectives: as the behavior of a person in the work setting and the extent to which this behavior produces a given output or result for the organization related to its goals. Job performance is a complex combination of several components and a concept to be distinguished from the related ideas of effectiveness (evaluation of performance results) and productivity (the cost-to-effectiveness ratio).

The classic model of job performance prediction fails to effectively predict performance due to weakness of predictor variables, confusing measures of these variables with the attribute being measured, and problems with the statistical analyses of this model. Campbell’s model focuses on eight performance components across all jobs: job-specific task proficiency, non-job-specific task proficiency, written and oral communication tasks, demonstrating effort, maintaining personal discipline, facilitating peer and team performance, supervision, and management-administration.

Borman and Motowidlo’s model describes two components of performance: task performance and contextual performance. Task performance pertains to technical aspects of the job necessary to complete it, while contextual performance refers to activities contributing to the organizational environment and supporting its goals. Hesketh adds the dimension of adaptive performance to a model for job performance. According to Hesketh, this addition adds a cognitive component (related to a person acquiring new skills on the job) and a noncognitive component (related to coping skills and self-efficacy for change).


  1. Borman, W. C., & Motowidlo, S. J. (1993). Expanding the criterion domain to include elements of contextual performance. In N. Schmitt, W. C. Borman, & Associates (Eds.), Personnel selection in organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  2. Campbell, J. (1990). Modeling the performance prediction problem in industrial and organizational psychology. In M. D. Dunnette & L. M. Hough (Eds.), Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology (2nd ed., Vol. 1, pp. 687-732). Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.
  3. Hesketh, B. (2001). Prevention and development in the workplace. In S. D. Brown & R. W. Lent (Eds.), Handbook of counseling psychology (3rd ed., pp. 471-i98). New York: Wiley.
  4. Williams, R., & Fletcher, C. (2002). Performance management and organizational effectiveness. In I. T. Robertson, M. Callahan, & D. Bartram (Eds.), Organizational effectiveness: The role of psychology (pp. 135-158). New York: Wiley.