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Human Competence: Engineering Worthy Performance [Hardcover]

Thomas F. Gilbert
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Aug. 12 2013 0787996157 978-0787996154 1
What People Have Said About Human Competence:

"Among the ideas bulging from this classic work: performance exemplars, potential for improving performance, behavior-accomplishment distinction, performance matrix, ACORN troubleshooting test, performance audits, states, Worth = Value - Cost, knowledge maps, mediators, and job aids. The great accomplishments Gilbert left behind will continue to profit behavior analysis and performance improvement for a long, long time." --Ogden Lindsley, Behavior Research Company

"Human Competence is probably the most borrowed and least returned book in my library. Its good to have it in print more than once, so that I can keep replacing it, and rereading it for new insights from the original master of HPT." --Rob Foshay, TRO Learning, Inc.

"Human Competence stands not only as a tribute to Tom's genius, but also as the best single source of ideas about performance technology. It is a 'must have' for anyone serious about changing the performance of individuals or organizations." --Dick Lincoln, Centers for Disease Control


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Human Competence: Engineering Worthy Performance + Handbook of Human Performance Technology: Principles, Practices, and Potential
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Review

"Human Competence stands not only as a tribute to Tom's genius, but also as the best single source of ideas about performance technology. It is a 'must have' for anyone serious about changing the performance of individuals or organizations."
—Dick Lincoln, Centers for Disease Control

"Human Competence is the crowning achievement of a most remarkable man. But more than that, it is the performance technologist's foundation. Read it with zest, but read it with the intent of learning as much as you possibly can."
—Odin Westgaard, Hale Associates

"Tom's work has given me the framework to help others in a powerful way—it is a big part of my message of respecting and valuing people at work."
—Elizabeth Guman, Performance Insights

"Human Competence is a must read for anyone wishing to become a true performance improvement professional."
—Peter Dean, University of Tennessee at Knoxville

"Among the ideas bulging from this classic work: performance exemplars, potential for improving performance, behavior-accomplishment distinction, performance matrix, ACORN troubleshooting test, performance audits, states, Worth = Value - Cost, knowledge maps, mediators, and job aids. The great accomplishments he left behind will continue to profit behavior analysis and performance improvement for a long, long time."
—Ogden Lindsley, Behavior Research Company

"Human Competence is probably the most borrowed and least returned book in my library. It's good to have it in print once more, so that I can keep replacing it, and rereading it for new insights from the original master of HPT."
—Rob Foshay, TRO Learning, Inc.

From the Publisher

Human Competence is a true classic that should be read and remain in the reference library of every performance improvement and human resources development professional. Thomas Gilbert is known as the "Father of Performance Technology" for good reason. His work, as documented in this book, pioneered the way in which we now approach performance improvement. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
By Robert Morris HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Note: The comments that follow discuss the "Tribute Edition" (2007) of a book first published in 1996, after its author's death. It is now widely viewed as a "classic" and should be.

Disclaimer: Although I re-read this book before beginning to compose this review, I do not claim to understand all of the material that Gilbert shares. I am by no means an expert, nor even a serious student of human engineering and performance technology, viewed as separate but related sciences.

As his brief bio provided by Amazon points out, Thomas F. Gilbert (1927-1995) was a psychologist often considered the founder of the field of performance technology, also known as Human Performance Technology (HPT). Gilbert himself coined and used the term "Performance Engineering." He applied his understanding of behavioral psychology to efforts to improve human performance at work and in school. He is best known for this book, Human Competence: Engineering Worthy Performance. Gilbert devised HPT when he realized that formal learning programs often only brought about a change in knowledge, not a change in behavior. (Years later, Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton characterized this as "The Knowing-Doing Gap.") Gilbert asserted that other techniques were needed to bring about a lasting change in behavior. He spent a year on a post-doctoral sabbatical working with the behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner at Harvard University and then with Ogden R. Lindsley in Lindsley's laboratory at Metropolitan State Hospital in Waltham, MA. In brief, that is his background.
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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leisure July 25 2001
By James A. McClure - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This unique perspective on human behavior provides a powerful and enjoyable set of tools to influence key issues at work. Thomas Gilbert provides a look at people that is based on empirical observations and the occurrence of functional relationships between our work behavior and that of others. It also takes into consideration the ecological variable effecting the execution of a business model and operationl.
He argues that competency is not a measure of knowledge, hardward, or dedication, it is a measure of worthy performance. Results that faciliate the acquisition of leisure or opportunity to pursue more meaningful or worthwhile activites are the best measure of competency.
This book will help any person at work who whats to succeed. It provides a perspective that will allow that person to improve their own an others performance at work. It will help any open minded person demonstrate their own competency.
It is excellent and profound.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How and why the behavior engineering model "is really an outline of a performance troubleshooting sequence" Jan. 30 2012
By Robert Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Note: The comments that follow discuss the "Tribute Edition" (2007) of a book first published in 1996, after its author's death. It is now widely viewed as a "classic" and should be.

Disclaimer: Although I re-read this book before beginning to compose this review, I do not claim to understand all of the material that Gilbert shares. I am by no means an expert, nor even a serious student of human engineering and performance technology, viewed as separate but related sciences.

As his brief bio provided by Amazon points out, Thomas F. Gilbert (1927-1995) was a psychologist often considered the founder of the field of performance technology, also known as Human Performance Technology (HPT). Gilbert himself coined and used the term "Performance Engineering." He applied his understanding of behavioral psychology to efforts to improve human performance at work and in school. He is best known for this book, Human Competence: Engineering Worthy Performance. Gilbert devised HPT when he realized that formal learning programs often only brought about a change in knowledge, not a change in behavior. (Years later, Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton characterized this as "The Knowing-Doing Gap.") Gilbert asserted that other techniques were needed to bring about a lasting change in behavior. He spent a year on a post-doctoral sabbatical working with the behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner at Harvard University and then with Ogden R. Lindsley in Lindsley's laboratory at Metropolitan State Hospital in Waltham, MA. In brief, that is his background.

The primary focus in Human Competence is on the behavior engineering model to which I refer in the title of this review, a model that -- Gilbert suggests, on Pages 91 and 93 -- "is really an outline of a performance troubleshooting sequence...merely a way to organize empirical data" That is, as he explains, "The system this book describes is based on three theorems summarizing my major assumptions about the nature of human competence [as opposed to human performance: `we often confuse behavior with performance. And that is the main problem of investigating human competence.']. I call them Leisurely Theorems using leisure as a synonym for human capital, which is the product of time and opportunity."

With meticulous care and uncommon clarity, Gilbert addresses business subjects, areas, and issues such as these:

o The nature and extent of "the great culture of behavior"
o And of its subcults (work, knowledge, and motivation)
o Worthy competence
o Measuring human competence
o The "performance matrix"
o Troubleshooting performance

Note: Gilbert observes that the performance matrix and the behavior engineering model are simplifications of the ways in which we view performance." He discusses all this in Chapters Four and Five which comprise Part Two, "Models of Performance Analysis."

o The correlations between information and competence
o Knowledge policy at work (Chapter Seven) and at school (Chapter Eight)
o Knowledge policies, strategies, and tactics

Note: Gilbert asserts, "Nowhere are the separate issues of policy, strategy, and tactics more readily confused than in education and training." Table 9-1 (on Page 254) does much to clarify several key issues of education and training insofar as policy, strategy, and tactics are concerned.

o Motivation and human capital
o Performance engineering in perspective (e.g. differentiating the behavioral and physical worlds)

Readers will appreciate Gilbert's provision of "An Application of Performance Engineering" as an Appendix. It is in the form of a case study of "Savory Snacks" during which Gilbert rigorously examines Policy Level Analysis (consolidated in Table A-3 on Page 359) and Strategy Level Analysis (Table A-6, Page 367). He includes a Schematic Knowledge Map (Table A-7, Page 368).

I am grateful, deeply grateful to Thomas Gilbert for all that I have learned from him about human engineering and performance technology, in general, and about his system for studying, measuring, and engineering human competence, in particular. He calls his system "teleonomics," combining the Greek words "nomos" (the laws) and "teleos" (the ends or objectives). Whatever he calls it, the system proposed certain would be a significant improvement over the haphazard, insufficient, and/or obsolete systems that many organizations now use...if indeed they use any system at all.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece May 9 2014
By Rustyduck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I knew Tom. I worked with him through a local chapter of ISPI in the early 90's. Though I am sure that Tom, if asked about me, would say, "WHO?" Spending time with Tom was a combination of inspiration, education, humility (you better have had a thick skin), energizing ... mixed with an outrageous and always inappropriate sense of humor. He told great stories delivered in colorful language. And he inspired my career. My job titles have typically included trainer or learning & development something, but I have always promoted myself as a performance improvement specialist. And this book has been my bible. Often I have found my advice ignored ... "What do you mean it's my (the manager) fault; you need to fix them (the workers)." But when someone would listen, sharing even the most basic of Tom's practical insights into what drives human performance have made me look like a genius. I always credit Tom ... there was only one Tom Gilbert and this is his masterpiece. My original copy is dog-eared and torn and highlighted and cherished ... though somehow I never even thought to have him sign it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Serious and analytic Dec 7 2013
By J. Lugo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
By far the best book on human performance. I highly recommend it. Gilbert is considered the father of this discipline. Easy to understand and apply in real work environments
4.0 out of 5 stars Teleonomics March 13 2013
By Tim Schwartz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was looking for the 1978 edition of the book to study the origins of the Behavior Engineering Model. I was pleased to find the explaination of the model easy to follow and simple to understand.
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