– Cartoon strip by Guy W. Wallace, from: Lessons in Making Lemonade.

This site is intended to promote HPT as it was defined by a multi-year ISPI Presidential Task Force that completed its initial work in 2004.


Definition of HPT – Human Performance Technology:

Human Performance Technology

– An integrated systems approach to improving human performance.

Criteria to Judge applications of HPT:

  1. Is focused on valuable, measured results; 
  2. Considers the larger system context of people’s performance;
  3. Provides valid and reliable measures of the effectiveness of those applications

Clearly describes applications grounded in prior research or empirical evidence (or are not discouraged by either one) so that they may be replicated under the conditions and by the means for which they were recommended*

*When stated this way, intuition and respected practice are permitted and encouraged (provided they meet the first three criteria) without scientific evidence provided that there is no research evidence that it may not work under the conditions or by the means where it is being recommended.
Our definition of human performance is: “those valued results produced by people working within a system.”Assumptions:

  1. A technology is a set of empirical and scientific principles and their application
  2. Human performance technology is the technology concerned with all variables which impact human performance
  3. All organizational processes and practices impact the production of valued results, whether positively or negatively and whether those results go measured or unmeasured, acknowledged or not.  (Everything that an organization does affects what it accomplishes, whether or not the results are acknowledged or desirable.)
  4. The purpose of all organizations is the same: to create value for their stakeholders; this is accomplished by aligning all processes, practices, and resources to maximize the production of that value.
  5. We collaborate with and value the expertise of other disciplines; human performance technology becomes the integrator and multiplier.

The purpose of the Presidential Initiative Task Force was to establish a framework to help clarify what HPT is and is not. The Task Forces used the model proposed by Geary A. Rummler in his article published in October 1983 in the P&I Journal titled:

“Technology Domains and NSPI:

A Proposed Framework for Organizing the Professional Content of NSPI”

and as the “starting point” for its deliberations.

This Presidential Initiative Task Force a four-phase effort to define HPT with enough clarity so that the society (ISPI) can better market both HPT and ISPI as the source for all-things HPT.

The Board authorized the formation of the Task Force as part of a four-phase Presidential Initiative led by Guy Wallace, the ISPI President.

Phase 1 – Republish Geary Rummler’s October 1983 article on a Human Performance Technology Framework.

Phase 2 – Publish a special issue of P&I with papers from 15 of 25 invited members responding to questions designed to clarify HPT.

– Phase 3 – Society-wide dialog conducted on the society’s web site.

Phase 4 – Assemble a Task Force to take all the inputs from the first three phases and prepare a new definition and framework for HPT.

The Task Force was formed by first assembling a Core Team at the 2003 Conference in April.  The main task of the Core Team was to nominate and recruit the remaining members of the Task Force.  The selection was intended to provide a suitable mix of old guard, new guard, and rising stars; in-house, academics, and consultants; and to get representation from the international community.  The Core Team included the following 9 individuals of the 12 originally asked – and we unfortunately ended up with an all male group – which was resolved in the 2nd team assembled. The Core Team:

-Roger Addison

-Rick Battaglia

-Richard Clark

-Roger Kaufman

-Geary Rummler

-Ray Svenson (Facilitator)

-John Swinney (Chair)

-Don Tosti

-Guy Wallace (Board Sponsor)

Task Force members were asked to commit to background reading, participation in two four-hour conference calls, and a three-day “Think Tank” meeting.  Task Force members were asked to contribute their own time and expenses without reimbursement.

This Task Force ultimately included the following 21 participants of the 28 originally invited participants:

-Roger Addison

-John Amarant

-Rick Battaglia

-Carl Binder

-Dale Brethower

-Michael Cassidy

-Richard Clark

-Timm Esque

-Jeanne Farrington

-Ingrid Guerra

-Doug Leigh

-Karen Medsker

-Jim Pershing

-Geary Rummler

-Marilyn Spatz

-Ray Svenson (Facilitator)

-John Swinney (Chair)

-Don Tosti

-Guy Wallace (Board Sponsor)

-Charline Wells

-Klaus Wittkuhn

7 Professional Communities were established for 5 Areas of HPT Practice:

1- Management of Organizational Performance

2- Organizational Design/Alignment

3- Process Improvement

4- Analysis, Evaluation, Measurement

5- Motivation, Incentives & Feedback

6- Instructional Systems

7- Science of HPT: Foundations

Note: The 1st and 7th “ProComm” groups were seen as deliberately overlapping the 5 “Technology Domains” that comprise HPT – resulting from this effort.

HPT Professional Communities

HPT Professional Communities were proposed as groupings of practitioners around content and applications that meet the following criteria:

  1. There is an organized body of knowledge and practice.
  2. The needs of a significant number of ISPI members or potential members are met.

End Results

Unfortunately ISPI’s staff leadership at the time (2004) was not totally supportive of the initiative nor the Professional Communities – and with little substantive support or resources – the ProComm effort was eventually folded, and the only utility from the outcomes of the effort were the naming of conference tracks using this segmentation scheme.

This site is intended to house the original documentation from that Presidential Initiative.

Final Report to the Board PDF

Task Force Final Report March 31-2004

This site was created July 5th, 2010.

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