What is Human & Organizational Performance?

Human and organizational performance examines the confluence of systems and people. Systems are relatively static and constant. People are highly variable. These characteristics are really important to overall success. We need predictability and stability in our systems – we don’t want them to change all the time. But we also need variability in the people who operate the systems. People are great at making assessments and adjustments based on their current situations. The field of human and organizational performance attempts to optimize this interaction.

How Does Human & Organizational Performance Work?

The philosophy of human and organizational performance is based on five principles:
  1. People are Fallible: People are highly variable. This is usually a good trait – we need to be able to adapt to any given situation. But we don’t always make the right decisions or take the correct actions. We are subject to errors. It has been argued that error is essential to learning. But what about when the errors result in tragic outcomes?
  2. Error-Likely Situations are Predictable: Some situations are more at risk for errors than others. We can observe these situations before an error actually occurs. But we’ve got to look.
  3. All Human Actions are Influenced by Context: Our decisions and actions are shaped in large part by our situational context. That includes both the systemic context as well as the other people around us.
  4. Operational Upsets Can Be Avoided: Resistance is not futile! If we accept that people are fallible, that the situations in which they are likely to commit errors are predictable, and that all human actions are influenced by context, we can build resiliency into our systems.
  5. Our Response to Failure Matters: When things go wrong, how do we respond? Do we blame the adverse outcome on the error and/or the person who committed it? Or do we observe, learn, and improve our systems, thereby reducing the risk of a future failure?

What are the Primary Benefits of Human and Organizational Performance?

Whether you’re investigating an incident, trying to improve an existing process, or looking ahead to identify and manage risks, it’s extremely helpful to have a detailed understanding of human nature and how it influences, and is influenced by, the systems that people interact with. Ultimately we are trying to achieve our goals on time and on budget. Knowing what causes humans to be successful – or to fail – allows you to develop systems that help you stay on track to achieving your organizational goals.


Some practitioners see HOP as a stand-alone effort, superseding other forms of problem-solving such as root cause analysis or failure modes and effects analysis. But each of these methods/philosophies/tools compliments the others. When it comes to HOP/RCA/FMEA, it’s an “AND” relationship!

Does Sologic Use HOP?

The Sologic analytical methods (RCA, FMEA) are frameworks or models, but they require information to be effective. Knowing how and why people make decisions or take action allows us to have a more complete understanding of how systems and people interact. And when it comes to solutions or risk reduction, this knowledge critical to developing systems that allow maximize the upside to human variation while hedging against the downside.

Sologic conducts human and organizational training - contact us for more information.