Job performance represents behaviors employees engage in while at work which contribute to organizational goals. These behaviors are formally evaluated by an organization as part of an employee’s responsibilities. In order to understand and ultimately predict job performance, it is important to be precise when defining the term. Job performance is about behaviors that are within the control of the employee and not about results (effectiveness), the costs involved in achieving results (productivity), the results that can be achieved in a period of time (efficiency), or the value an organization places on a given level of performance, effectiveness, productivity, or efficiency (utility).
To model job performance, researchers have attempted to define a set of dimensions that are common to all jobs. Using a common set of dimensions provides a consistent basis for assessing performance and enables the comparison of performance across jobs. While there is disagreement about the exact dimensions of job performance, there is agreement on two major categories of job performance: in-role (technical aspects of a job) and extra-role (non-technical abilities such as communication skills and being a good team member).
To assess job performance, reliable and valid measures must be established. The most commonly used measures are ratings of employee performance on specific tasks and on overall job performance. While there are many sources of error with performance ratings, error can be reduced through rater training and through the use of behaviorally anchored ratings scales. Such scales can be used to clearly define the behaviors that constitute poor, average, and superior performance. Additional factors that complicate the measurement of job performance include the instability of job performance over time and the restriction of variation in individual performance by organizational forces.
The determinants of job performance consist of factors having to do with the individual worker as well as environmental factors in the workplace. According to Campbell’s Model of The Determinants of Job Performance., job performance is a result of the interaction between declarative knowledge (knowledge of facts or things), procedural knowledge (knowledge of what needs to be done and how to do it), and motivation (reflective of an employee’s choices regarding whether to expend effort, the level of effort to expend, and whether to persist with the level of effort chosen). Regardless of the job, three determinants stand out as predictors of performance: (1) general mental ability (especially for jobs higher in complexity), (2) job experience (although there is a law of diminishing returns), and (3) the personality trait of conscientiousness (people who are dependable and achievement oriented, who plan well). These determinants appear to influence performance largely through the acquisition and usage of job knowledge and the motivation to do well.