◦ Drives Remedies
◦ Influences Evaluations
◦ Underlies Conflict
If not done systematically and consciously, diagnosis will
still be done, but informally and automatically.
Required for correct and defensible diagnosis.
Observation doesn’t mean constant surveillance,
but it needs to be adequate.
◦ To be adequate, observation must occur across
Diagnosis and evaluation, even if correct, will be
suspect if based on inadequate observation.
Perceived as deficient
Perceived as taking action without the facts
Cube concept makes clear that
observations of each person (or team)
are needed on at least multiple tasks and
across more than one occasion.
Observation Cube Framework
Common approach to observation
◦ Passive step of data collection
◦ Should be an active and participative
component of performance management
◦ Use a record of performance observations
Eliminates memory fallibilities
Provides justification for your judgments &
CAUSES OF PERFORMANCE
Diagnosis requires more than observation:
the causes underlying the observed
performance must be determined.
Does the cause reside in the person or in the
◦ Factors external to the person
Person versus System Distinction
Seems conceptually simple, but can be
more difficult than it seems.
◦ Work environment is usually “noisy”
◦ It may be human nature to make causal
judgments automatically & subjectively
Correct & defensible causal judgment
requires systematic consideration of
patterns of performance observations.
Using cube framework:
◦ A person cause would be consistent
performance observations (at whatever level –
outstanding, average, or poor) across tasks and
◦ Consider exhibit 4.2 a-d
What can be determined about the
possible causes of performance?
◦ Point here is to determine underlying
causes, not just which workers are
performing at higher or lower levels.
Determining causes allows for meaningful
feedback & other actions
1. Consider Pam, a relatively low performer. Is the
cause a person factor – something about Pam? Or,
is the cause a system factor – maybe something
about the task being too difficult or ambiguous?
2. What about Joe?
3. What about Task 2?