Document Type Doctoral Thesis Author Rademeyer, Anerie URN etd-04012009-231223 Document Title The development of a root cause analysis process for variations in human performance Degree PhD Department Human Resource Management Supervisor
Advisor Name Title Dr C H Kepner Co-Supervisor Prof Y du Plessis Supervisor Keywords
- performance improvement
- performance deviations
- performance management model
- solving human performance problems
- human performance technology
- performance variations
- human performance enhancement
- problem-solving process
- root cause analysis
- performance problem-solving
- performance management
- performance analysis
Date 2009-04-21 Availability unrestricted AbstractProblem-solving ability is now the most sought-after trait in up-and-coming executives, according to a survey of 1 000 executives conducted by Caliper Associates, reported in the Wall Street Journal by Hal Lancaster (Hoenig, 2002:338). This trait would include the ability to solve human performance problems, something many people tend to steer clear of.
According to Piskurich (2002:57-58) and Rothwell, Hohne and King (2000:67-71), the most common problem-solving tools that are used when solving human performance problems are brainstorming, cause-and-effect analysis, and the five why’s technique. Although techniques such as these have proven to be robust and useful, what is required to solve human performance problems is a logical and verifiable process that can establish a data point about which relevant information can be recognized and gathered, and against which the conclusion can be evaluated, to have confirmed knowledge of the root cause of the problems. Unfortunately, existing root cause analysis processes tend to focus on processes and systems, rather than on individual performance (Bowling, 2003).
The main objective of this study was to develop a root cause analysis process that would uncover the root cause(s) of uncontrolled variation(s) in human performance and prevent the recurrence of events causing the variation. In addition to addressing individual human performance incidents, it is also necessary continually to manage people’s performance to detect and address any occurrences (or recurrences) of performance variations. Therefore, in addition to the main objective, the study also aimed to develop a Human Performance Management Model that incorporated the root cause analysis process as a problem-solving tool.
Action research was used in this study, because of the cyclical iterative nature of this type of research, and because it is a rigorous, responsive and flexible process. The study consisted of three cycles. The end result was a structured root cause analysis process – the Human Performance Variation Analysis (HPVA) process – that enables the systematic collection of valid and reliable information, as is required to solve variation in human performance. The HPVA process is a three-part process that consists of 11 steps. The process is in turn a tool that forms part of a ten-step Human Performance Management Model.
The study contributes to the body of knowledge on human performance management by presenting the following:
• a systematic root cause analysis process that uncovers the root causes of human performance problems effectively and consistently and that controls these causes of problems in a way that prevents the problems from recurring; and
• a Human Performance Management Model that will help to sustain the new, improved performance; prevent the same or similar performance problem(s) in other areas of the organisation; and ultimately, create an environment and culture of continuous human performance improvement.
© University of Pretoria 2008
Please cite as follows:
Rademeyer, A 2008, The development of a root cause analysis process for variations in human performance, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-04012009-231223/>
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