A Theory of Individual Differences in Task and Contextual Performance

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This article describes a theory of job performance that assumes that job performance is behavioral, episodic, evaluative, and multidimensional. It defines job performance as the aggregated value to the organization of the discrete behavioral episodes that an individual performs over a standard interval of time. It uses the distinction between task and contextual performance to begin to identify and define underlying dimen- sions of the behavioral episodes that make up the performance domain. The theory predicts that individual differences in personality and cognitive ability variables, in combination with learning experiences, lead to variability in knowledge, skills, and work habits that mediate effects of personality and cognitive ability on job perform- ance. An especially important aspect of this theory is that it predicts that the kinds of knowledge, skills, work habits, and traits that are associated with task performance are different from the kinds that are associated with contextual performance.

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Human Performance, v. 10, issue 2, p. 71-83.