When organizations meet the expectations of the people every one benefits i.e. owners, employees, customers and local communities in which they operate. Then they are considered effective. However, when they exceed the minimum standards of effectiveness they may be considered to have achieved excellence.

Over time excellence brings reputation - that is when an organization is regarded and recognized for superior performance. To achieve excellence an organization must be productive and be able to transform inputs into outputs at minimum cost. Individual behaviour in organizations is jointly determined by two factors - the characteristics of the perceived environment and the characteristics of the individual.

When questions about organizational output and productivity are analyzed from the standpoint of individual employees the importance of good job performance becomes apparent. Without superior performance at all levels of the organization, the objective of attaining goals and thereby achieving productivity becomes very difficult. Any organization will be able to successfully meet its objectives, only when individual employees are able to meet their personal goals. Thus, it becomes important to identify the factors responsible for individual performance which has repercussions for organizational productivity and excellence in the long run.

Factors Influencing Productivity and Excellence

The important factors which influence an individual’s performance and thereby productivity are:

1. Abilities, Aptitudes and Interests

Ability, aptitude and interest represent those individual characteristics that largely determine an employees capacity to contribute to an organization. These attributes are relatively stable over time, though some changes are possible through training. Concern here is not so much with a detailed examination of the range of human attributes and their measurement but rather with the implications of variations in such attributes as they affect productivity and excellence in organizational settings.

Employee’s abilities can affect productivity and performance in many ways. For instance managerial success has been shown to be closely related to the level of one’s intellectual capacities (for e.g. verbal comprehension, reasoning ability and memory). In fact, it has been suggested that at higher levels in the organizational hierarchy intellectual abilities are important for managerial performance. This would entail selecting and recruiting employees with appropriate abilities and offering jobs which are sufficiently challenging.

Hiring employees of superior intellectual capacities and then placing them on a dull and routine job would shift their performance and have an impact on productivity. Additionally productivity is also dependent on the appropriate match of the personality traits and interests of a person with the right job profile.

2. Role Clarity

The degree to which an individual understands the job requirements and work objectives the more energy will be at the disposal of goal directed activities. Moreover, role clarity is related to increased goal commitment, involvement and productivity. These are two role related problems which can serve to diminish productivity. In the long run they are:

  1. Role ambiguity
  2. Role conflict

Role ambiguity exists where individual is confronted with two sets of role demands that are incompatible. For instance an employee’s supervisor may ask to increase the number of goods produced, but the coworkers may be emphasizing the need to maintain the number of items produced at the current level. This has a direct impact on organizational productivity to the extent that the goal related role prescriptions of the employee come in conflict with other demands. Thus organizations which attempt to integrate personal or group goals with organizational objectives help to satisfy both sets of demands and alleviate conflicts.

3. The Performance Environment

In order to increase productivity at work it is important for managers to understand the nature of the performance environment where goal directed activities take place, and to be able to modify this environment where needed. This would ensure a more suitable atmosphere for employee effort, performance and ultimately productivity and excellence.