A study of performance improvement factors in Afghan businesses

by Stull, Stephen H., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2015, 165 pages; 3716303


A central theme for the economic reconstruction of Afghanistan has been the development and growth of the legitimate business sector. The ability of business organizations to attract the essential funding, through investment or credit, is, in part, a function of their ability to understand the factors within the organization, which can generate improved performance. As part of the performance improvement process, cause analysis models and diagnostic instruments offer a systematic approach for identifying the causes of performance gaps. These models and instruments have been developed in the context of U.S. organizations, and their findings grounded in research studies, largely of U.S. businesses. Thomas Gilbert’s Behavior Engineering Model, first presented in 1978, remains a popular instrument for identifying factors impeding effective performance in the workplace and for offering a guide for performance improvement. Gilbert ranked six factors–data (information), instruments (resources), incentives, knowledge, capacity, and motives–in descending order, as having the greatest leverage for improving performance. The research question addressed in this study was if the ordering of potential improvement factors, as exhibited in Gilbert’s Behavior Engineering Model, was valid in a newly emerging, non-Western country, such as Afghanistan. This mixed methods research study explored the relevance of the Behavior Engineering Model, using a quantitative survey instrument followed by a group discussion of perceptions, in a leading commercial bank in Afghanistan. The study asked 159 employees to rank the importance of the six categories of the Behavior Engineering Model and then to rate the importance of 24 specific performance factors. The results suggested a different ranking of importance, indicating incentives as most important, but did affirm the relative importance of the environment support factors, controlled by management, for improving performance. This study supports the concerns that culture matters and the need to consider the unique environmental context in which a model is applied. This context includes economic as well as economic conditions. Further research of changes in perceptions during the economic business cycle as well as of the application of the Behavior Engineering Model and performance improvement methods in developing markets is recommended.

AdviserKevin Freer
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Organizational behavior
Publication Number3716303

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