Published Online:

Existing theory fails to provide strong and consistent prediction of individual job performance. This paper argues that the failure stems from a neglect of an important dimension of performance—the opportunity to perform—and the interaction of opportunity with known correlates of performance. A three dimensional interactive model of work performance is proposed; suggestions for future research and for managerial practice are offered.


  • Aldag R. J. , Brief A. P. Task design and employee motivation. Glenview, Ill.: Scott, Forseman, 1979. Google Scholar
  • Allport F. H. Social psychology. Cambridge, Mass.: Riverside, 1924. Google Scholar
  • Bandura A. Behavior theory and the models of man. American Psychologist, 1974, 29, 859–869. Google Scholar
  • Bandura A. Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, 1977. Google Scholar
  • Blumberg M. Job switching in autonomous work groups: A descriptive and exploratory study in an underground coal mine. Palo Alto, Cal.: R & E Research Associates, 1978. Google Scholar
  • Blumberg M. Job switching in autonomous work groups: An exploratory study in a Pennsylvania coal mine. Academy of Management Journal, 1980, 23, 287–306.LinkGoogle Scholar
  • Campbell J. P. , Pritchard R. D. Motivation theory in industrial and organizational psychology. In Dunnette M. D. (Ed.), Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology. Chicago: Rand McNally, 1976. Google Scholar
  • Coch L. , French J. R. P.. Overcoming resistance to change. Human Relations, 1948, 1, 512–532. Google Scholar
  • Cummings L. L. , Schwab D. P. Performance in organizations: Determinants and appraisal. Glenview, Ill.: Scott, Foresman, 1973. Google Scholar
  • Dachler H. P. , Mobley W. H. Construct validation of an in-strumentability-expectancy-task-goal model of work motivation: Some theoretical boundary conditions. Journal of Applied Psychology Monograph. 1973, 58, 397–418. Google Scholar
  • Davis J. H. Group performance. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1969. Google Scholar
  • Fiedler F. E. A theory of leadership effectiveness. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967. Google Scholar
  • Gardner H. Prodigies' progress. Psychology Today, May 1981, 15, 75–79. Google Scholar
  • Ghiselli E. The validity of occupational aptitude tests. New York: Wiley. 1966. Google Scholar
  • Gilbreth F. B. Bricklaying system. New York: Myron C. Clark Publishing, 1909. Google Scholar
  • Greene C. N. , Craft R. E. The satisfaction-performance controversy—Revisited. In Steers R. MPorter L. W. (Eds.), Motivation and work behavior. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979. Google Scholar
  • Hackman J. R. , Oldham G. R. Motivation through the design of work: Test of a theory. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 1976, 16, 250–279. Google Scholar
  • Landy F. J. , Trumbo D. A. Psychology of work behavior. 2nd ed. Homewood, Ill.: Dorsey, 1980. Google Scholar
  • Lorsch J. W. , Morse J. J. Organizations and their members: A contingency approach. New York: Harper & Row, 1974. Google Scholar
  • Mace C. A. Incentives: Some experimental studies. Industrial Health Research Board Report No. 72. London: H. M. Stationary Office, 1935. Google Scholar
  • Maier N. R. F. Psychology in industry. 2nd ed. Boston: Hough-ton-Mifflin, 1955. Google Scholar
  • Marrow A. J. , Bowers D. G. , Seashore S. E. Management by participation. New York: Harper & Row, 1967. Google Scholar
  • McGrath J. E. , Altman 1. Small group research: A synthesis and critique of the field. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1966. Google Scholar
  • Miller D. W. , Starr M. K. Executive decisions and operations research. 2nd ed. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, 1969. Google Scholar
  • Miner J. B. Theories of organizational behavior. Hinsdale, Ill.: Dryden, 1980. Google Scholar
  • Perrow C. Complex organizations: A critical essay. 2nd ed. Glenview, Ill.: Scott, Foresman, 1979. Google Scholar
  • Perry R. W. , Gillespie D. F. , Lotz R. E. Attitudinal variables as estimates of behavior: A theoretical examination of the attitude-action controversy. European Journal of Psychology, 1976, 6, 227–243. Google Scholar
  • Peters L. H. , O'Connor E. J. Situational constraints and work outcomes: The influences of a frequently overlooked construct. Academy of Management Review, 1980, 5, 391–397.AbstractGoogle Scholar
  • Porter L. W. , Lawler E. E. Managerial attitudes and performance. Homewood, Ill.: Irwin, 1968. Google Scholar
  • Schein E. H. Organizational psychology. 3rd ed. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, 1980. Google Scholar
  • Schwab D. P. , Cummings L. L. Theories of performance and satisfaction: A review. Industrial Relations, 1970, 9, 408–430. Google Scholar
  • Sherif M. , Sherif C. W. Social psychology. New York: Harper & Row, 1969. Google Scholar
  • Sutermeister R. A. People and productivity. 3rd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1976. Google Scholar
  • Taylor D. T. Decision making and problem solving. In March J. G. (Ed.), Handbook of organizations. Chicago: Rand McNally, l965. Google Scholar
  • Taylor F. W. Testimony before the special house committee. In Taylor F. W. Scientific management. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1947. Google Scholar
  • Trist E. L. , Susman G. I. , Brown G. R. An experiment in autonomous working in an American underground coal mine. Human Relations, 1977, 30, 201–236. Google Scholar
  • Viteles M. S. Motivation and morale in industry. New York: Norton, 1953. Google Scholar
  • Vroom V. Work and motivation. New York: Wiley, 1964. Google Scholar
  • Vroom V. , Yetton P. W. Leadership and decision making. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1973. Google Scholar
  • Wicker A. W. An examination of the “other variables” explanation of attitude-behavior inconsistency. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1971, 19, 18–30. Google Scholar
Academy of Management
  Academy of Management
  555 Pleasantville Road, Suite N200
  Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510-8020, USA
  Phone: +1 (914) 326-1800
  Fax: +1 (914) 326-1900