Rummler and Broche's Nine Boxes Model
Geary Rummler and Alan Brache published the book, Improving Performance: How to Manage the White Space on the Organization Chart, which brought a systematic view of performance improvement over the entire organization (Rummler & Brache, 1995). The “white space” refers to the area between the boxes in an organizational chart, where the existing corporate culture often does not apply (Maletz & Nohria, 2001). The opportunity to improve an organization is frequently found in the whitespace of the organization chart. Rummler and Broche used the concept of human performance system (HPS), and developed the “Nine Boxes Model”. The Nine Boxes Model contains three level of performance: organization, process and people levels; and three performance needs: goals, design and management. The organizational level deals with the organization as a whole: its strategy, its overall goals and measures; the process level is where the main work of the organization take place; the people level is where individuals perform. The performance of the organization is determined by the performance of the processes, and the performance of the processes relies on the performance of the people. Understanding the impact of the human element on process and identifying what changes will be required to support process changes is important to Rummler and Broche’s model. Rummler and Broche use the human performance system (HPS) to describe the variables that influence the behavior of a person in a work system (Figure 1). For HPS, the performer is expected to produce some set of output, and for each output there is a set of input; for every output produced, there is a set of consequences, which are interpreted by the performer as either positive or negative; The performer’s interpretation of the consequences is likely to affect the performer’s future behavior (HPS is governed by the behavioral law that people’s behavior is affected by consequences, i.e. to repeat behaviors of positive consequences and to avoid behaviors of negative consequences).
The three levels of performance each has its own needs on goals, design and managements (Table 1). A fourteen-step approach has been developed to achieve the performance improvement in an organization through the three-level performance needs. The fourteen-step performance improvement process is broken into the five phases: project definition/plan, organizational improvement, process improvement, job improvement and implementation (Figure 2). The Nine Box Model provides a performance framework in performance improvement, especially for business process improvement and organizational improvement.