The meaning and origin of Performance Management

Aubrey Daniels Archive

Performance Management has, over the years, developed into a colloquial term, typically used to refer to the human resource functions within an organization. As such, it can have different meaning to different people based on their association and history with the term and how it has been used within their work environment.

Its true origin came in the late 1970’s when Dr. Aubrey Daniels coined the phrase to simply describe a way of getting people to do what you want them to do and like it. As Dr. Daniels and his staff at Aubrey Daniels International know, the term describes the technology behind managing both behavior and results. Although it applies to any setting where people interact with one another, Performance Management is most often used in the workplace to bring out the best in people while creating a high level of value for the organization.

Performance Management

First published in 1982, Dr. Daniels’ book, Performance Management, (now in its 5th Edition) serves as an introduction and guide to understanding the principles of Performance Management. The book is read by managers and supervisors who apply the science and technology daily in real-world interactions with people in their organizations, as well as in many academic institutions for both undergraduate and graduate studies.

Contrary to historical beliefs, Performance Management is not about performance reviews, organizational hierarchy, or pats on the back. Rather, it is a scientific approach to managing behavior rooted in the field of behavior analysis. Its application is successful in a wide variety of industries and areas including financial services, pharmaceutical and biotech, customer service, manufacturing, sales, transportation, retail, and healthcare.


For a deeper understanding of its meaning and origin, read:

Article: What is Performance Management?

What is PM? An interview with Aubrey Daniels