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A review and reappraisal of electronic performance monitoring, performance standards and stress allowances.

Schleifer LM; Shell RL
Appl Ergon 1992 Feb; 23(1):49-53
Establishing standards for electronic performance monitoring (EPM) was discussed. The characteristics of EPM were discussed. EPM has been used to monitor keystroke production and error rates in word processing and data entry tasks and to determine how long it takes customer service operators, airlines reservation clerks, and directory assistance operators to assist customers and measure the amount of time between calls. A major goal of EPM is to compare actual employee performance with predetermined standards and to administer incentive pay programs based on these standards. The link between EPM, performance standards, and stress was discussed. The fairness of performance standards was considered to be an important factor in determining whether EPM will be stressful. Stress was most likely to occur among workers who had difficulty meeting performance standards. Methods used for establishing performance standards were discussed. These included judgment estimation, work measurement based methods, and measurement time estimation. Employees who experience consistent difficulty in meeting performance standards that were enforced by EPM were likely to develop stress as a result of work overload, negative supervisor or computer feedback, and threat of job loss if they fail to meet the standard. EPM and stress allowances were discussed. A stress allowance was a technique for adjusting performance standards to minimize the effects of psychological and physiological stress caused by performing mental tasks in an electronic work environment. A stress allowance was proposed as a means of adjusting EPM work standards to optimize workload demands so as to enhance the workers ability to adapt to the increased workload.
NIOSH-Author; Computers; Work-performance; Data-processing; Job-stress; Ergonomics; Occupational-health; Job-analysis
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Fiscal Year
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NIOSH Division
Source Name
Applied Ergonomics
Page last reviewed: September 22, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division