4 Key Elements of the GAP-ACT MODEL


Exceptional Performance in the workplace is governed by two crucial factors: Individuals actions and their effects.

Superior Human Performance, according to the Handbook of Human Performance Technology, is founded on Behaviors and their outcomes.  Typically, our activities have consequences for other individuals, information, objects, and "systems" (e.g., workflows, processes, practices, etc.).

Keith Stanovich devised the GAP-ACT Model, a cognitive-behavioral therapy paradigm, to analyze human thinking patterns, arousals, and Behaviors.  The notion investigates the relationship between Human Behavior and Performance.  The model emphasizes that humans govern their perceptions of specific environmental variables by their Behaviors.

GAP-ACT is a combination of the GAP and ACT frameworks. According to the GAP Model, a problem with Performance is a disparity between actual and desired conditions or situations.  The "G" in GAP represents "Intended Goals." The letter "P" represents the "Perceived Actual Condition." The contact point between "G" and "P" (the black dot) represents the variance between the two conditions.  The letter "A" corresponds to individuals’ "Actions."

Similarly, the ACT Model includes the letter "T," which represents the "Targeted Variables" that we want to change or control and for which we establish objectives. The letter "A" represents "Actions or Activities," while the letter "C" represents "other puzzling conditions or circumstances."

The GAP-ACT Model considers individuals to be "living control systems." As living control systems, we have objectives that describe the desired circumstances of certain variables surrounding or connected to us, and we form opinions about these variables based on our perceptions of them. Our views determine our "Actual Conditions."

To control a variable in a state it is not presently in, it is necessary to align our perception of this variable with our intended or ideal condition for it. Yet other elements, such as the environment and the actions of people, influence our conduct.  The bulk of the time, our control is weak and easily disrupted by difficult circumstances.  Depending on how they impact us, the behaviors and attitudes of others may either increase or decrease their effectiveness.  Our actions may impede the attempts of others to govern public opinion.

Individuals must control and take responsibility for their own Behaviors and Performance, according to the GAP-ACT Model. Yet, managers are liable for the performance of others. The objective of management in the GAP-ACT Model is to direct organizational energy into productive areas.

Managers are accountable for establishing objectives, allocating resources, choosing priorities, evaluating progress, and guiding the actions of others.

Managers often disagree with or come into conflict with their direct reports while attempting to influence the Behavior of others and its consequences on the desired objectives. Managers may concentrate on the 4 key "Avenues of Influence" of the GAP-ACT Model to favorably affect team Performance by influencing the Behaviors and perceptions of individuals.

  1. Influencing Goals
  2. Influencing Perceptions
  3. Influencing Actions
  4. Influencing Circumstances


These Avenues of Influence promote Problem-solving and rational Decision-making.

Let's investigate some of these Avenues of Influence in further detail.

Influencing Goals

The first Avenue of Influence focuses on the support of management in making employees aware of the organization's objectives and defining attainable and quantifiable Performance goals.

The communication of management's expectations is inadequate to motivate staff to reach their objectives. This makes the team members think that management has a comprehensive understanding of the desired outcomes. Yet in the majority of businesses today, workers choose and set their own objectives.

Managers should support individual performers in setting Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound (SMART) objectives in this situation.  In addition, they must eliminate any barriers that might impede team members from setting SMART objectives.

Influencing Perceptions

The succeeding Area of Influence focuses on influencing the perspectives of employees in an effort to boost Performance.

Interested in learning more about the other Avenues of Influence of the GAP-ACT Model? You can download an editable PowerPoint presentation on GAP-ACT Model here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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