The Autonomous Performer

I have written a paper titled "The Autonomous Performer." In it emphasis is
laid upon the fact that people (knowingly or unknowingly) are controlling
their perceptual inputs. It presents a model in which people behave so as
to create effects that are consistent with internally-held reference
conditions. Sound like PCT? It should. I was greatly influenced along
about 1975 by William Powers' book "Behavior: The Control of Perception."

As a consequence of my paper (or in response to it, or as a result of
writing it, or in relation to other people's perceptions of it, or whatever
you wish), I have been invited to address the corporate university of a
major high-tech company. What they want to know is how might my model of the
autonomous performer be applied in their work. Their work, if I guess
correctly, focuses on how to manage/influence/shape/guide other people's
behavior in pursuit of results/effects/outcomes sought and/or valued by
influential members of the company/organization/institution of which they
are members.

I can explain PCT in terms of driving down the highway, and perhaps some
other simple-minded examples which I've yet to produce; however, I have not
yet constructed an example that explains job/task performance in PCT terms.
If memory serves, B:CP contains such examples; unfortunately, I can't find
my darn copy of the book.

Does anyone else have some ready examples I can beg, borrow, or steal? (I
will be eternally grateful; more important, I will send busines someone's way.)


Fred Nickols

An article of mine has been accepted for publication in Performance Improvement, the journal of the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) and will appear in the February 2009 issue. It's titled "The Autonomous Performer" and it contains an explication of the GAP-ACT model which is my simplified view of PCT as applied to human performance.

A copy is attached. If you have trouble with the attachment, you can find the article at the following link:

autonomy.pdf (218 KB)



Fred Nickols
Managing Partner
Distance Consulting Company, LLC

"Assistance at A Distance"