Explain and give examples of behavior, output and input controls.

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Behavior, output and input controls are managerial means of controlling job requirements and expectations and end results in terms of company objectives and production targets. Effectiveness of these controls is evaluated through standards and performance evaluations such as the Key Performance Indicators evaluation, the KPI.

Behavior controls are specific to jobs to be done and delimit processes required for job performance. Behavior controls begin with basics of where and when to work and how to do the job. These delimiting directions provide basic behavior controls. As jobs get more complex, behavior controls get correspondingly complex to identify detailed steps and processes for job performance, such as tools to use and training to undergo. As an example, behavior controls for a receptionist at a television station would include how to track the comings and goings of key personnel; what kinds of questions and calls to send to which departments; how to operate a complex communication system; what exactly to say when answering each call and exactly how long to leave each call on hold.

Output controls describe the desired end result of production attained through behaviors. The descriptors are in terms of "objectives, targets and milestones" (Grashaw) to be attained throughout the job process. Some output controls are customer satisfaction levels, profit objectives, and sales quotas. An example of output controls would be Borders Bookstore Rewards Card Program (although Borders in now defunct) that described an end result in terms of employee membership enrollment quotas.

Input controls regulate input of resources and are described on most job fulfillment requests. Input controls focus on acquisition of resources and define qualities such as "skills, abilities, values and motivators" (Grashaw). Input controls identify difficult-to-measure resource inputs directed toward end results, attained through behavior and performance. Some examples of input controls are job requirements such as education level (e.g., high school diploma versus master's degree), years of experience in similar work, languages spoken, writing and communication skill level.

Strategic Management & Business Policy, "What are some examples of behavior controls, output controls, input controls?" Kurt Grashaw, MBA, 2011. [Amazon.com]

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Human resource management control systems include behavior, input and output controls. Input controls should ensure that the right people are hired for the right job; behavioral controls should ensure that employees always strive to improve their ongoing behavior based on feedback they receive and output controls encourage employees to be aware of the objectives and keep striving to maximize them.  

Input controls go some way to avoiding the unexpected. Behavior controls have the benefit of encouraging conformity and can be adjusted, improved and managed in real time. Output controls can only be measured for their effect after - not during - their implementation but combining all three controls goes a long way towards creating a perfect fit in an organization. Such methods of control allow for matters of strategic importance to retain their importance. Control systems create standards which can be striven for, achieved, measured and adapted.  

It is assumed that managers will always do what is considered to be in the best interests of the company. However, for them to do this, they need to have a firm understanding of the organization, its human resource component, which practices do actually work in the company's environment and which required behaviors will drive the company forward. Having behavior, input and output controls allows management to restrict undesirable behavior and to create an environment which is consistent and within which everyone knows their own role. 

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Behavior controls are necessary for ensuring appropriate behavior from employees. They encourage behavior that will ensure that goals are met. These act as control systems that allow the managers to shape and motivate employee behavior. Some examples of behavior control are standard operating procedures, project plans, periodic meetings, work assignments, post-implementation reviews, direct supervision, project status reporting,etc.

Output controls emphasize targets and enable managers to use processes or means to achieve these targets. These allow flexibility and encourage creativity within the organization. Some examples of output controls are project objectives, project goals, schedules, budgets, functional requirements, testing specifications, contractual agreements, etc.

Input controls deal with resources and include motives, skill levels, abilities, etc. Some examples of input controls are direction setting, selecting criteria for recruitment, appraising criteria setting, promotion, etc. 

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One example of behavior, input and output controls is Standards of Performance (KPI) evaluations. This evaluation identifies and measures how expectations in performance (behavior) relates to or misses corporate objectives along with measuring peformance at specified times (e.g., during various factory shifts).

When a deviation is found through statistical analysis, error mode and corrective person are identified:

  • deviation in behavior through chance events
  • deviation in behavior through incorrect execution of task
  • deviation in behavior through incorrect process

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