Synthesizing Soft Systems Methodology and Human Performance Technology

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Human performance technology (HPT), like other concepts, models, and frameworks that we use to describe the world in which we live and the way we organize ourselves to accomplish valuable activities, is built from paradigms that were fresh and relevant at the time it was conceived and from the fields of study from which it grew. However, when the frameworks used by practitioners grow out of similar paradigms, important things can be missed when designing solutions in performance environments simply because of their practical limitations and exclusion of issues that may warrant our attention. This article looks at the paradigms most commonly used to explain performance environments, both within HPT and by those from other fields. From this a synthesized approach to solving perceived problems in performance environments is provided that introduces Soft Systems Methodology to the HPT practitioner, an approach built on premises very different from those commonly utilized in HPT frameworks.