Refocusing important on and off the court, says recent study.

Feb 12, 2013

(Phys.org)—If an employee's performance drops in one area, does that mean they're slacking off?

It could mean that they've simply shifted and refocused their efforts on a different set of tasks—a positive sign of that should be considered in performance evaluations, says a study lead by a researcher at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management.

The study, published in Human Performance, draws on statistics from professional basketball players for its data and conclusions. Researchers assessed data on more than 700 members of the NBA to see how players shifted their focus on different on-court skills and tasks over several years. A player displaying high performance scoring baskets in one season might show a shift in focus towards rebounding missed shots in another season. That could be because they were responding to a shift in their team's needs and/or a change in their coach's instructions.

Researchers found that about 10 percent of players refocused their efforts over time and were more likely to play again for the league in the next season. The findings support the idea that refocusing among job tasks is an important component of employee adaptability and should be a part of overall performance assessments. As well, they suggest that adaptability is linked to staff retention.

"Our paper is drawing attention to the measurement of performance, that refocusing is something that's important in the workplace, exists in the workplace, and for organizations to think about It as part of the job, " says Prof. Maria Rotundo of the Rotman School.

Prof. Rotundo acknowledges there are differences between and most workplaces.

But "there are parallels," too, she says, including the fact that NBA athletes are focused on a goal and must work together as a team to achieve it as they confront the different opponents. In the same way, employees in a company must work together to face market competitors and achieve their company's goals. And just like basketball players who go through changes in their team's make-up, many workplace staff must adapt to changes brought on by restructuring or the adoption of new technologies, requiring a refocus in their job's tasks.

"From a measurement perspective it's a fascinating area because the NBA ' is tracked meticulously. There's a wealth of data there," says Prof. Rotundo, who co-wrote the study with Prof. Paul Sackett of the University of Minnesota, Prof. Janelle Enns of the University of Lethbridge, and Prof. Sara Mann of the University of Guelph.

Explore further: Couples need just one conversation to decide not to have children

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

It's not what you do, it's the way that you do it

Jul 01, 2011

Scientists have shown that soccer players with superior ability in areas such as passing accuracy or sprint speed do not necessarily achieve better overall performance on the pitch.

Recommended for you

Residents of 'boom time' suburbs face unsustainable commutes

17 hours ago

People living in the 'boom time' suburbs of Dublin are more likely to endure unsustainable commutes to work than those living in older accommodation. Research shows that people living in newly constructed housing in the Greater ...

Male-biased tweeting

Apr 23, 2014

Today women take an active part in public life. Without a doubt, they also converse with other women. In fact, they even talk to each other about other things besides men. As banal as it sounds, this is far ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Genetic code of the deadly tsetse fly unraveled

Mining the genome of the disease-transmitting tsetse fly, researchers have revealed the genetic adaptions that allow it to have such unique biology and transmit disease to both humans and animals.

Ocean microbes display remarkable genetic diversity

The smallest, most abundant marine microbe, Prochlorococcus, is a photosynthetic bacteria species essential to the marine ecosystem. An estimated billion billion billion of the single-cell creatures live i ...