4 Avenues of Influence of the GAP-ACT Model

Mark Bridges
4 min readMar 30, 2023

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Success in the workplace is determined by two important factors: Behaviors and consequences of Behaviors.

According to the Handbook of Human Performance Technology, exceptional Human Performance is grounded on Behaviors and their results. Normally, our actions have an effect on other people, information, things, and “systems” (e.g., workflows, processes, practices, etc.).

The GAP-ACT Model is a cognitive-behavioral treatment paradigm, designed by Keith Stanovich to examine human thought patterns, arousals, and actions. The concept examines Human Behavior in connection to Performance and highlights that individuals regulate their perceptions of certain elements of their environment by their actions.

The GAP-ACT model is a fusion of the GAP and ACT models. According to the GAP Model, an issue with Performance is a difference between actual and intended circumstances or conditions. The “G” in GAP stands for “Desired Goal.” The letter “P” stands for “Perceived Actual Condition.” The point of contact between “G” and “P” (the black dot) depicts the gap that must be traversed between the two. The letter “A” denotes “Actions.”

The ACT Model, likewise, comprises of letter “T,” which denotes the “Targeted Variables” that we strive to modify or control and for which we set goals. The letter “A” stands for “Actions or Activities,” while the letter “C” stands for “other confusing situations or circumstances” at play.

The GAP-ACT Model views human beings as “living control systems.” Being living control systems, we have goals that specify the intended conditions of particular variables surrounding or related with us. We generate an opinion on these factors based on our perception of them. Our perceptions establish “Actual Circumstances” for us.

In order to control a variable in a state that it is not currently in, we must match our perception of this variable with our desired or ideal state for it. But, our behaviors are impacted by other factors, such as the environment and the acts of others. The majority of the time, our control is weak and susceptible to disruption from perplexing situations. Depending on how they influence us, the actions and attitudes of others might make them more or less effective. Our actions may hinder the perception management efforts of others.

According to the GAP-ACT Model, individuals must control and accept responsibility for their own Behaviors and Performance. Yet, managers are accountable for the Performance of others. In the GAP-ACT Model, the purpose of management is to steer organizational energy toward productive areas.

Managers are responsible for setting goals, allocating resources, selecting priorities, assessing progress, and directing the activities of others.

In the process of influencing the conduct of others and its effects on the intended goals, managers often disagree with or come into conflict with their direct reports. Managers may focus on the 4 primary “Avenues of Influence” of the GAP-ACT Model to influence the actions and perceptions of people in a manner that positively impacts team performance.

1. Influencing Goals

2. Influencing Perceptions

3. Influencing Actions

4. Influencing Circumstances

These avenues of influence facilitate Problem-solving and logical Decision-making.

Let’s explore some of these avenues of influence in further depth.

Influencing Goals

The initial Avenue of Influence deals with the management’s assistance in making employees aware of the organization’s expectations and establishing realistic and measurable Performance goals.

Communication of management’s expectations alone is insufficient to drive employees to achieve their goals. This causes the team members to believe that management has a deep knowledge of the intended results. But, in the majority of firms today, employees set their own goals.

In this instance, managers should assist individual performers in developing SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound) goals. In addition, they must remove any obstacles that may prevent team members from developing SMART targets.

Influencing Perceptions

The subsequent Area of Influence focuses on influencing the views of workers in order to enhance 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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Mark Bridges

I blog about various management frameworks, from Strategic Planning to Digital Transformation to Change Management. https://flevy.com