A simple way of looking at productivity in a business organization is to think of it in terms of the productivity model below. Essentially, productivity is a ratio to measure how well an organization (or individual, industry, country) converts input resources (labor, materials, machines etc.) into goods and services. This is usually expressed in ratios of inputs to outputs. That is (input) cost per (output) good / service. It is not on its own a measure of how efficient the conversion process is.

Productivity is an average measure of the efficiency of production. It can be expressed as the ratio of output to inputs used in the production process, i.e. output per unit of input. When all outputs and inputs are included in the productivity measure it is called total productivity. Outputs and inputs are defined in the total productivity measure as their economic values.