Examining Worker Appraisal, Pay back And Demotivation

The background of performance appraisal is quite quick. Its origins in the first 20th century can be followed to Taylor's pioneering Time and Motion studies. But this is not very helpful, for the same may be said about almost everything in neuro-scientific modern human resources management.

As a distinct and formal management treatment used in the evaluation of work performance, appraisal really times from enough time of the Second World Battle - only 60 years ago. Yet in a broader sense, the practice of appraisal is a very ancient art. In the level of things historical, it might well lay say to being the world's second oldest career!

There is, says Dulewicz (1989), ". . . a simple human propensity to make judgements about those the first is dealing with, as well as about oneself. " Appraisal, it appears, is both inescapable and universal. Inside the absence of a carefully organised system of appraisal, people will tend to judge the work performance of others, including subordinates, obviously, informally and arbitrarily.

The individuals inclination to judge can create serious motivational, moral and legal problems at work. Without a organized appraisal system, there is little chance of making certain the judgements made will be lawful, fair, defensible and accurate.

Performance appraisal systems started as simple ways of income justification. That's, appraisal was used to choose set up salary or wage of a person worker was justified. The procedure was firmly linked to material benefits. If an employee's performance was found to be less than ideal, a lower in pay would follow. On the other hand, if their performance was much better than the supervisor expected, a pay rise was in order. Little account, if any, was presented with to the developmental possibilities of appraisal. It was felt that a chop in pay, or a rise, should supply the only required impetus for a worker to either improve or continue steadily to succeed.

Sometimes this basic system succeeded in getting the results which were intended; but more often than not, it failed. For instance, early motivational analysts were aware that differing people with roughly similar work abilities could be paid the same sum of money and yet have quite different degrees of determination and performance.

These observations were verified in empirical studies. Pay rates were important, yes; nonetheless they were not the only element that got an impact on staff performance. It had been found that other issues, such as morale and self-esteem, may possibly also have a significant influence. As a result, the traditional focus on reward effects was progressively declined. In the 1950s in the United States, the potential usefulness of appraisal as tool for motivation and development was little by little recognised. The overall model of performance appraisal, as it is known today, started from that point.

Modern Appraisal

Performance appraisal may be thought as a set up formal connection between a subordinate and supervisor, that always takes the proper execution of a periodic interview (annual or semi-annual), where the work performance of the subordinate is examined and mentioned, with a view to determining weaknesses and talents as well as opportunities for improvement and skills development. That is, the appraisal results are used to identify the better performing employees who should get the majority of available merit pay rises, bonuses, and deals.

By the same token, appraisal results are used to identify the poorer performers who may require some type of counselling, or in acute cases, demotion, dismissal or decreases in pay. (Organisations have to be aware of laws in their country that may restrict their capacity to dismiss employees or decrease pay. ) Whether this is an appropriate use of performance appraisal - the task and justification of rewards and penalties - is an extremely uncertain and contentious matter.

Controversy, Controversy: Few issues in general management stir up more controversy than performance appraisal. There are various reputable sources - research workers, management commentators, psychometricians - who've expressed doubts about the validity and consistency of the performance appraisal process. Some have even suggested that the process is so inherently flawed that it could be impossible to master it (see Derven, 1990, for example). At the other extreme, there a wide range of strong advocates of performance appraisal. Some view it as potentially ". . . the most important facet of organisational life" (Lawrie, 1990).

Between these two extremes lay various colleges of perception. While all endorse the utilization of performance appraisal, there are various opinions how and when to use it. You can find those, for case, who believe that performance appraisal has many important worker development uses, but scorn any attempt to link the procedure to reward final results - such as pay goes up and promotions. This group believes that the linkage to encourage final results reduces or gets rid of the developmental value of appraisals. Instead of an opportunity for constructive review and encouragement, the reward-linked process is regarded as judgmental, punitive and harrowing.

For example, just how many people would gladly acknowledge their work problems if, at the same time, they understood that their next pay rise or a much-wanted advertising was riding with an appraisal result? More than likely, in that situation, many people would refuse or downplay their weaknesses. Nor is the desire to distort or refuse the truth confined to the person being appraised. Many appraisers feel uncomfortable with the merged role of judge and executioner.

Such reluctance is simple enough to understand. Appraisers often know their appraisees well, and are typically in a direct subordinate-supervisor relationship. They interact on a regular basis and may, at times, mix socially. Recommending a subordinate must brush up on certain work skills is one thing; providing an appraisal result that has the direct aftereffect of negating a promotion is another.

The effect can be resentment and serious morale destruction, resulting in workplace disruption, soured connections and efficiency declines. Alternatively, there's a strong rival debate which boasts that performance appraisal must unequivocally be linked to reward outcomes. The advocates of this way say that organisations will need to have a process where rewards - which are not an unlimited source - may be openly and pretty distributed to people most deserving on the basis of merit, work and results.

There is a crucial dependence on remunerative justice in organisations. Performance appraisal - whatever its sensible flaws - is really the only process available to help achieve good, decent and regular reward final results.

It has also been said that the appraised themselves tend to believe the appraisal results should be linked directly to encourage final results - and are suspicious and disappointed when advised this is not the case. Instead of feeling relieved, the appraised may think that they are not being advised the whole real truth, or that the appraisal process is a sham and waste materials of time.

The Connect to Rewards:

Recent research (Bannister & Balkin, 1990) has reported that the appraised seem to have greater acceptance of the appraisal process, and feel more satisfied with it, when the process is directly linked to rewards. Such studies are a significant challenge to those who believe that appraisal results and prize final results must be strictly isolated from one another.

There is also a group who argue that the evaluation of employees for incentive purposes, and frank communication with them about their performance, are area of the basic tasks of management. The practice of not talking about reward problems while appraising performance is, say critics, predicated on inconsistent and muddled ideas of motivation. In many organisations, this inconsistency is aggravated by the practice of having split wage and salary reviews, where merit goes up and bonus items are made a decision arbitrarily, and often secretly, by supervisors and professionals.

Basic Purposes

Effective performance appraisal systems contain two basic systems working in conjunction: an evaluation system and a opinions system.

The main aim of the evaluation system is to recognize the performance gap (if any). This distance is the shortfall occurring when performance will not meet up with the standard establish by the organisation as acceptable. The main goal of the responses system is to inform the employee about the grade of his / her performance. (However, the info move is not specifically one way. The appraisers also obtains opinions from the employee about job problems, etc. )

One of the best ways to understand the purposes of performance appraisal is to check out it from the several viewpoints of the key stakeholders: the employee and the company.

Employee Point of view:

From the staff viewpoint, the goal of performance appraisal is four-fold

Tell me what you want me to do.

Tell me how well I have done it.

Help me improve my performance

Reward me for successful. (from Cash, 1993)

Organisational Point of view:

From the organisation's point of view, one of the most crucial known reasons for having something of performance appraisal is to determine and uphold the principle of accountability. For decades it has been known to researchers that certain of the chief factors behind organisational failing is "non-alignment of responsibility and accountability. " Non-alignment occurs where employees receive responsibilities and duties, but aren't held accountable for the way in which those tasks and duties are performed. What typically happens is the fact several individuals or work devices may actually have overlapping roles.

The overlap allows - indeed positively encourages - every individual or business unit to "pass the buck" to the others. In the end, in the severely non-aligned system, nobody is in charge of anything. In such a event, the principle of accountability reduces completely. Organisational inability is the only real possible outcome.

In cases where in fact the non-alignment is not severe, the company may continue to function, albeit inefficiently. Just like a terribly made or terribly tuned engine motor, the non-aligned company may run, but it'll be sluggish, costly and unreliable. Among the principal seeks of performance appraisal is to make people accountable. The objective is to align responsibility and accountability at every organisational level.

Appraisal Methods

Techniques in Performance Appraisal

In a landmark study, Locher & Teel (1977) found that the three most typical appraisal methods in general use are score scales (56%), essay methods (25%) and results- driven or MBO methods (13%). Certain techniques in performance appraisal have been thoroughly investigated, and some have been found to produce better results than others.

Encourage Discourse:

Research studies show that employees will probably feel more satisfied with their appraisal end result if indeed they have the opportunity to talk widely and discuss their performance. Additionally it is more likely that such employees will be better able to meet future performance goals. (e. g. , Nemeroff & Wexley, 1979).

Employees are also more likely to believe that the appraisal process is fair if they are given a chance to discuss their performance. This especially so when they are allowed to challenge and appeal against their evaluation. (Greenberg, 1986).

Constructive Goal:

It is very important that employees recognise that negative appraisal feedback is provided with a constructive objective, i. e. , to help them triumph over present difficulties and to improve their future performance. Employees will be less stressed about criticism, and much more likely to think it is useful, when the believe that the appraiser's motives are helpful and constructive. (Fedor et al. , 1989)

In contrast, other studies (e. g. , Baron, 1988) have reported that "destructive criticism" - which is hazy, ill-informed, unfair or harshly offered - will lead to problems such as anger, resentment, anxiety and workplace turmoil, as well as increased resistance to improvement, denial of problems, and poorer performance.

Set Performance Goals:

It has been shown in numerous studies that goal-setting can be an important element in employee determination. Goals can stimulate employee effort, target attention, increase persistence, and encourage employees to find new and better ways to work. (e. g. , Locke, et al. , 1981)

The usefulness of goals as a stimulus to real human motivation is among the best supported theories in management. Additionally it is quite clear that goals that are ". . . specific, difficult and accepted by employees will lead to higher degrees of performance than easy, vague goals (such as do your best) or no goals in any way. " (Harris & DiSimone, 1994)

Appraiser Trustworthiness:

It is important that the appraiser (usually the employee's supervisor) be well-informed and credible. Appraisers should feel comfortable with the techniques of appraisal, and should be knowledgeable about the employee's job and performance.

When these conditions can be found, employees will view the appraisal process as appropriate and fair. They also express more acceptance of the appraiser's reviews and a greater willingness to change. (Bannister, 1986)

Perceptual Errors:

This includes various well-known problems of selective belief (such as the horns and halos impact) as well as problems of perceived meaning. Selective perception is the human tendency to make private and highly subjective assessments of what a person is "enjoy", and then seek data to aid that view (while overlooking or downplaying information that might contradict it). This is a typical and normal psychological phenomenon. All human beings are affected because of it. In other words, we see in others what we want to see in them.

An example is the supervisor who believes that an worker is inherently good (halo result) therefore ignores evidence that might suggest otherwise. Instead of correcting the slackening worker, the supervisor protects for them and may even offer excuses because of their declining performance.

On the other hand, a supervisor may have developed the impression that an staff is bad (horns result). The supervisor becomes unreasonably tough in their assessment of the employee, and it is always ready to criticise and undermine them.

The horns and halo result is rarely observed in its extreme and apparent forms. However in its more delicate manifestations, it can be a significant menace to the effectiveness and credibility of performance appraisal.

Perceived Interpretation:

Problems of recognized meaning appear when appraisers do not promote the same judgment about the meaning of the determined attributes and the dialect used on the ranking scales. For instance, to 1 appraiser, an employee may illustrate the trait of effort by confirming work problems to a supervisor. To some other appraiser, this may suggest an excessive dependence on supervisory assistance - and thus a lack of initiative. In the same way, the dialect and terms used to create a scale - such as "Performance exceeds targets" or "Substandard skill" - may signify different things to different appraisers.

Rating Problems:

The problem here's not really much errors in belief as problems in appraiser judgement and purpose. Unlike perceptual mistakes, these errors may be (sometimes) deliberate.

The most usual rating mistake is central inclination. Busy appraisers, or those wary of confrontations and repercussions, may be tempted to dole out too many passive, middle-of-the-road evaluations (e. g. , "satisfactory" or "adequate"), whatever the actual performance of your subordinate. Thus the spread of ratings will clump exceedingly around the middle of the scale.

This problem is worsened in organisations where the appraisal process does not enjoy strong management support, or where the appraisers do not feel at ease the task of appraisal.

Rating Scales

The rating range method offers a higher degree of structure for appraisals. Each employee trait or attribute is rated on the bipolar scale that always has several points which range from "poor" to "excellent" (or some similar arrangement).

The traits evaluated on these scales include staff attributes such as co-operation, marketing communications ability, effort, punctuality and specialized (work skills) competence. The nature and range of the attributes selected for inclusion is bound only by the imagination of the scale's custom, or by the organisation's need to find out.

The one major provision in selecting characteristics is that they must be for some reason relevant to the appraisee's job. The attributes decided on by some organisations have been unwise and also have resulted in legal action on the grounds of discrimination.


The greatest benefit of rating scales is they are structured and standardised. This allows rankings to be easily likened and contrasted - even for entire workforces.

Each staff is subjected to the same basic appraisal process and rating criteria, with the same selection of responses. This promotes equality in treatment for those appraisees and imposes standard procedures of performance across all parts of the company.

Rating size methods are easy to use and understand. The idea of the rating range makes obvious sense; both appraisers and appraisees provide an intuitive understanding for the simple and efficient logic of the bipolar level. The effect is widespread approval and popularity for this approach.


Trait Relevance: Will be the determined rating-scale traits plainly highly relevant to the jobs of all the appraisees? It really is inescapable that with a standardised and fixed system of appraisal that certain features will have a larger relevance in a few careers than in others.

For example, the trait "initiative" might not be very important in employment that is firmly defined and rigidly organised. In such cases, a low appraisal ranking for initiative might not mean that a worker lacks initiative. Somewhat, it may reveal that fact that an worker has few opportunities to use and display that particular characteristic. The relevance of ranking scales is therefore reported to be context-sensitive. Job and work place circumstances must be studied into consideration.

Systemic Disadvantage: Rating scales, and the traits they purport to assess, generally attempt to encapsulate all the relevant indicators of worker performance. There can be an assumption that the real and best indicators of performance are included, and everything incorrect and irrelevant indications are excluded.

This is an assumption very difficult to prove used. It's possible that an employee's performance may be based upon factors that contain not been included in the selected qualities. Such employees may wrap up with ratings that do not truly or quite reflect their work or value to the organisation. Employees in this course are systemically disadvantaged by the rating range method.

Essay Method

In the article method procedure, the appraiser prepares a written assertion about the staff being appraised. The affirmation usually specializes in describing specific talents and weaknesses in job performance. It also suggests classes of action to treatment the identified problem areas. The declaration may be written and edited by the appraiser by themselves, or it be composed in collaboration with the appraisee.


The article method is much less set up and confining than the rating range method. It permits the appraiser to examine almost any relevant concern or attribute of performance. This contrasts sharply with methods where in fact the appraisal conditions are rigidly described. Appraisers may place whatever amount of emphasis on issues or capabilities that they feel appropriate. Thus the process is open-ended and very flexible. The appraiser is not locked into an appraisal system the restrictions expression or assumes that employee traits can be neatly dissected and scaled.


Essay methods are time-consuming and difficult to manage. Appraisers often find the essay technique more demanding than methods such as rating scales. The technique's biggest advantage - flexibility of expression - is also its greatest handicap. The varying writing skills of appraisers can annoyed and distort the complete process. The procedure is subjective and, in outcome, it is difficult to compare and contrast the results of people or to pull any extensive conclusions about organisational needs.

Results Method (MBO Method)

The use of management aims was first broadly advocated in the 1950s by the known management theorist Peter Drucker.

MBO (management by targets) ways of performance appraisal are results-oriented. That's, they seek to evaluate staff performance by examining the magnitude to which predetermined work objectives have been found.

Usually the targets are set up jointly by the supervisor and subordinate. An example of a target for a sales supervisor might be: Raise the gross monthly sales volume to $250, 000 by 30 June. Once a target is decided, the employee is usually likely to self-audit; that is, to identify the skills needed to achieve the target. Typically they do not count on others to find and designate their talents and weaknesses. They are anticipated to keep an eye on their own development and progress.


The MBO methodology overcomes some of the issues that arise as a result of let's assume that the employee traits necessary for job success can be reliably recognized and measured. Rather than assuming attributes, the MBO method specializes in actual outcomes. If the employee meets or surpasses the set goals, then she or he has demonstrated an acceptable degree of job performance. Employees are judged corresponding to real benefits, and not on the potential for success, or on someone's subjective opinion of their expertise.


MBO methods of performance appraisal can provide employees a gratifying sense of autonomy and accomplishment. But on the downside, they can result in unrealistic expectations in what can and cannot be reasonably accomplished.

Supervisors and subordinates will need to have very good "truth examining" skills to utilize MBO appraisal methods. They will need these skills during the initial level of objective setting up, and then for the purposes of self-auditing and self-monitoring.

Unfortunately, clinical tests have shown regularly that humans tend to lack the skills needed to do their own "simple fact checking". Nor are these skills easily conveyed by training. Fact itself can be an intensely personal experience, prone to all types of perceptual bias.

One of the advantages of the MBO method is the clearness of goal that moves from a couple of well-articulated goals. But this can be a source of weakness also. It has become very clear that the present day company must be flexible to survive. Aims, by their very aspect, have a tendency to impose a certain rigidity.

Of course, the evident answer is to make the objectives more fluid and yielding. But the charges for fluidity is lack of clarity. Variable objectives may cause employee confusion. It is also possible that smooth goals may be distorted to disguise or justify failures in performance.

Benefits of Appraisal

Perhaps the most significant good thing about appraisal is the fact, in the hurry and bustle of daily working life, it provides a rare chance for a supervisor and subordinate to obtain "periods" for a one-on-one dialogue of important work conditions that might not usually be tackled. Almost universally, where performance appraisal is conducted properly, both supervisors and subordinates have reported the experience as beneficial and positive.

Appraisal offers a valuable opportunity to focus on work activities and goals, to recognize and right existing problems, and also to encourage better future performance. Thus the performance of the whole organisation is enhanced. For many employees, an "official" appraisal interview may be the only time they get to have exclusive, continuous usage of their supervisor. Said one staff of a sizable organisation after his first formal performance appraisal, "In twenty years of work, that is the first-time anyone has ever before bothered to sit down and inform me how I'm doing. " The value of this strong and purposeful relationship between a supervisors and subordinate should not be underestimated.

Motivation and Satisfaction:

Performance appraisal can have a serious effect on degrees of employee determination and satisfaction - for better as well for worse.

Performance appraisal provides employees with acknowledgement for his or her work efforts. The power of social acceptance as a motivation has been long observed. In fact, you can find evidence that human beings will even prefer negative recognition in preference to no recognition in any way.

If little or nothing else, the lifetime of an appraisal program reveals to an employee that the company is genuinely interested in their specific performance and development. This together can have a positive effect on the individual's sense of well worth, commitment and owed.

The durability and prevalence of the natural human desire for individual recognition shouldn't be forgotten. Absenteeism and turnover rates in some organisations might be greatly reduced if more attention were paid to it. Regular performance appraisal, at least, is a good start.

Training and Development:

Performance appraisal offers a great opportunity - possibly the best that will ever happen - for a supervisor and subordinate to discover and agree upon specific training and development needs.

During the debate of the employee's work performance, the presence or lack of work skills can become very clear - even to those who habitually reject the idea of training for them!

Performance appraisal can make the necessity for training more pressing and relevant by linking it plainly to performance outcomes and future job aspirations.

From the point of view of the company all together, consolidated appraisal data can develop a picture of the entire demand for training. This data may be analysed by variables such as making love, section, etc. In this esteem, performance appraisal can offer a regular and useful training needs audit for the complete organisation.

Recruitment and Induction:

Appraisal data may be used to keep an eye on the success of the organisation's recruitment and induction methods. For example, how well will be the employees performing who had been hired in the past 2 yrs?

Appraisal data can also be used to keep an eye on the potency of changes in recruitment strategies. By following every year data related to new hires (and given sufficient statistics on which to base the research) you'll be able to assess whether the general quality of the labor force is improving, staying constant, or declining.

Employee Analysis:

Though often understated or even denied, evaluation is the best and major target of performance appraisal. But the need to judge (i. e. , to guage) is also an ongoing source of stress, since evaluative and developmental priorities may actually frequently clash. Yet at its most elementary level, performance appraisal is the process of evaluating and assessing the performance of an individual.

Though organisations have a right - some would say a responsibility - to conduct such evaluations of performance, many still recoil from the idea. To them, the explicit process of judgement can be dehumanising and demoralising and a source of anxiety and distress to employees.

It is been said by some that appraisal cannot provide the needs of evaluation and development at the same time; it must be one or the other. But there may be a satisfactory middle ground, where the need to evaluate employees objectively, and the necessity to encourage and develop them, can be well balanced.

Reward Issues

Some interesting insights into what can go very seriously wrong in a system of reward-linked performance appraisal is found in the work of Deets & Tyler (1986).

The Xerox Experience

The Reprographic Business Group of the Xerox Firm operated a very traditional system of performance appraisal predicated on rating scale methods. The rating outcomes were linked to pay outcomes. Actually, the results got direct results on merit pay rises - everyone at Xerox knew that and expected it.

The Xerox system included all the common features of score range systems. The appraisal interviews were organised on a yearly basis and conducted by the employee's immediate supervisor.

Accomplishments of the preceding year were recorded and performance levels were judged matching to various predefined standards. The machine included some components of essay appraisal, since appraisers were required to write brief helping statements for each rated criterion.

The Xerox system also called for an overview ranking; an ultimate digit, from a low of just one 1 (for unsatisfactory) to a high of 5 (exceptional). The summary rating attemptedto encapsulate the complete year's performance in a single number.

The significance of that final number was huge. It literally motivated how big is the employee's gross annual pay rise. The bigger the rating, the larger the go up. For Xerox employees, the thing that really mattered about appraisal was getting the largest possible final quantity.

Analysis of evaluations over time demonstrated that more than 95 percent of employees were either 3s, 4s or 5s; that is, the get spread around of ratings seriously favoured the higher end of the size. Almost every staff, in line with the appraisal system, was doing at or above the average. The low end of the level, the ratings of "substandard" and "unsatisfactory" were very seldom used. The result of the distortion was that any staff who scored significantly less than a 4 ("exceeds expected performance level") started to feel just like a failure!

The appraisal process became sort of ratings lottery; the purpose of the overall game was to get the highest possible score and succeed the jackpot. The procedure became fixated on that all-important last digit.

This situation located great pressure on those appraised and appraisers as well. The appraisers got the unenviable activity of deciding the winners from the losers. No think about the majority of them preferred to hand out a good amount of overly-generous evaluations!

Xerox eventually changed this technique with an MBO/article form of appraisal. They abandoned rating scale methods completely.

That might have been an over-reaction, because the fault did not lie with the method itself a great deal much like its romantic - and finally inflexible linkage - to the gross annual pay surge. When reward benefits are so carefully linked to the size of a ranking on a five point size, the difference of 1 point in any event can become very important and provocative.

The Xerox ranking system might have worked if the immediate causal relationship between your summary score and merit pay results had been removed or at least softened.

The Circumstance for Linkage

The question of whether appraisal results should be allowed to directly influence decisions about pay boosts (and other praise benefits such as campaign) has been hotly contested. It is still one of the most contentious issues in human resources management. One of the main reasons for separating appraisal results from compensation decisions is the belief that a too-close link would create an overly-threatening and potentially punitive system. Employees, apprehensive at the chance of being judged, could have the added stress and anxiety of realizing that the result will straight impact their pay packet and job outcomes.


This kind of appraisal pressure brings about a win/lose mentality of the sort that developed at Xerox. Rather than the appraisee being ready to openly discuss their performance, they become anxious and defensive. Effortlessly, the normal appraisee is not wanting to admit to anything that might impair their likelihood of a pay surge or other pay back.

There is a profound irony in the actual fact that many organisations, while having excellent systems of appraisal, allow their merit pay and advertising decisions to be produced by poor means. Often the matter is remaining to the discretion of 1 or two supervisors or managers, with a cursory review being made by the HR section.

There is also the work of Bannister & Balkin (1990), which includes reported that "discussions of pay at the time of performance appraisal" raises employee popularity of appraisal and their satisfaction with the process. This undermines the arguments for separation. Aswell, there is research that incongruity between appraisal results and later pay and campaign effects is a way to obtain worker discontent and demotivation.

Pay boosts and campaigns send powerful messages to employees. If these emails don't match with the appraisal results, employees are quick to dismiss the whole process as a farce. Work have been made to convince employees otherwise, however the "bottom line" for many is who received the excess money or who acquired the new job.

Management Technique?

The parting of appraisal results and incentive benefits is, at best, a contrived situation. At most severe, it may present the impression that appraisal is some kind of deception, a trick by management, designed to give an appearance of openness and fairness while "real issues" like pay and offers are made the decision in secret. Nor is the practice of adding a six-month buffer between appraisals and pay reviews an efficient method of avoiding the issue. Far better to establish and clarify the partnership between appraisal, performance and pay back outcomes.

The view of the separatists, which insists that appraisal results and prize effects should be protected from one another, may be an over- a reaction to the actual abuses. There exists facts that appraisees appreciate the life of a link between appraisal and praise results. To many, the existence of such a web link is intuitively practical.

From the point of view of the organisation, the inclusion of carefully gathered appraisal data in pay and advertising matters may contribute to better quality decisions. It should also help ensure a larger amount of congruity between appraisal results and subsequent reward effects.

Even so, many advocates of separation will be reluctant to concede the opportunity of any form of constructive linkage between appraisal and rewards. This is a pity, because the potential of performance appraisal includes more than staff development. Admittedly there are dangers in linking incentive outcomes; but there are also risks, and a prospect of harm, in contriving to refuse that any linkage is present. At least, an organisation wishing to form the mildest of reward links might consider a frank discourse of reward criteria through the appraisal interview.

Those organisations that are determined to keep their appraisal and reward issues separated might ask themselves whether performance appraisal is really the tool they need. Perhaps what they actually desire is some type of developmental appraisal.

Conflict and Confrontation

Invariably the needs occurs during a performance appraisal to offer an employee with less than flattering reviews. The skill and awareness used to handle these often difficult consultations is critical. If the appraisee accepts the negative responses and resolves to improve, all is well. But if the result can be an angry or wounded employee, then the process of modification has failed. The performance of a worker in such instances is unlikely to boost and may deteriorate even more.


According to Krein (1990), appraisers should not confront employees straight with criticism. Alternatively, they should try to let the proof poor performance emerge "by natural means" during the course of the appraisal interview. That is done by way of open-ended questioning techniques that encourage the worker to identify their own performance problems.

Instead of blunt claims or accusations, the appraisers should encourage an employee to talk easily about their own impressions of their performance. For example, consider the truth of staff who has already established way too many absent days and nights. The appraiser, in accusatory mode, might say: "Your attendance record is unacceptable. You'll have to improve it. "

A better way to handle this might be to say: "Your attendance record demonstrates you had seven days off work in six months. What is it possible to tell me concerning this?"

The technique is to calmly present the data (resisting the enticement to label it nearly as good or bad) and then ask the staff to comment. In many cases, with simply a soft nudge from the appraiser here and there, an employee with problems will acknowledge that weaknesses do are present. This is much more likely when an employee does not feel accused of anything, nor forced to make admissions that they do not desire to make.

If an appraiser can get an employee to the stage of voluntary admission, half the struggle is earned. The technique detailed by Krein is a kind of self-auditing, since it induces the worker to confront themselves with their own work and performance issues.

The technique is useful since it is much more likely to promote discussion and contract on the need for change. Confrontation techniques that count on "demand and counter-charge" tend to promote adversarialism - and this contributes to denial and resentment.

Ownership of Problems:

Perhaps the most effective facet of the do it yourself- auditing process is the fact that employees tend to be willing generally to simply accept personal "ownership" of problems which have been self-identified. This sense of ownership provides a highly effective basis for rousing change and development. (Some would claim that it offers the one basis. )

Nevertheless there are those who will not say to whatever appears to represent poorly about them. With ego defences on full-alert, they will resist the procedure of self-auditing very strongly. In such cases, appraisers may haven't any choice but to confront the poor performer immediately and securely with the data they may have.

Sometimes the surprise of immediate confrontation will lead to the staff admitting that they certainly need to make advancements. But sometimes it will just make their denial of the problem worse.

In providing any feedback - especially negative opinions - appraisers should be prepared and able to support their views with specific and clear samples. Vague generalisations should be averted. The concentrate should be on job-related behaviours and behaviour. If a particular observation cannot be supported by clear data, or touches on conditions that are not job-related, it could be best to exclude all reference to it. Appraisers must carefully scrutinise their own perceptions, motives and prejudice.

Common Mistakes

Where performance appraisal fails to are well as it will, insufficient support from the top levels of management is often cited as a significant contributing reason. Opposition may be predicated on political motives, or even more simply, on ignorance or disbelief in the potency of the appraisal process. It is crucial that top management believe in the worthiness of appraisal and point out their visible dedication to it. Top professionals are powerful role models for other professionals and employees. Those attempting to add performance appraisal, or even to reform an existing system, must be acutely aware of the value of politics issues and symbolism in the success of such tasks.

Fear of Failing:

There is a uncooperative suspicion among many appraisers that a poor appraisal final result tends to reflect badly after them also, being that they are usually the employee's supervisor. Many appraisers have a vested interest in making their subordinates "look good" in writing. When this problem exists (and it can be found in many organisations), it could point to a challenge in the organisation culture. The cause may be considered a culture that is intolerant of failure. Quite simply, appraisers may fear the probability of repercussions - both for themselves and the appraisee.

Longenecker (1989) argues that accuracy in performance appraisal is impossible to accomplish, since people play cultural and political game titles, plus they protect their own hobbies. "No savvy supervisor. . . ", says Longenecker, ". . . is going to use the appraisal process to shoot himself or herself in the feet. "

No subject what safeguards are in place, ". . . when you transform professionals loose in real life, they consciously fudge the amounts. " What Longenecker says is that appraisers will, for a variety of reasons, deliberately distort the evaluations that they give to employees. Indeed, surveys have shown that not only do many professionals admit to just a little fudging, they actually protect it as a technique essential for effective management.

The fudging motives of appraisers have, at times, a certain plausibility. For instance, a supervisor who may have given an overly generous appraisal to a marginal performer might claim that their 'genuine' purpose was the anticipation of encouraging an improved performance.

On the other side, fudging motives can be a lot less excellent and sometimes devious: the appraiser who fudges to avoid the possibility of an unpleasant confrontation, the appraiser who fudges to cover employee challenges from senior professionals, the appraiser who fudges in order to punish or prize employees.

Judgement Aversion:

Many folks have a natural reluctance to "play judge" and produce a permanent record which may have an effect on an employee's future job. This is actually the circumstance especially where there may be a need to make negative appraisal remarks.

Training in the techniques of constructive evaluation (such as self-auditing) may help. Appraisers need to discover that problems still left unchecked could finally cause more harm to an employee's profession than early detection and correction.

Organisations might consider the confidential archiving of appraisal data more than, say, three years old.


Larson (1989) has explained a public game enjoyed by poor performers. Many supervisors will recognise the overall game at once and may have been its victims. The game is called feedback-seeking. It occurs in which a poor performing staff regularly seeks casual praise from his / her supervisor at improper moments.

Often the feedback-seeker are certain to get the praise they need, given that they choose the time and destination to ask for it. In effect, they "ambush" the supervisor by seeking reviews at moments when the supervisor is unable or unprepared to provide them a full and proper answer, or in options that are improper for a frank diagnosis.

The supervisor may feel "placed on the spot", but will often give a few encouraging words of support. The game seems innocent enough until appraisal time comes around. Then the supervisor will see that the employee recalls, with perfect clarity, every casual phrase of praise ever before spoken!

This places the supervisor in a difficult bind. Either the supervisor lied when providing the reward, or least, misled the staff into convinced that their performance was acceptable (in fact, this is actually the discussion that feedback-seekers will often make).

The goal of the game is usually that the reviews- seeker desires to deflect responsibility for his or her own poor performance. In addition they seek to bolster their appraisal rating by attracting all the "evidence" of casual praise. Very often the reviews seeker will succeed in making the supervisor feel at least partially responsible. As a result, their appraisal effect may be improved.

Was the supervisor partially responsible? Not necessarily. The reality of the matter is that they have been "blackmailed" by way of a subtle interpersonal game. But like the majority of social video games, the play depends upon the unconscious involvement of both sides. Making supervisors aware of the overall game is usually sufficient to stop it. They need to figure out how to say, when asked for casual praise, "I can't talk about it now. . . but see me in my office later. " This places the supervisor back in control of the appraisal process.

Appraiser Prep:

The bane of any performance appraisal system is the appraiser who would like to "play it by ear". Such behaviour should be actively discouraged by stressing the importance and technical challenge of good performance appraisal. Perhaps drawing their focus on the basics of performance appraisal may help them to start to see the critical conditions that must be considered.

Employee Involvement:

Employees should get involved with their supervisors in the creation of their own performance goals and development ideas. Mutual arrangement is a key to success. An idea wherein the worker feels some extent of ownership is much more likely to be accepted than one that is enforced. This will not imply that employees do not desire instruction off their supervisor; indeed they very much do.

Performance Management:

One of the most typical blunders in the practice of performance appraisal is to understand appraisal as an isolated event rather than an ongoing process.

Employees generally require more opinions, and more often, than can be provided in an annual appraisal. Although it might not be necessary to perform full appraisal sessions more often than once or twice annually, performance management should be viewed as a continuing process. Consistent mini-appraisals and responses sessions will help ensure that employees have the ongoing guidance, support and encouragement they need.

Of course many supervisors complain they don't have the time to provide this type of ongoing feedback. This is barely likely. What supervisors really indicate when they state this is usually that the supervision and development of subordinates is much less high a priority as certain other jobs.

In this case, the organisation might need to review the priorities and ideals that it has instilled in its supervisory ranks. After all, supervisors who haven't received time to keep an eye on and accomplish the performance with their subordinates are like chefs who haven't got time to cook, or dentists who are too busy to look at teeth. It just doesn't seem sensible.

If appraisal can be regarded as an isolated event, it is only natural that supervisors will come to view their responsibilities just as. Just as having to worry, employees will come to see their own effort and determination levels as something that needs a bit of any polish up in the month or two preceding appraisals.

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