Performance appraisal in today’s environment

So, my lecturer gave me this question: How do you do performance appraisal? And I say, you appraise them… Okay, that’s not a smart answer. But anyway, here’s what I wrote to him, just a goodwill to show him that I just answer it out of amusement.

Performance appraisal in today’s business environment is as delicate as threading a fine thread. By appraising, managers now have the ability to literally sort out the good and bad workforce one by one. However, such as the world has grown into a more complex society and more complex problems faced by company, a group of workforce is needed to tackle each task given by the company. Performance appraisal given to a single workforce can be easily managed as there is only one variable thrown into the equation. With groups, despite the fact that performance appraisal can be done; a varying degree of carefulness must be exercised because appraising a group and a single workforce is vastly different.

In the case of a few performing workforce inside a group of many workforce, performance appraisal delicacy is brought to a new heights. If a group is performing because of contribution from some of its member, then, it is not justified to reward the group equally, as it is not justified morally. Furthermore, the non performing member will consider that doing nothing can go unpunished and will continue to do so in the future.

Peter Drucker in his book[1] stated that performance appraisal can be done with the Management by Objective (MBO) method. With this method, a set of rule and achievements has to be agreed on both the employee and managers alike, setting up the boundaries and the expectation given by the managers. To tackle the problem of identifying a working individual and non individual within a group, one can use the 360 degree feedback in conjunction with the MBO method. With this combination, the 360 degree feedback provides the constant check and balance from within the group while the MBO method provides the guideline on how the feedback should be operated.

The 360 degree feedback is a way to gather information[2] from not just managerial point of view, but also from the peer’s point of view, covering up more complete overview of an assessment. However, a 360 degree feedback only works in a cultural environment where individualism thrives on daily basis. As the saying goes, different cultures lead to an interesting mix of behaviour and social do’s or don’ts. In society where individualism is revered such as in the western culture, the 360 degree feedback is beneficial tool because a sense of accomplishment drives an individual to do what is laid out on the guidelines of the MBO. However, the 360 degree feedback will not work well where collectivism is adopted in the society; with collectivism, individuals tend to protect the other individuals within a group. Therefore, any feedback that might cause harm to an individual within the groups sometimes got “covered” by other individual within the groups.

However, 360 degree feedback is the best way to appraise a performance of individuals within the group. This way, the company can avoid non performers within a group without resorting to do extensive and expensive external reviewers to the workforce.

[1] The Practice of Management, 1954

[2] Marcie, Levine, 360 degree Assessment- Where Do I start, 2006

2 thoughts on “Performance appraisal in today’s environment

  1. Could not agree more on the importance of appraisal.

    my question is how do you appraise some talented/hard working person without making other people in the group jealous that might lead to hostile competition?

  2. Well, we live in a borderless world now thanks to globalization, the best thing we can do is to look at maslow’s hierarchy of needs and applies it together with according to stereotypes of the people we are facing. For westerners, where self actualization is more important than collective needs, you can appraise individuals with ease, as peers will look at it as a symbol of achievement… Different with easterners though…

    That’s in theory at least.

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