Performance AppraisalIntroductionIn terms of PA practice in organizations, it seems likely that the focus of the content of appraisal will continue in the immediate future to be centered on achievement against goals or objectives and on assessment of competencies. The literature on goal-setting continues to grow for a review of this domain) though perhaps without any notable major theoretical developments, apart from work on the concept of goal orientation described below. Much the same might be said of competencies, though some writers have begun to express doubts about the way in which competencies are being used.
However, there is research on other themes, which is of significance for appraisal content (including competencies) and aims. Although it is difficult to recommend one appraisal format over another for multiple purposes, behaviorally-based formats do appear to offer advantages with respect to fostering performance improvement and worker development. Past research has demonstrated that when performance feedback is precise and timely it may result in behavior change, even though job behaviors are generally difficult to modify. (Arthur, 2004. P. 670-88)Why do employers go to considerable effort and expense to undertake this system of performance appraisals?
In a nutshell, it is because they believe that it increases productivity and profitability. Companies identify a number of purposes for conducting performance appraisals. Beyond measuring individual performance, other objectives include: providing feedback to employees; improving individual performance; providing motivation and recognition; determining pay raises and promotions; coaching, mentoring and counseling; determining training and development needs; making decisions pertaining to downsizing or layoffs; and finally, to have proper documentation for legal purposes, such as employee litigation. (Arthur, 2004. P. 670-88). Appraisal processAppraiser--appraise interaction.
As previously noted, there has been more research on the social and motivational aspects of PA. One consistent theme here has been the influence of liking. The process of goal-setting seems to give the appraisee a broader picture of the work unit and the organisation’s objectives, and how the set goals contribute to that unit and to the organisation’s goals. Consequently, feedback coupled with goal-setting was associated with higher organizational commitment pointed out that although the effects of liking are well documented, the reasons for the influence of liking are not clear.
They interpreted the findings from their own study as indicating that rather than affect being a biasing factor, it (i. e. affect) resulted from better performance in the first place. However, Goldin (2006) identified a range of conceptual and methodological problems in studies on liking as an influence on PA, such as the failure to take account of the duration of the relationship, and concluded that it is not justified to assume either that liking reflects bias or that it simply stems from a reaction to good performance. The influence of liking on ratings, for whatever the underlying reasons, is less where clear standards and observable performance information are available (Goldin, 2006, p. 127).
Another frequent line of enquiry on appraisal process deals with the importance of appraise participation level, both of itself and as a factor in perceptions of procedural justice. The meta-analysis reported by Drago, (2005) makes the useful distinction between instrumental participation--which is participation for the purpose of influencing an end result--and value-expressive participation--participation for the sake of having one's voice heard. They found that the latter had a stronger relationship with appraisal reaction criteria than did the former.