Performance appraisal is a method which is increasingly used to evaluate employees to determine the degree to which they are performing effectively and encourage them to direct their energies towards organizational performance. Although the appraisal is being practiced, there are criticisms made against the system which generally arise from within the Orthodox and radical management frame work.
This essay outlines the orthodox and radical critiques respectively and suggests whether 360? feedback offers a means of overcoming the traditional limitations of appraisal system.
The essay is organized into the following: Orthodox critiques, radical critiques, 360? feedback appraisal, conclusion and reference. Orthodox Critique These critisms do not challenge the underlying managerially defined purpose of appraisal, but rather they seek to remedy the imperfections and implementation of different appraisal systems (Bach 2006:300).
The argument is more about the practicalities and the main issue is whether performance appraisal is fair and accurate (G. A. Cole 2002:301) The first problem concerns the inherent conflicting purposes of the appraisal. Based on Drucker’s understanding that to ‘appraise a subordinate and his performance is part of the manager’s job.
Indeed unless he does the appraising himself he can not adequately discharge his responsibility for assisting and teaching his subordinates (G. A. Cole 2002:301), and the understanding of McBeath & Rands 1976 (GA Cole 2002:301), that equitable salary relationships depend on sound job classification, periodic salary surveys of competitive levels, employee appraisal and effective salary planning, appraisal is also used to influence compensation and rewards, the appraisal is seen to have conflicting purposes and if it is designed in such away that it is simultaneously multipurpose bound, both the appraiser and the appraisee are put in dilemma.
On the part of the manager, it becomes difficult to combine conflicting roles either as a counsellor where the training needs are identified or as a judge where the performance is used for rewards at the same time. The manager may be uncomfortable playing God (Bach 2006:301) in the sense that knowing that he/she is responsible and accountable for the subordinate, the poor ratings will boomerang on him/her. Further to that as Abel K. Ubeku (1984:192) indicated that ‘the fact that people find it difficult to listen and accept criticisms and that the effectiveness of communication of criticisms at the appraisal interview is inversely related to the subordinate’s need to hear them and that people do not change merely as the result of being told where they are falling down, the manager may be avoiding conflict with, or demotivating the subordinate.
On the part of the subordinate, he/she may not be ready to explain all the problems encountered in the course of working though doing so would be helpful in identifying training needs, having in mind that the same information would be a basis for rewards and promotion. The second problem concerns the construction of the appraisal document. The results of the appraisal may not be fair either because the system establishes performance targets that are outside the ability of employees to effect (Brown &Benson 2003:71) or the approach used does not provide a sound basis on which to make a decision.
For instance, using generalized criteria where all categories of employees are rated using the same designed form. In relation to this there is a problem of varying standards of judgment among different managers and supervisors. Extensive training in appraisal-form completion does not remove the basic fact that any review of one person by another is a personal opinion (Abel K Ubeku 1984:192). Therefore, biasness, leniency error, halo effect, similarity error, central tendency, lower appraiser motivation may pre- occupy the mind of the appraiser thereby distorting the results.
Radical Critique. The criticisms dwell on the managerial philosophy of the performance appraisal. The argument is whether the performance appraisal in itself is justified by examining the management objective. Performance appraisal is seen as promoting the cause of theory x, a management style that assumes that people are unreliable, unable to take responsibility and therefore require close supervision and control, according to Mc Gregor (1960) who explained that ‘appraisal programs are designed not only to provide more systematic control of behaviour of subordinates, but also to control the behaviour of superiors’ (G A Cole 2002:301).
As such it puts subordinates under un justified surveillance and tight control. The appraisal has the potential to individualise the employment relationship and the scope for managers to use it as a veneer to legitimate informal management. Some managers do really take appraisal as a weapon to intimidate subordinates where they openly tell them that ‘we will meet at appraisal’. This also encourages corruption where some subordinates align themselves with bosses because in the end this pays dividend especially when the appraisal is connected with rewards.
Just as Bach explains that it allows managers discretion to promote favoured individuals but, if challenged, to legitimize them by referring to the formal appraisal process. There is evidence on the ground that some people who do not deserve are promoted while others remain in their positions hopelessly. This result in poorly rated people not working efficiently because an individual’s performance is, to a considerable extent, a function of how he is managed ( Abel K. Ubeku 1984:192}and the systems can also divide an organisation into supporters and detractors (Michelle Brown and John Benson 2003:71). 3600 Feedback Appraisal 600 feedback is a process in which someone’s performance is assessed and feedback is given by a number of people who may include their manager, subordinates, colleagues and customers (Michael Armstrong 2009:644). The debate surrounds a point of whether it offers a means of overcoming the traditional limitations of appraisal. Looking at the developments in the work organisations and consideration of whether the appraisal is fair and accurate as outlined under orthodox critique, I am of the view that, to the large extent it offers a means to overcome the traditional limitations of appraisal, due to the following reasons.
Direct reports are in closer contact with their manager and are more directly affected by the manager’s style than the manager’s superior (Bach 2005:307). This shows that the appraisal from the managed people reveal the qualities of leadership of the manager than it being done by the superior alone. The interaction of people at work is increasingly diverse where people are involved in the work having many reporting lines like a project team which has a matrix structure. So it is fair for such a person to be appraised by all these people than by his/her line manager only.
Feedback is perceived as more valid and objective, leading to acceptance of results and actions required (Michael Armstrong 2009:646). This implies that since most of the people have been part and parcel of the appraisal process exercise, the result will likely reflect the truth and meet their approval. The appraisal is also done in service organisations where there is usually high contact system with customers. This is a system in which the service can not be provided without the customer being physically in the system (Ricky W Griffin et al 2002:326), like hospitals, education, transport and hotels.
It then becomes fair and accurate if the customers are allowed to make their inputs. Lastly 3600 feedback is a leeway to a compromise amongst people where the approach and handling of one another will be objective knowing that a role towards appraisal is reciprocative as outlined by Machington M & Wilkinson A (2006:195) that it facilitates open communication as people become used to giving and receiving feedback and also provides a framework for effective assessment and development of poor performers. This does not mean that 3600 feedback appraisal is flawless.
It has a number of weaknesses similar to a traditional appraisal system but it seems to be more effective and the current literature is reasonably supportive, of 3600 feedback as a potential aid to individual and organisational development (Christopher Mabey 2001:42). Conclusion The essay has explained that performance appraisal is a method of assessing performance of people at work. It has also highlighted that, despite it being used there are criticisms made against the system, which are orthodox and radical critiques.
Orthodox questions the fairness and accuracy of its design and implementation where as radical questions the management objective of the system. Lastly the essay has suggested that the 3600 feedback offers a means to overcome the traditional limitations of the system. Bibiography Michael Armstrong: Armstrong’s Hand book of Human resource Management Practice: Eleventh edition: 2009 Abel K Ubeku: Personnel management in Nigeria: Macmillan 1984. Stephen Bach: Managing Human Resource: Blackwell Publishing 2005.
David Decenzo and Stephen Bach: Personnel/Human resource Management: Third edition: Prentice Hall. Ricky W. Griffin et al: Business: Fourth Canadian edition: Prentice Hall: Toronto2002. G A Cole: Personnel and Human Resource Management: Fifth edition: C & C Offset Printing Co. ltd China. Machington M &Wilkinson A 2006: Human Resource Management at work: 3rd edition. CIPD, London. Michelle Brown and John Benson. Performance appraisal: Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2003. Christopher Mabey: Human Resource Management journal Vol 11. No 1 2001, University of London.
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Performance Appraisal Critique. (2017, Feb 27). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/performance-appraisal-critique/