Performance Appraisal

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There are so many problems with appraisal that they should be abandoned as away of assessing performance

There are so many problems with appraisal that they should be abandoned as away of assessing performance


Everyone has had their performance appraised in some context. The performance appraisal process can be traced back, at least, for many thousands of years. In spite of all of the thought given to this process, many of its flaws are intractable. Quite frankly, most people have been evaluated at work and, according to most anecdotes, find the experience uncomfortable and unproductive. Moreover, those people who evaluate performance generally do not report it as a particularly enjoyable or productive experience. Why do we continue to use performance appraisals if most of our affect toward the process is negative? The primary reason is that these systems are fundamental to a number of important organisational decisions regarding pay, promotion, etc.

Worldwide, performance appraisals are used in nearly all organisations. Corporations use different tools and have a number of goals for performance appraisals, often resulting in some confusion as to the true purpose of performance appraisal systems. However, at its core, the performance appraisal process allows an organisation to measure and evaluate an individual employee's behaviour and accomplishments over a specific period of time (DeVries et al., 2007, pp.22-45)

For centuries, organisations survived quite well without formal performance appraisal systems, which begs the question “Why do formal performance appraisal systems exist?” As organisations evolve toward large organisations with professional management, a more formal performance appraisal system serves as an asset in administrative decision making. Regardless of the system in place, decisions must be made regarding who receives raises and promotions and who is terminated. These decisions are aided by a process that monitors and evaluates an employee's progress and allows for intra-organisational comparisons of individual performance. Thus, the answer is that formal systems simply have replaced informal ones. These formal performance appraisal systems are not perfect and they continue to rely primarily upon human information processing and judgment - imperfect processes, at best.

There are many advantages to using a formal system if performance appraisals are designed and used properly (Murphy and Cleveland 2006, 16-28). It facilitates organisational decisions such as reward allocation, promotions/ demotions, layoffs/recalls, and transfers. It may also assist managers in developing employees. It serves to assist individual employee's decisions regarding career choices and the subsequent direction of individual time and effort. Additionally, performance appraisals may increase employee commitment and satisfaction, due to improvements in organisational communication.

According to The Charted Institute Of Personal Development (CIPD) there are so many issues related to performance appraisal. The CIPD's research covers all aspects of working life, from recruitment to employment law, and work-life balance to productivity. A properly administered performance appraisal system may be an asset to an organisation. However, if the tools and goals of the performance appraisal process are incongruent with organisational goals, the resulting performance appraisal system may, in fact, be a detriment to effective organisational functioning (Barrett 2007, ...
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