360-Degree Feedback in the Appraisal Process – the Present Need for Banks in India

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Tremendous changes have taken place world-wide in the last decade. These changes have had a strong impact on service sectors in India. The world is very different today from what it was a decade ago. Today’s corporate world can be characterized as highly competitive, technology and systems-driven, customer-centered, quick, cost and quality conscious, to survive, one has to compete with those who have technological advantages, financial advantage, systems advantages, communication advantages, and above all, those with people advantage.

Success of the individual in the work place demands collaborative relationships with superior, colleagues and subordinates, and can seldom be adequately assessed solely by the superior. Further, an individual’s personal development process requires objective and constructive feedback on one’s strength and weaknesses. The 360-degree feedback or Multi-rater assessment has become a worldwide phenomenon. It was extensively used as the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad in India form mid eighties though the term 360-degree feedback was coined in USA in early nineties. This tool has become a popular change management tool and leadership competence-building tool. This is evident from the increase in the number of Indian companies adopting it.

Performance appraisal has come to occupy a pivotal place in human resource function. The traditional merit rating which focused on personality traits was replaced by performance appraisal with focus on work results. In order to make appraisal more __________ * Assistant Professor of Commerce, Arignar Anna Government Arts College, Cheyyar – 604 407. E-mail: srini57652@yahoo.co.in

objective, transparent and participative, concepts such as self-appraisal, pear appraisal, subordinate appraisal and appraisal by customers both internal and external were introduced.


360-degree feedback is a process by which an individual gets his/her aggregated feedback from different categories of individuals- seniors (boss, reporting officer, reviewing officer), subordinates, direct and indirect reporters, peers (colleagues and internal customers), external customers and suppliers, and other role/set members with whom he/she is interacting.

The 360-degree feedback process is an important development to enrich human resources, organizational development and training and development. Traditional performance assessment has generally been limited by the perspective of the immediate reporting and reviewing superiors. In contrast, the 360-degree feedback broadens the canvas dramatically. It provides a wider and more realistic forum for frank evaluation by direct reports, peers and others, resulting in new motivation and direction for the people. As a result of this, people can move towards company’s goals more quickly and with greater precision. Though people may express initial apprehension of being assessed by superiors, subordinates, colleagues and others, in actual practice many prefer to be assessed by a group who see their performance from a variety of perspectives, rather than from the limited perspective of their immediate superiors. They find 360-degree feedback as more accurate and fair.

The 360-degree feedback process involves collecting perceptions about a person’s behaviour and the impact of that behaviour from the person’s superiors, direct reports, colleagues, fellow members of project teams, internal and external customers, and suppliers. Multi-source feedback encourages openness and raises expectation, leading people to believe the organizational values, continuous learning and honesty. The 360-degree feedback process should be integrated with the strategic perspective measures derived from the balance scorecard framework.

Most organizations appear to...
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