Performance Appraisal

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‘The problems associated with performance appraisal systems can be overcome by improvements to their design and implementation’. Discuss with reference to the orthodox and radical critiques of performance appraisal.

Introduction
Performance appraisal is an opportunity for an employee or those employees who are concerned with their performance, to get engaged in a dialogue with their reporting supervisors about their performance and development and the support required from their reporting supervisors to improve their performance. Performance appraisal is an important part of the performance management strategy. Performance appraisal is only one of the aspects of the performance management process. Since, performance appraisal is carried out by the line manages rather than the HR professionals it is very important for them to understand their role in managing overall performance of employees in their organisation. It is very important for line managers to identify that performance appraisal is not just about assessing the past but also about driving behaviour that will sustain performance in the future (CIPD factsheet; May 2011). This essay will attempt to describe the problems associated with performance appraisal systems and how can organisations overcome the problem by improvements to their design and implementation in reference with the orthodox and the radical critiques of performance appraisal. The orthodox critique

An elemental, and the most common problem, is that the appraisal process is used for a variety of conflicting purposes (Strebler et al. 2001; Wilson 2002).Performance appraisal can be used to motivate employees to improve their performance by ascertaining clear objectives for future and also letting them know what is expected out of them. This is completely in contrast with the appraisal system that concerns distribution of rewards based on assessment of past performance. In this type of performance appraisal the appraiser is forced to adopt conflicting roles, and has to become both monitor and evaluator of performance, but also as a considerate counsellor. (Managing Human Resources: 2005). As a general assumption employees are not likely to confide in their appraiser their limitations and anxieties about their job as they feel that it might impact their future ratings and indirectly hinder their chances of promotion in future. There are several problems related to this critique, ‘halo effect’ is one of them when an employee is appraised on the basis of only one attribute despite of a particular stated criterion. The second problem is of the managers where they are hesitant to differentiate between the appraisees and do not want to be overly lenient or too harsh, and the third problem is the ‘recency bias’ where the line managers generally tend to appraise the employees based on the recent past, regardless of how their performance might have been over the entire year. Appraisal interview is also influenced by gender and ethnic origins of the appraise. Radical critique

This critique tries to focus on understanding of actual workplace appraisals instead of how appraisal can operate effectively. It observes a radical ideology concerned to examine managerial objectives, that is tighter control over behaviour and performance and it tries to control all aspects of employee behaviour and eliminate the scope for employee resistance. It allows manager’s discretion to promote the favoured individuals. Foucault’s(1981) conception of power , with appraisal used by managers as a form of disciplinary gaze which go together with other forms of electronic and personal observation found in the call centres and the like. It presents new opportunities for management monitoring and discipline. The underlying principle of appraisal is the examination of employee and the ‘learning’ that can take place through ‘sharing’ of difficulties and it my benefit the employees very little. The appraiser should not be someone who...
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