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.
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.