Performance Management System in V&a Museum a Report

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Diptanu Bhattacharya

Executive Summary

The Victoria & Albert is Britain’s national museum of art and design. It was founded in 1852 as the Museum of Manufactures was renamed the Museum of Ornamental Art in 1853 and opened as the South Kensington Museum in 1857. Queen Victoria conferred the name “Victoria and Albert Museum” in 1899. The whole study is based on the effectiveness and efficiency of a present appraisal system and the introduction of a new approach towards performance management by the head of personnel Gillian Henchley in 1990. A new process voiced the expectations and opinions of the staff at work. A few key terms were also clearly defined to augment the functioning of the system. The basis however was multiparty interaction in the form of evaluator and evaluee. The competency assessment was also sub-divide on the organizational, management and individual basis for the senior managers. In a nut shell the idea was to understand performance, performance culture and the focus on activities embodied in Victoria and Albert Museum.


The Case describes about the performance appraisal which is being followed at the Victoria and Albert museum, a multicultural organization with diverse work force. The HR system has to recognize this diversity and help to achieve a one nation environment. The appraisal system being used by the V & A was standard Civil Service appraisal system which was very badly used. Then a staff opinion survey was conducted with people having to answer what they felt about the existing pay and grading scheme and they wanted in the future to achieve a fair pay system. The prime objective of the process to be designed was a fair performance management system with clarity of standards, objectives and application of the outcome. The outline drawn for assessing the performance of employees and for the assessor comprised on a fair play basis. The overall outcome of the whole action strategy aimed towards achieving a multi dimensional perfection.

Case Analogy: The process followed in V & A had got some merits & demerits both. Now looking at the merits we see the following:

• Civil appraisal system didn’t entertain any open or both ended communication between assessor & assessed. But the new system comprised of an open ended discussion and evaluation system.

• The constraint to the appraisal system lies in the fact that the impartial appraisal of the assessed was not done.

• The assessor did not consult the assessed while doing the appraisal & the assessor may not be good in writing the appraisal. This was rectified in the later system implemented.

• He or she may show biasness towards the employees.


The available alternatives to the newly appointed personnel head, Gillian Henchley, at Victoria & Albert Museum could be classified only according to the organization’s structure, working culture & objectives. It is quite clear from the case that V & A had prime features like

• Multicultural
• Non discreet staffing.
• Diversity of objectives and activities
• Balance between scholarship and public access
So, according to our opinion the best possible performance appraisal techniques could have been:

I. Critical incident technique: Under this method, the manager prepares lists of statements of every effective and ineffective behavior of an employee. These critical incident or events represents the outstanding or poor behavior of employees on the job. The manager maintains logs on each employee whereby he periodically records critical incidents of the workers’ behavior. At the end of the rating period, these recorded critical incidents are used in the evolution of the workers’ performance. This method provides an objective basis for conducting a thorough discussion on an employee’s performance.

II. Behaviorally anchored ratings scale: Also known as behavioral expectation scale, this method represents the...
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