the delima of performance appraisal

Topics: Human resource management, Management, Performance appraisal Pages: 18 (4732 words) Published: September 24, 2013
The dilemma of performance appraisal
Peter Prowse and Julie Prowse

Peter Prowse is based at
the School of Management,
University of Bradford,
Bradford, UK. Julie Prowse
is based at the School of
Health Studies, University
of Bradford, Bradford, UK.

Purpose – This paper aims to evaluate the aims and methods of appraisal, and the difficulties encountered in the appraisal process.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper uses a review of the literature to evaluate the development of appraisals and argues that the critical area of line management development that was identified as a critical success factor in appraisals has been ignored in the later literature evaluating the effectiveness of performance appraisals.

Findings – The review identifies the lack of theoretical development in appraisal and argues the psychological approach of analysis and a more critical realisation of appraisal, re-evaluating the challenge to remove subjectivity and bias in judgement of appraisal. Research limitations/implications – Further evaluation of key interpersonal skills is required for appraisal systems to develop performance.

Practical implications – The use and design of performance pay in public and private services linked to appraisal have not always improved organisational performance and can contribute to reduced motivation.

Originality/value – Little research has evaluated the current increases in using appraisals and the changes in focus from appraisal to performance management. The paper adds value to the existing body of knowledge and offers insights for practitioners and researchers. Keywords Performance appraisal, Performance measurement (quality), Performance related pay Paper type Literature review

This article will define and outline performance management and appraisal. It will start by evaluating what form of performance is evaluated, then establish links to the development of different performance traditions (psychological tradition, management by objectives, motivation and development). It will outline the historical development of performance management then evaluate high performance strategies using performance appraisal. It will then evaluate the continuing issue of subjectivity and ethical dilemmas regarding the measurement and assessment of performance. The article then examines how organisations measure performance before evaluating the research on recent trends in performance appraisal.


The authors would like to thank
the Editor and the anonymous
referees for their helpful
comments and suggestions.

DOI 10.1108/13683040911006800

This article evaluates the historical development of performance appraisal from management-by-objectives (MBO) literature before evaluating the debates on the linkages between performance management and appraisal. It will outline the use of performance management as a method for managing individual performance in organisations. The techniques used to increase organisational commitment and job

VOL. 13 NO. 4 2009, pp. 69-77, Q Emerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 1368-3047





satisfaction will be critically evaluated. It will also examine the transatlantic debates on efficiency and effectiveness in the North American and UK literature and the contribution of performance appraisal to individual and organisational performance.

Use of performance appraisal
Performance appraisal is potentially a key tool for organisations to make the most of their human resources and the use of appraisal is widespread. An estimated 80-90 per cent of organisations in the USA and UK use appraisals, and there has been an increase from 69 per cent to 87 per cent of organisations between 1998 and 2004 using formal performance management systems (Armstrong and Baron, 2005).

Between 1998 and 2004 a survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development of 562 firms found 506 were using...

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