Performance Appraisal Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Performance Appraisal

Causes of Performance Appraisal

Steps Leading to Performance Appraisal

Performance Appraisal

Data Analysis and Interpretation

This research paper aims to conduct a study regarding the effectiveness of performance appraisals and the issues accompanying performance appraisals.


Performance appraisal" is a term used for evaluating performance of employees in an organization. The purpose behind performance appraisal is firstly, to rate an employee's performance on the job. Secondly, these appraisals are conducted to determine whether employees have achieved the goals they were required to. Moreover, performance appraisals not only measure the achievement of individual employee goals but also the goals of the organization at large. However it cannot be ignored that performance appraisals are highly subjective in nature, depending a lot upon an individual's view of a situation, the employer-employee relationship, etc. It was for these reasons primarily, that performance appraisals are usually avoided by even large, well-established organizations even though they appear extremely attractive in terms of the benefits that they deliver.

This research paper aims to conduct a study regarding the effectiveness of performance appraisals and the issues accompanying performance appraisals.

Statement of the Problem

This brings us to the problems that are associated with conducting performance appraisals. The process usually starts at the middle management level where it is the job of a middle manager to appraise his subordinates or employees who are under him. In fact at every successive hierarchical level, the superiors are asked to evaluate the employees who are working under them. This can give rise to many issues that make performance appraisals an unpleasant task. As a result many managers view the task of conducting a performance appraisal as time consuming and burdensome. To begin with, performance appraisals can cause friction, resentment and the consequent low morale. Since appraisals are rather subjective in nature, they cannot be disputed in case of negative ones. Moreover the appraisals sometimes might be colored by the status of personal relationships in form of prejudice. However unfair as the appraisals might be, there is no way an employee can contest the superior's view of him. This causes resentment. Furthermore, employers sometimes feel pressurized to give a good appraisal in order to avoid confrontation or any friction in the existent work environment. Apart from these problems, appraisals also take up extra time and effort on the manger's part. Hence all of these issues combine to generate an unpleasant connotation to the term "performance appraisal." Burdensome as they may be performance appraisals and performance appraisal systems that are properly designed and implemented are a reflection of the achievement of an organization's goals and objectives. Therefore it can be concluded that the failure to implement an effective performance appraisal system often leads to no relationship existing between the performance appraisal and the achievement of organizational goals and objectives.


The achievement of organizational goals and objectives can be measured in part by effective performance appraisals.

Research Questions

The research aims to determine the answers to the following questions: do performance appraisals encourage employees to have an increased work ethic that will ultimately affect organizational goals and objectives? Do employee performance appraisals increase/decrease job performance? And do valid performance appraisal instruments effectively measure or rate employee performance?


In order to conduct a balanced study, the following have been assumed to be the constants: Performance appraisals will suggest that employees tend to work harder when being evaluated, effective performance appraisals increase job performance and employees want performance appraisals conducted.



Cause of Performance Appraisal: Performance Management

The primary reason behind implementing effective performance appraisals is the need to manage employee performance in order to reach the organizational goals. Performance appraisal is one of the methods of leading and managing employees within the context of their performance. This is why performance appraisals are given so much importance when it comes to managing and enhancing employee performance.

A good performance management system however does not rest on any one fixed point. It is an evolving system that requires be constantly tending to and updating at regular intervals. However a performance management system cannot control all factors that may lead to improving or effectively gauging employee performance. Therefore the factors that affect employee performance can be roughly classified into two groups: internal and external. Internal factors are those over which the organization has influence and control. These range from job descriptions and employee selection to morale issues and work environment. External factors are those over which the organization has little or no control. These factors are funding for salaries, job classifications, and jurisdictional-wide procedures. However there are cases where organizations try to minimize the impact of the external factors on an employee's performance by working on the internal factors over which they have substantial control. For instance, "the Mecklenburg County (Charlotte, North Carolina) Department of Environmental Protection (MCDEP) uses a multidirectional approach to performance appraisal and rewards, beginning with the hiring process and continuing on a day-to-day basis" (Barry, 1997).

Steps Leading to Performance Appraisal

Much before the performance appraisal, comes the issue of determining job responsibilities. This is because an employee's performance cannot be assessed if his job has not been adequately described since there would be no yardstick to go by. Therefore determining correct job responsibilities and classification is the first, and one of the most important issues to be considered. It is also the point where compensation in the form of initial salary range is determined. Hence determining job responsibilities has multi-pronged importance. It is important to note here that in order for performance appraisal to be successful, each job description must show not only job responsibilities and required education and expertise, but also the goals and objectives of the department specifically and the organization generally.

The second step before a performance appraisal system can be established, is the selection or recruitment of potential employees. This also is a multi-step process. In the recent years, a new trend has developed whereby organizations recruit employees through a three- step process. This process begins with a written test conducted in a mass setting. The test is designed to determine if potential candidates have the basic ability and intelligence level to perform the basic skills required for the job. It also allows the organization an insight into each candidate's individual traits. This process ensures that the organization would not have any basic problems with the employee's performance later on. This test is then followed by an interview once a candidate has cleared the test. This interview determines an employee's fitness for a job where he is interviewed by the related superiors. Once a candidate is deemed fit at the interview level, he is asked to join with an initial training period.

Performance Appraisal

After the training has ended and the employee has spent a substantial time at a job, which is usually six months at least, he is considered a candidate for performance appraisal. Therefore the performance appraisals are usually of two kinds: one is conducted at the end of a probation period where the employee is assessed on the basis of time period that he has spent on his job. This initial performance appraisal is conducted to determine if an employee is fit for the continuation of his job. In event of a positive appraisal at this point, an employee becomes a permanent member of an organization's workforce. This brings us to the second type of performance appraisal, which is conducted at pre-determined intervals and therefore is a regular affair. This type of appraisal is conducted to measure an employee's performance within the context of pre-set organizational goals and objectives. There are other associated reasons as well. A performance appraisal is also conducted as an incentive to increasing employee's job performance. Therefore an appraisal is a multi-dimensional activity affecting many aspects of organizational goals and objectives (Levinson, 1970; Locke and Latham, 1990; Mount and Thompson, 1987; Stonich, 1984). Furthermore periodic performance evaluations are multipurpose tools for management control. This study aims to determine whether performance appraisals help in enhancing job performance, affect work ethic and effectively measure employee performance. For this purpose, various research studies that have already been conducted in this regard have been chosen to determine the above mentioned concerns.

Numerous researchers have addressed the effectiveness of performance appraisal in enhancing job performance, maintaining work ethic and measuring employee performance on the job. It is generally agreed that if performance appraisals are accurate, objective and free of any prejudicial intent, they yield superior outcomes for individual employees as well as the entire organizations (Landy and Farr, 1980; Mount and Thompson, 1987; Nathan and Alexander, 1985; Smith, 1986). Yet other researches have linked the benefits of performance appraisals with various external factors. (Dipboye and de Pontbriand, 1981; Fulk et. al., 1985; Greenberg, 1986; Goodson and McGee, 1990). However those factors lie outside the relevance of this study.

There has been substantial study in the field of employee participation in determining personal objectives for performance appraisals. It…

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