Denise Skinner and Rosalind H. Searle INTRODUCTION The management of performance within organizations is widely accepted as being crucial in the achievement of a number of significant outcomes related to organizational success, including the productivity and quality of employees, their commitment and job satisfaction (Ghorpade et al., 1995; Guthrie, 2001; Pettijohn et al., 2001; Kuvaas, 2008), and consequently forms a key component of human resource management (HRM) strategy and practice. It encompasses a range of activities which aim singly, and collectively, at achieving the most effective organizational performance possible through the people employed. The main activities grouped under this heading relate to defining performance, managing performance and the provision of feedback on performance. All of these are complex and potentially contentious areas in their own right, and trust would be a valid issue for consideration under each. For the purposes of this chapter we have chosen to focus on what, for many employees, is the most visible and personal aspect of performance measurement, the performance appraisal system. These systems vary, but common to each is an assessment of an employee’s performance by one or more others which in turn may affect many aspects of that employee’s work life, from rewards through to job security. In the context of appraisal the interaction between the manager and the member of staff is important in identifying shortfalls in current performance, revealing potential development needs, and in creating agreed future objectives. Inevitably, performance appraisals can be a tense and stressful time not only for...
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