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Aharon Tziner and Edna Rabenu

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Aharon Tziner and Edna Rabenu

These days, we are aware that increasingly more organizations are employing teams to conduct projects, while the contributions of individuals per se is less prominent. As a result, team performance appraisal (TPA) becomes our concern. In this respect, a number of questions then arise, including: What determines the team performance? What are the dimensions relevant to team performance? Who should perform the team assessment and how? How do we treat the differential contributions of individual team members versus the overall output of the team? How is feedback performed? How do we reward individual team members when evaluating total performance? To these questions we now turn.

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Aharon Tziner and Edna Rabenu

In this introductory chapter, we examine key phrases and concepts that apply to the field of work performance, such as ‘performance’, ‘appraisal’, and ‘job evaluation’, among others. We briefly touch on the factors that contribute to an employee’s performance at work, the essential necessity of performance appraisal in the workforce, and some of the challenges and pitfalls encountered in attempting to reach objective appraisals of an employees’ respective inputs to the productivity of their organizations.

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Aharon Tziner and Edna Rabenu

In this chapter, we take a critical look at the arguments expressed by both advocates and protagonists of performance appraisal in the workplace, with a view to the future. We critically assess and extract from both sides of the debate those elements of the discussion that provide pointers for the future while rejecting arguments based on clichés, generalizations, or lack of empirical data. Several themes are addressed, the thrust of which is that despite the public debate concerning the credibility of PA, performance appraisal, in one form or another, is here to stay.

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Aharon Tziner and Edna Rabenu

The performance appraisal system (PAS), designed primarily to evaluate employees’ performance and to provide them with constructive feedback, should consequently lead to improved employee performance and their enhanced future potential and value to the company. Ultimately, in a well-conducted PAS, the evaluation process can confer on employees many benefits related to their progress in the organization. The appraisal process also serves management in relation to the optimal exploitation of employees’ knowledge and skills, by providing pointers in relation to the employees’ future in the company and, in general, by indicating where management strategy in relation to its employees can be improved as the company moves forwards. A consideration of the number of conferred functions that PAS serves organizations, as described in this chapter, enables managers to see the great potential value in the performance appraisal system. Clearly, the more management defines the goals of the performance appraisal in clear and unambiguous terms, the more likely it can select the appropriate measuring techniques (or performance management strategies) that can be applied to achieving those goals. Defining the goals for which the PAS will be used is critical, not only so that appropriate methodologies will be applied to the execution of the evaluation, but also because these goals can conflict with each other and lead to ambiguous or untenable results (Cleveland, Murphy, and Williams, 1989; Murphy and Cleveland, 1995). In this respect, it is useful for management to make a clear distinction between the possible employments of PAS to further goals related to (1) individual employees’ accountability, in contradistinction to (2) goals related to management’s administrative (developmental) purposes.

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Aharon Tziner and Edna Rabenu

A continuous theme of our discussion has been that current models of performance appraisal point to both the intrinsic nature of the appraisal system and its organizational context as critical dimensions for a clear understanding of the rating process. Adler et al. (2016) note that one of the non-performance, contextual, determinants of performance ratings most extensively studied was the political use of rating (Cleveland and Murphy, 1992; Longenecker, Sims, and Gioia, 1987; Murphy and Cleveland, 1995; Tziner and Murphy, 1999; Tziner, Prince, and Murphy, 1997). Indeed, more than the questions of appraisal accuracy or organizational concomitants, evidence piled up in the literature that rating inaccuracy has more to do with the deliberate, volitional distortion of performance ratings than was previously recognized. The empirical data indicates that these deliberate rating distortions occur because of supervisors’ feelings of discomfort with the appraisal system and its outcomes, and reflect their conscious efforts to produce ratings that will achieve personal goals. Such manipulative behaviors can be subsumed under the heading of organizational politics, which forms the basis of this chapter.

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Aharon Tziner and Edna Rabenu

Having established our viewpoint that performance appraisal systems (PASs) are here to stay, in this chapter we identify what we regard as two examples of essential future research directions and practice in performance appraisal, the ultimate goal of which is the search for ways to improve performance ratings that lead (directly or indirectly) to enhanced employee satisfaction and motivation and performance in the workplace. In the light of the shifting road map of performance appraisal (PA) research and practice, and the associated comments interspersed throughout this volume (including the tenuous nature of the new-age evaluation strategies), we have taken a guarded, yet optimistic position on the future role of performance ratings (within the context of performance management best practices), that lead us to argue for fresh approaches to this challenge. Moving forward, we reaffirm that management should address its key questions concerning employee evaluation in the larger context of defining the performance appraisal mission, its ultimate goals, and the means to achieve them for the betterment of the workforce and society as a whole. Thus, future research will, and must, go beyond the relatively narrow search for rating format criteria; the research will need to incorporate a multitude of factors, many of which we have touched upon in this book. In the vein of this discussion, we conclude our volume by presenting two innovative, conflicting approaches to the status of the individual in the appraisal system. The first, presented by DeNisi and Smith (2014), argues that in future research on performance management systems (PMSs), individual-level performance as the major dependent variable (‘the research on which has been exhausted’) should be abandoned in favor of research on the intermediary processes and practices that influence firm-level outcome – and the authors discuss further how this might be achieved. In sharp contrast, Rabenu and Tziner (2016) present a model of informal performance appraisal that is a personalized performance appraisal (PPA) – based on the notion from positive psychology that every employee has individual strengths and virtues – that is amenable and appropriate to the constant changes in organizations’ structure, in particular, and to the work world, in general. The paper describes the rationale behind the model and research findings to support the propositions and the positive effects upon worker motivation and performance. Beyond its substantive content and contribution to the literature, this latter paper serves a critical purpose in the context of this volume: it finally brings us back to where we started, namely, the place of the individual worker, that very important individual that we touched upon in our opening chapter – our revered employee – who almost got lost in the turbulence of argumentation and research over the decades and in the shuffle of our pages. A fitting finale, Rabenu and Tziner’s proposal is in many ways a microcosm of the themes discussed in this volume. This forward-thinking proposal is, in the authors’ view, an example of the type of new thinking necessary in the changing atmosphere in the workplace. The proposal, they argue, is a prototype that finds a balance between the old and the new, between the individual and the collective (the firm). The authors conclude with the hope and trust that this volume, in general, and the PPA model, in particular, have left the reader with food for thought and the impetus to generate new ideas and prototype proposals among both researchers and practitioners. And this, ‘for the sake of the complete enterprise that is our conglomerate of businesses, companies and corporations, and for the good of society as a whole’.

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Aharon Tziner and Edna Rabenu

In the last chapter, we observed that there are some notable differences between the rating scales with respect to their individual effects on ratees’ perceptions of the quality and fairness of the PAS, despite the general conclusion often drawn from Landy and Farr’s (1980) review of performance appraisal research that rating scales probably do not have a great effect on the quality of rating data. Notably, however, in our introductory chapter and in our historical review, we alluded to the fact that there are a number of other variables that impinge on the success of performance appraisal that caught the attention of the research community at different periods. In the following chapter we shall review these areas; they include organizational and external, contextual factors, and the social (political) context in which the ratings are collected.

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Lei Yang, Danae Manika and Frances Bowen

Previous research shows that organisations and employees usually perform green practices and activities superficially. Those behaviours are decoupled from the true benefits on the environment and very often are symbolic in nature. Symbolic pro-environmental activities are suggested as the representations of pro-environmental behaviours in symbolic form or the symbolic meanings attributed to eco-friendly objects and actions. This chapter aims to establish an integrated multi-level framework with three dimensions: appropriateness, competitiveness and status, to explain drivers of symbolic pro-environmental behaviours at organisational and employee levels. Specifically, the competitiveness dimension includes two aspects: gain resources and differentiation.

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Deniz S. Ones, Brenton M. Wiernik, Stephan Dilchert and Rachael M. Klein

We describe a taxonomy of diverse types of workplace behaviours that contribute to, or detract from, environmental sustainability goals in organisational settings. The Green Five taxonomy was developed using critical incidents methodology and includes five major content-based meta-categories of employee green behaviours (EGBs): Transforming, Avoiding Harm, Conserving, Influencing Others, and Taking Initiative. We discuss the behavioural and psychological meanings of these meta-categories, as well as their sub-categories. We also highlight key features of the Green Five taxonomy (e.g., it is content-based, it incorporates both positive and negative behaviours, it integrates with general models of job performance). Finally, we review existing measures of employee green behaviours in terms of their coverage of the employee green behaviour construct domain, and identify future directions for research and applications.