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Improving Performance Appraisal at Work

Evolution and Change

Aharon Tziner and Edna Rabenu

Compiling extensive research findings with real insights from the business world, this must-read book on performance appraisal explores its evolution from the classic appraisal to its current form, and the methodology behind its progression. Looking forward, Aharon Tziner and Edna Rabenu emphasize that well-conducted appraisals combine a mixture of classic and current, and are here to stay.
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Chapter 3: Decisions on PA methods

Aharon Tziner and Edna Rabenu


Evaluation of workers’ performance within an organization can be considered the product of three basic systems, which influence its construction, utilization, and consolidation, namely: (1) the appraisal formats, (2) the encounter between the rater and the ratee, and (3) the organizational system and organizational cultural context. The specific processes that occur within each of these systems contribute intrinsically to the ultimate quality and empirical value of the appraisal process. This chapter reviews especially the first system in some detail, namely (1) the processes involved in the construction and operation of a PA system, based on the classic PA measurement formats, and (2) what performance appraisal system (PAS) actually measures. The review includes issues such as adjusting the appraisal system to specific applications and supervisors’ abilities to draw appropriate conclusions from the PA process. Various problems encountered in the process of appraisal are described, as are some suggested solutions. Additionally, we explore types of scales, formats, and systems of performance appraisal, with specific reference to approaches in formulating the criteria for performance appraisal. A major section of this chapter is devoted to an in-depth, critical comparison of two of the most commonly used methods of performance appraisal, namely, behaviorally based rating formats and graphic rating scales. Particular reference is made to their influence on a variety of outcomes that have significance for future employee performance on the job. These include rater/ratee attitudes to PA, rater/ratee relationships, feedback and goal setting, and consequent motivation, goal acceptance and job performance. The predefined objectives of the PAS determine its way of operation and also determine the criteria for PAS to be used, namely, the important role of components identified throughout the job analysis and processed accordingly into the dimensions that describe the behavior and desired results relevant to the job. The criteria are used as dimensions that measure the degree of success of the worker in his or her job. The evaluation criteria relate to the two basic types of performance discussed in Chapter 1, namely, the task performance of particular employees (declarative facets) and their relevant behaviors on the job (contextual facets). Concurrently, performance in relation to the job includes behaviors that contribute to broader organizational goals, for instance voluntary activities (not included in the formal job description) such as facilitating interpersonal communication and assisting conflict reduction, activities that lead to smooth teamwork (Borman and Motowidlo, 1993). The section on performance in relation to the job also includes reference to counterproductive behaviors such as taking office supplies for private use, exaggerating reports of hours worked, and offensive gossip about managers and colleagues.

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