Monday, March 7, 2011

Drawbacks of Performance Appraisal

A number of criticisms have been raised against the performance appraisal system. This paper will categorize these criticisms in the following categories: Biased appraisal; Focuses on the past; Inconsistency; Individualistic oriented; subjective; Limited definition of a human being; master-servant relationship and inconsistency.
Biased Appraisal

Managers and employees dislike and distrust performance appraisal system. They believe that the system is unfair (Mulins, etal (1994). Their beliefs might actually be not far from the truth, especially since the performance appraisal is susceptible to the following biases: halo effect, primacy –recency effect; central tendency and nepotism and other form of discrimination.
An appraisal is dubbed biased if its results are influenced not by the performance measured, but by other external factors. Such external factors in this regard, include:
Halo effect

The Halo effect can be defined as the decision that is influenced by one factor that either interests or frustrates the appraiser the most. It can also be caused by the appraiser’s stereotypes, attitudes and beliefs. For example, appraisers who beliefs that employees who leave the office late everyday are hard workers tend to rate an employees they see everyday leaving work four hours later as high fliers in performance. Those appraiser that believe that employees whose heads are dreadlocked are stubborn tend to rate all dreadlocked employees low on obedience and responsive to instructions.
Halo effect can also be caused by the rater basing his total rating of an employee on one job behavior that annoyed him and fascinated him the most. For example an electrician who blew up the Koepe Hoist fuse one day is rated very low on job performance simply because the appraiser was summoned to the General Manager for an explanation on that day.
Primacy –Regency effect

This is the tendency by human mind to remember the events that took place first and last in a series of different activities. This tendency affects performance appraisal system when managers tend to remember job related events that took place either at the beginning of the appraisal period or at the end (or both) but forget events that took place in the middle of the period. The appraiser goes on to make a conclusion based on those events he can remember and not taking into account other important events. It is particularly unfair for an employee who excelled through out the year but failed terribly on a task he was assigned by the appraiser towards the end of the appraisal period. Under the influence of recency effect, this employee is marked very low.

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