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The Traditional Performance Appraisal Essay

Performance Appraisal is intended to evaluate the employees’ performances and to measure their respective work efficiency and effectiveness (Martinez, 2001). Generally, the performance of an employee is determined based on the extent he or she contributes in the achievement of the organizational goals. In this connection, every organization utilizes a systematic approach for the performance appraisal because the result of which is frequently the basis for rewards and promotion.

In the same manner, managers, through rewards and promotion, uses performance appraisal to take influence on the behavior of and to direct his or her subordinates towards the attainment of organizational goals. Thus, an efficient appraisal system is crucial in the determination of plausible rationale for training and feedback, promotion and salary increase, counseling and recognition, and even service termination. The Traditional Performance Appraisal As shown in figure 1, the traditional performance appraisal involves the human resource professional, supervisor, employee, co-workers, and the customers.

In Part A, the supervisor gathers feedback on the performance of an employee from his colleagues and the firm’s clients. As indicated by the dashed lines, the input and communication of the supervisor on the employee’s performance has an unofficial nature. The customers’ role in the traditional appraisal system is only limited to the employee-customer direct interaction. As well, the supervisor examines the employee’s goals, job description, and previous work performances. Based on these, the supervisor makes a preliminary assessment of an employee’s performance.

The Part B of the appraisal process shows the multi-step supervisor-employee interactions. Specifically, the supervisor sets a supervisor-employee meeting to evaluate the employee’s job description with respect to the organizational goals. This evaluation, typically, is undertaken on the basis of the employee’s customer service orientation, innovation and creativity, commitment for continuous improvement, technical skills, system contribution and teamwork, communication skills and problem-solving skills. Moreover, the supervisor examines the plan, career progress, and opportunities for professional development of an employee.

Then, the output of this stage is submitted to the Human Resource Department of the organization for review and for the formulation of decision regarding the employee’s recognition or promotion in Part C. Figure 1. The Traditional Performance Appraisal System (Aldakhilallah and Parente, 2002 pg. 43). Advantages of Traditional Performance Appraisal In general, most human resource practitioners employed the traditional performance appraisal for it can generate feedback and provide means to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the employees.

In addition, the traditional performance appraisal is utilized to arrive at a logical basis of giving rewards and promotion to the deserving employees. Furthermore, this appraisal system can also be used in the determination of salary decisions, employee transfer, and even termination. Disadvantages of traditional performance appraisal system Dr. Deming, a proponent of the total quality management or TQM, criticized the traditional performance appraisal. He accused the traditional performance appraisal as one of the major reason behind the management problems of the Western countries.

In particular, he called Management By Objectives or MBO appraisal as “management by fear” and blamed its poor quality which hinder teamwork and cooperation (Aldakhilallah and Parente, 2002). Further, Deming argued that about 85% of the predictors of employee’s performance are beyond the individual’s control and only 15% of these predictors can directly be attributed to individual performance (Aldakhilallah and Parente, 2002). Meanwhile, giving recognition or promotion individually, not as a team, is a counterproductive approach because rewards are susceptible to employee’s misinterpretation.

That is, the traditional system of performance appraisal promotes politics, fears, and rivalry or unhealthy competition among the members of the workforce system. Moreover, this system is prone to measurement errors which pose threats to the reliability and validity of the performance quantification. These reliability and validity-related errors are committed due to: the supervisor’s personally bias with the employee; the supervisor’s tendency to emphasize the most recent performance of the employee; the supervisor’s emphasis on unreasonable personal qualities of the employee; and the supervisor’s negative first impression on the employee.

Impact on Employees In particular, the traditional system of performance appraisal, as primarily controlled by the supervisor, seems one-sided and the employee can hardly influence the outcome of evaluation. Still, since this system does not give an assurance on the input’s sources, the appraisal of the employee’s performance can possibly be prepared on the basis of the supervisor’s judgment. The supervisor then takes control the overall process of performance appraisal and in the end, over the employees.

Hence, the employees will resort to please their supervisor through bribe, gift or personal favors which may eventually lead to unhealthy competition among them. Suggestions for Improvement Deming suggested that quality not quantity, risk-taking, and teamwork not individualism must be made as the cornerstone of any performance appraisal system. As well, the sources of errors in the traditional system must be addressed by formulating standard criteria, approve both by the management and the employee union, on the assessment of work performance.

In line with this, a representative from the employee group and from the human resource management must be given authority to review the objectivity of the evaluation conducted by the supervisor. References Aldakhilallah, K. A. and Parente, D. H. (2002). Redesigning a Square Peg: Total Quality Management Performance Appraisals. Total Quality Management, 13 (1), 39- 51. Martinez, J. (2001). Assessing Quality, Outcome and Performance Management. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO, Department of Organization of Health Services Delivery.


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