Performance Management Theory informing practice


Performance measurement is a common practice in sports, business, government or not-profit organizations. At individual level, it starts being early used within the school grading system, where accordingly to the performance obtain in different subjects, the child is graded and the results are compared with the others performance.


This is also very much applied in sports, due to the competitive nature of the activity. For example, in baseball numerous measures are used in order to assess the performance of individual players, recording and analyzing where in the field each hitter's ball lands during a season and using the dispersion as an indicator of when time has come to trade the player.


Performance measurement is often needed in order to monitor results, track performance and improvement. However, performance measurement / appraisal /review at individual level has been criticized due to several reasons:


  • A survey realized by the Society for Human Resources Management found that more than 90% of the appraisal systems are not successful (Coens, T, Jenkins, M, 2001).
  • Farr and Jacobs (2006) attested that performance appraisals "can not have credibility as an organizational process and system unless it can be demonstrated that the organization and the individuals within it gain valued information from its use.”
  • It is still debated as to whether the criteria used within individual performance reviews should be purely performance related or include competences and capabilities (Smither, 1998).
  • Efficiency and productivity measurement can generate negative behaviors, such as cutting quality in favor of quantity (Grizzle, 2002).
  • Assessing only individual performance, without considering important factors influencing these results, such as process or system's achievement of purpose, can generate misleading conclusions. Performance appraisal can become very easy a judgment of one over another and can turn into pleasing the boss, psychologically unsafe and socially driven, determining who is 'in' and who is 'out' (Seddon, 2003).
  • The nature of hierarchy can distort the concept of feedback into judgment. Therefore appraisal may not be an effective mean of performance improvement, often becoming more a judgment rather than feedback.
  • It is a time consuming process, for both management and employees.
  • Intuitively presented in the image below, employees might not know their specific goals and expected performance, therefore unless prepared in advance as a complete procees, performance appraisal may not succeed in reaching its purpose.



Individual : Theory informing practice


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