The history of performance appraisal in the literature is quite recent. Its roots in the early 20th century can be traced to Taylor's pioneering time and motion studies, which interestingly also sets the beginning of the goal-setting theory. But this may not be very helpful, for the same can be said about almost everything in the field of modern Human Resources Management. Yet in a broader sense, the practice of appraisal is a very ancient art. In the scale of history, it might well deserve claim to being the world's second oldest profession. As Albert Camus wrote, "we should not wait for the last judgment - it takes place every day". Making judgments about those one is working with, as well as about oneself, is a basic human tendency. As a result, it seems appraisal is both inevitable and universal. Indeed, in the absence of a carefully structured system of appraisal, people will tend to judge the work performance of others, including subordinates, naturally, informally and arbitrarily. Thus, to avoid such injustice, a formal system of performance appraisal is needed to ensure, or at least to aim at ensuring, lawful, fair, defensible and accurate judgments.
[...] Finally, the paper critically assesses the similarities and differences in the major claims of both theories with regard to the design of a performance appraisal system. What is performance appraisal? Defining performance appraisal requires defining what a performance is in the first place. A performance can be assimilated to a direct outcome or contribution to what an employer values. Consequently, performance appraisal is the comparison of achievement against goals or objectives and on assessment of competencies (Mitchell, Thompson, George-Falvy, 2000). [...]
[...] Specifically, it has to do with the fact that a certain type of goal, the learning goal, helps employees acquire the knowledge to understand and apply what they are doing. For complex tasks, setting goals based on one's knowledge stimulates the development of task strategies to complete those tasks. Seijts and Latham illustrate their stance with the example of the Weyerhaeuser Company. This firm discovered that unionized truck drivers who had been assigned a specific high-performance goal in terms of the number of trips per day from the logging site to the mill started to work "smarter rather than harder". [...]
[...] Roberts (2003) further declares that effective goal setting in the appraisal process consists of performance goals that are specific, moderately difficult and accepted. However, as Hansen (2003) concludes from his research, traditional goal-setting theory would put more emphasise on measurement, evaluation and documentation of the realised performance. This view is echoed by Marsden (2003) who underlines in his research the importance of clear objective setting in motivating people, rather than a vague your best”. On the other hand, expectancy theory stresses the interest of the employee in performing a task. [...]
[...] The differences between the impacts of goal setting and expectancy theories have thus narrowed, and scholars from both sides now promote a third approach, which revolves around job enrichment. In simple words, job enrichment places emphasise on both the importance of the goal and the outcome for the employee, with the aim of improving productivity and job satisfaction. This approach combines the main claim of each theory, but also goes beyond a simple addition by ultimately providing employees with more autonomy and knowledge. [...]
[...] A., (1978), Ubiquity of the Technique of Goal Setting in Theories of and Approaches to Employee Motivation”, Academy of Management Review, July issue. Locke, E. A., Bryan, J. F. (1969) Directing Function of Goals in Task Performance”, Organizational Behavior & Human Performance, Feb69, Vol Issue pp35-42 Locke, E. A., Latham, G., P., (2002), “Building a Practically useful Theory of Gaols-Setting and Task Motivation a 35-year Odyssey”, American Psychologist, Vol No Longenecker, C., Ludwig, D., (1990) “Ethical Dilemmas in Performance Appraisal Revisited” Journal of Business Ethics; Vol Issue 12, pp961-969 Marsden, D., (2003), “Renegotiating Performance: the Role of Performance Pay in Renegotiating the Effort Bargain”, published by Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science. [...]
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