Question 1 - James
Do you agree or disagree with the statement: “According to management books and manuals, employee appraisal is an objective, rational, and we hope accurate process.”

Answer: Disagree (see below for supporting info.)

From the lecture powerpoint:
· Cognitive errors, such as halo error, recency error, attribution and self-enhancement theory

According to Longenecker, Sims & Gioia:
The formal appraisal process is a political process and ratings are determined with a political consideration. Raters can and do increase/decrease ratings. Accuracy is not the primary concern in appraising subordinates, rather it is how best to use the appraisal process to motivate and reward subordinates.

Regarding the appraisal process:

· Managers deliberately manipulate formal appraisals for political purposes
· Appraisals are an emotional process as well
· Executives have ulterior motives and purposes that supercede the mundane concern with rating accuracy
· Accuracy is an unattainable objective and a wrong goal to pursue

Politics plays a role in the evaluation process because

· Executives consider the fact that they have live with the subordinate in a day-to-day relationship
· The appraisal results in a permanent written document that will follow the individual around for their career
· The appraisal can impact an individual’s career and advancement

Money is a cause of intentional distortions in ratings

· Pay linkages to the appraisal increase the likelihood ratings will be manipulated
· Ratings are used to reach salary objectives for employees
· Organizations use the appraisal process to control merit increase expenditures.

If an organization is political, then the appraisal process will be political and is influenced by:

· The extent the appraisal process is take seriously by the organization
· The extent higher level executives use political factors in rating subordinates
· Whether the executive believes the appraisal will be seriously scrutinized, reviewed and evaluated by their superiors, if high then political factors will be reduced

Why the appraisal/rating is inflated:

· Concern with whether the rating would be effective in maintaining or increasing future levels of performance
· Distortions are typically in the employee’s favor
· Overall rating determined first and then individual items determined in order to match
· Maximize the merit increase the individual will receive
· Executive feels sorry for a subordinate
· To avoid hanging dirty laundry in public
· Avoid a confrontation
· To encourage higher performance in the future
· To recognize effort even if results are poor
· To promote a problem employee up and out of the executives department

Why the appraisal/rating is deflated:

· Hesitant to do so because it leads to subsequent problems
· To jolt a subordinate to increase future performance
· To teach a subordinate a lesson about who’s in charge
· To send a message that the subordinate should leave the organization
· To build documentation of poor performance for future termination of subordinate

According to Tziner, Murphy & Cleveland
Rating inaccuracy is a deliberate, volitional distortion of performance ratings as a result of supervisor’s feelings of discomfort with the appraisal system and its outcomes and reflect efforts to produce ratings that achieve personal goals.

Attitudes and beliefs about the organization and the appraisal system, as well as rater personality, affect rating behavior and the tendency to assign high or low ratings.

2 Reasons:
1. (Proximal Influences) Rater’s concerns about motivation and ability to appraise subordinates accurately.
a. Self efficacy – the extent the rater believes they have the ability, tools and skills to provide an accurate appraisal. If low self efficacy then the rater is likely to distort the ratings to achieve political goals.
b. Uses of appraisal – is appraisal is used to determine promotions and salary raises, then more likely to be lenient on the appraisal
c. Raters who have a high level of discomfort with the appraisal process will likely inflate ratings to avoid unpleasant consequences with subordinates

2. (Distal Influences) Rater’s attitudes and beliefs about the organization
a. Attitudes toward the organization – committed employees that identify strongly with the organization will most likely make the effort to develop the skills and tools necessary to evaluate a subordinate’s performance effectively.
b. Organizational climate – the relationship between the rater and ratee. For fear of destroying strong interpersonal relationships and lowering team productivity, raters may be hesitant to give low ratings. A cooperative relationship climate should lower conflict among rater and ratee and provide for a more accurate appraisal
c. Organizational citizenship – individuals that work to promote the organizational performance will take greater care in the appraisal process and have less rating inflation
d. Orientation to appraisal system – if it is believed that upper level managers distort the results of the appraisal to increase benefits to their subordinates, then lower level managers will do the same.

Shore & Strauss
· Focused on the influence of the political context on performance ratings. Rating errors (leniency) are attributed to rater’s goal oriented
adaptive behavior, not the inability to provide accurate ratings.

· Goal of the political approach is to achieve a certain agenda by manipulating the performance appraisal
· Political appraisals result on numerous undesirable consequences, leniency being the most common form of rating inaccuracy.
· Raters are likely to adopt personal goals that are consistent with the goals the organization since those in authority are likely to reward those who are supportive of the organization
· If raters believe the organization supports the use of lenient performance ratings then the rater is likely to also inflate ratings consistent with the organization
· Organizational goals that focus on improving employee morale (positive work atmosphere) and retention will result in more lenient performance appraisals (higher ratings) than goals that focus on increasing job performance standards and termination of poor employees (more realistic/lower ratings).
· Requiring raters to justify their appraisals to superiors will increase the accuracy
· Organizations that do not encourage ethical appraisals tend to have a more political appraisal process