According to Mark Cook’s “Performance Appraisal and True Performance,” there are biases and subjective judgments being made when assessing someone of his performance. What normally occurs is that subjective performance becomes the criteria in the evaluation of the performance namely age, race, gender, and physical appearance. One the other hand, several factors govern for estimation made by the appraiser such as the manager’s attitude and values, the presence of politicking in the organization, the culture of impression management, and undeserved reputation.
Cook affirmed that as a practice in most organizations, true performance is relatively poor for using the above criteria. Similarly, he explained that this problem occurs because the performance rating is not based on objective measures. For this reason, he concluded that performance rating does not measure true performance, and that those organizations that are using this selection method are not “selecting the right people for management…” (p. 7).
Section Two: Key Learning Points
Given the above biases and factors that govern performance rating, there are key learning points that may be derived and used in selection of true performance.
First, performance rating is not a measurement of true performance. Performance rating being utilized in most organization is poor considering that age, race, gender, or appearance does not guarantee true performance. These factors are influenced by the existing culture and belief of the people.
For instance, younger employee may show better performance because of good physical and mental condition; racial discrimination enhances the differences and outlook of managers towards his employees; men are considered tough and authoritative in terms of handling responsibility whereas female may often good at certain kinds of work; attractive physical appearance attracts in such a way that it portrays positive outlook in life that reflects in work performance. However, these aspects cannot give consistent results considering the objective of the appraisal.
Second, based on the presented problem, the current instrument for performance appraisal is highly traditional that even developed countries like UK is facing the same complexity. Failure to select the right personnel will affect the company performance and output therefore, there is a need to reshape or develop a new performance appraisal instrument in such a way that it measures the performance objectively.
Third, performance rating serves for different purposes. Ideally, performance rating or appraisal should be used to measure the competency and proficiency of an employee in relation to the work responsibility. However, because of politicking and personal attitudes of the managers who conduct the appraisal, it turns out that this becomes a means to either encourage or punish an employee. The actual performance is not measured, instead it caters “political considerations or private agendas” (Cook, p. 4). Politicking primarily “contaminates the appraisal rating according to Cook (ibid).
Fourth, performance rating is influenced by superficial action and behavior of an employee; it is substituted by other means, which remain unnoticed by the managers. This is called ingratiation. A manager who cannot notice ingratiating behaviors in his employees, he would likely to give credit to wrong person by giving higher performance rate.
Three manifestations of this behavior are (1) the person wants to be recognized and be given credit for his effort, for his group’s effort or for other people’s effort; (2) doing a lot of things to get his supervisor’s attention and favor; and (3) creates a desirable impression in the eyes of the supervisor by being good. Ingratiation is bad for the company; again, Cook stated that it “contaminates appraisal rating.”
Lastly, it seems that it is really difficult to perform appraisal rating because in the account of performance rating personal biases become the basis in doing so, which gained worldwide acceptance. However, as Cook put it, effective performers are not easy to identify, it is not determined by what a person has obviously done that falls the credit to him. Cook did not suggest anything about the measurement of true performance; instead, he only emphasized the consequences if performance rating as discussed in the text is used as the basis.
Section Three: Agreeable and Disagreeable Statements
The statement “PRs suffer from many biases” is obviously true at certain circumstances but not at all times. It is true that raters are influenced by the standard set by the society as well as personal judgment in assessing one person of his capability and work performance. However, in case of hiring foreign employees, in many cases, the qualification requirement is quite high and the process of consideration takes about months until the applicant passed all the qualifying exams and interviews aside from initial assessment made on his curriculum vitae.
This is possibly true also in hiring local workers where the necessity for hiring competent employees is demanded by the management because of the competition in the business such as in the case of call centers where employees are regularly and periodically evaluated using various means.
Thus, performance rating depends on the type of the business and culture of the corporation. This means that, it takes management action and commitment if they seek to establish a culture of excellence.
Section Four: Critical Analysis of the Article
Cook tried to point out that with the current performance rating the selection method of personnel will adversely affect the “status quo” of the management. Given this findings, Cook suggested a means of performance appraisal that is objective in approach, which he himself is not convinced enough to elaborate the idea how the performance will be assessed, what are the criteria, who will initiate the development of the appraisal, what is the method of implementation, etc. The article is highly convincing but it lacks in substance particularly in the last part where any reader would seek to know what objective appraisal is.
The article tackles many management-related issues in which employee selection is the vital steps towards eliminating some of them. If a manager would read this article, he would draw his attention on his company’s corporate culture that governs the overall attitude and performance of his people. It is likewise necessary that in formulating an innovative and objective performance appraisal, the corporate culture has to be redefined as well.
Section Five: UAE Real Case
In a study conducted in a utility company in UAE regarding job satisfaction and performance of employees, Zeffane, Ibrahim, and Mehairi found out that the two groups of employees (males and females) show significant differences in terms of their job satisfaction and performance. The study revealed that women are less performing than men, which indicates that the former have less satisfaction that affects their performance.
The performance rating used in the study utilized a “job performance criteria” that revealed the work performance of two groups of respondents. The researchers are third party, yet they employed the company’s “employee performance rating system.” The finding perhaps is reliable because the test used criteria and the administration of the test is done objectively by another group of people.
Similarly, the gender issue is another point of consideration in UAE because of the influence of globalization where women’s rights are highly recognized. This is the reason why gender issue is one of the concerns of the researchers especially in relation to their performance.
Section Six: Lesson Learnt
In order for a performance to become effective and reliable, it is important that an instrument that measures performance is made by a credible institution to appraise individual objectively.
Likewise, the administration of the instrument should be done by third party to avoid biases. I made this conclusion because I realize that biases and personal interest or motives of the rater govern the way the appraisal is conducted. This revelation is highly valuable if the company strives for world class standard of excellence. It is important that people’s performance be aligned to the goal and objective of the organization.
Cook, M. (1995). Performance Appraisal and True Performance. Journal of Managerial
Psychology, 10(7) pp. 3-7. USA: MCB University Press.
Zeffane, R., Ibrahim, M., & Al Mehairi. (2008). Exploring the Differential Impact of Job
Satisfaction on Employee Attendance and Conduct: The Case of a Utility Company in the United Arab Emirates. Employee Relations, 30(3) pp. 237 – 250. UAE: Emerald Group Publishing Ltd. http://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContentItem.do;jsessionid=60C46E92FB439FEFD4144ED8611A4C19?contentType=Article&contentId=1722563