Reading 1 hour


Questions 1 - 8

Look at the sentences below and at the five extracts from a book about staff appraisals and feedback on the opposite page .

Which new item (A, B, C ,D or E) dose each statement 1 - 8 refer to ?

For each statement 1 - 8 , make one letter(A, B, C ,D or E) on your Answer Sheet . You will need to use some of these letters more than once .

1 Genuine feedback would release resources to be used elsewhere.
2 Managers are expected to enable their staff to work effectively.
3 Experts are unlikely to facilitate a move to genuine feedback.
4 There are benefits when methods of evaluating performance have been negotiated.
5 Appraisals tend to focus on the nature of the face-to-face relationship between employees and their line managers.
6 The idea that employees are responsible for what they do seems reasonable.
7 Despite experts' assertion, management structures prevent genuine feedback
8 An increasing amount of effort is being dedicated to the appraisal process.


Performance appraisal is on the up and up. It used to represent the one time of year when getting on with the work was put on hold while enormous quantities of management hours were spent in the earnest ritual of rating and ranking performance. Now the practice is even more frequent. This of course makes it all the more important how appraisal is conducted. Human resources professionals claim that managers should strive for objectivity and thus for feedback rather than judgement. But the simple fact of the matter is that the nature of hierarchy distorts the concept of feedback because performance measure are conceived hierarchically. Unfortunately, all too many workers suffer from the injustices that this generates.


The notion behind performance appraisal- that workers should be held accountable for their performance-is plausible. However, the evidence suggests that the premise is wrong. Contrary to assumptions appraisal is not an effective means of performance improvement- it is judgement imposed rather than feedback, a judgement imposed by the hierarchy. Useful feedback , on the other hand, would be information that told both the manager and worker how well the work system functioned, and suggested ways to make it better.


 Within the production system at the car manufacturer Toyota, there is nothing that is recognizable as performance appraisal. Every operation in the system has an associated measure. The measure has been worked out between the operators and their manager. In every case, the measure is related to the purpose of the work. That measure is the basis of feedback to the manager and worker alike. Toyota's basic idea is expressed in the axiom "bad news first" . Both managers and workers are psychologically safe in the knowledge that it is the system- not the worker -that is the primary influence on performance. It is management's responsibility to ensure that the workers operate in a system that facilitates their performance.


In many companies , performance appraisal springs from misguided as assumptions. To judge achievement, managers use date about each worker's activity, not an evaluation of the process or system's achievement of purpose. The result is that performance appraisal involves managers' judgement overruling their staff's, ignoring the true influences on performance. Thus the appraisal experience becomes a question of pleasing the boss, particularly in meetings, which is psychologically unsafe and socially driven, determining who is "in" and who is " out".


When judgement is replaced by feedback in the true sense, organizations will have a lot more time to devote to their customers and their business. No time will be wasted in appraisal . This requires a fundamental shift in the way we think about the organization of performance appraisals, which almost certainly will not be forthcoming from the human resources profession.