An investigation into employee perceptions and experience of performance appraisal in the public sector

Rademan, Desmond John (2000-04)

Thesis (MComm)--Stellenbosch University, 2000.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: While the current trend among a number of organisations is to integrate performance appraisal with performance management systems or even 'replace' it with performance management systems, it is still an extremely highly utilised process. The probable reason for this, is that the major use of performance appraisal is as a management tool whereby the quality of personnel decisions can be enhanced when an effective system is in place. Ideally the use of a formal process, focused on objective, job orientated criteria, will empower management to make meaningful decisions which will not only be to the benefit of individual workers but will contribute to the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the organisation. Apart from the fact that it is used as a management tool, other major objectives of performance appraisal are to determine the administrative and developmental needs of individuals in the interests of their own progress and development as well as that of the organisation. There are therefore, two fundamental parties involved in appraisal, being the appraisee and the appraiser and it is inevitable that the approach to, or the perception of the subject should be different in some, or many ways. Aspects such as utility, fairness, ethics, motivation, accuracy, validity, rating errors, effectiveness and feedback, should therefore be examined in more detail in order to determine where specific problem areas may lie. Serious perceptual differences concerning the process will surely create obstacles and eventually lead to an inefficient system. The aim of this study was to determine the extent to which differing perceptions playa role in the acceptance or rejection of the appraisal system in general terms and specifically in terms of the aspects mentioned above, from the point of view of subordinates and supervisors. The diagnostic instrument used in this study was adapted from those of Mount (1983) (named the Leadership Analysis Questionnaire) and Ie Roux (1989) to include aspects which are more in line with features of the performance appraisal system unique to the participating organisation. Two different forms of questionnaires were used in this study. One was designed for completion by subordinates and the other by supervisors. These two groups were further subdivided into two groups referred to as achievers and nonachievers. The overall response to the questionnaires was very satisfactory in that 431 of the 600 questionnaires were returned (almost 72%) of which 44 were not usable. Of the 186 supervisors' responses which could be used for statistical analysis, 80 were categorised as achievers and of the 201 subordinates' responses which could be used for statistical analysis, 38 were categorised as achievers. The research revealed statistically significant differences in perception between different computations of all groups in respect of fairness, ethics, accuracy, rater error and administrative aspects. It is recommended that future research should be directed at the underlying reasons for perceptual differences between supervisors and subordinates, regarding the factors mentioned above, with the aim of improving communication and relationships. Another area would be to investigate the feasibility of organisations incorporating performance appraisal into a more integrated performance management system.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hoewel talle organisasies tans daartoe neig om prestasie-beoordeling by prestasiebestuur in te skakel of om dit selfs daardeur te vervang, is dit steeds 'n hoogs aangeskrewe proses. Die waarskynlikste rede hiervoor is dat prestasie-beoordeling hoofsaaklik dien as bestuurshulp ten opsigte van die verbetering van personeelbesluite waar 'n doeltreffende stelsel reeds bestaan. Die ideaal is dat die gebruik van 'n formele proses met objektiewe, werkgeoriënteerde kriteria as uitgangspunt, bestuur bemagtig om sinvolle besluite te neem wat nie net tot voordeel van die werker as individu strek nie, maar ook tot die algehele doeltreffendheid van die organisasie. Benewens prestasie-beoordeling se bestuurshulpfunksie, is 'n ander belangrike mikpunt daarvan om die administratiewe en ontwikkelingsbehoeftes van individue te help bepaal - nie net in die belang van hul eie vordering en ontwikkeling nie, maar ook in die belang van die organisasie s'n. Daarom is daar basies twee partye betrokke by prestasie-beoordeling, naamlik die beoordelaar en diegene wat beoordeel word. Dit is dus onvermydelik dat die benadering tot of waarneming van die onderwerp in 'n paar en dikwels selfs in talle opsigte sal verskil. Dit is dus belangrik dat aspekte soos bruikbaarheid, regverdigheid, etiek, motivering, akkuraatheid, geldigheid, beoordelingsfoute, doeltreffendheid en terugvoering in groter besonderhede ondersoek word om vas te stel waar probleemareas moontlik mag voorkom. Ernstige perseptuele verskille wat die proses betref, kan stuikelblokke veroorsaak en aanleiding gee tot 'n ondoeltreffende stelsel. Die doel van hierdie studie was om vas te stel in watter mate verskillende persepsies kan bydra tot die aanvaarding of verwerping van die beoordelingstelseloor die algemeen en in die besonder ten opsigte van bogenoemde aspekte soos beskou vanuit beide die toesighouer en die ondergeskikte se oogpunt. Die diagnostiese meetinstrument wat gebruik is, is 'n aanpassing van Mount (1983) se "Leadership Analysis Questionnaire" en dié van Le Roux (1989) en sluit aspekte in wat in 'n groter mate tred hou met die eienskappe van die beoordelingstelsel eie aan die deelnemende organisasie s'n. Twee verskillende vraelyste is gebruik vir toesighouers en onder-geskiktes. 'n Bykomende verdeling is gemaak tussen presteerders en niepresteerders. Die reaksie op die vraelyste was, op die keper beskou, baie bevredigend, aangesien 431 van die 600 vraelyste terugontvang is - bykans 72%. Hiervan was 44 onbruikbaar. Van die 186 toesighouersvraelyste wat gebruik kon word vir statistiese ontleding, is 80 as dié van presteerdes geklassifiseer, en van die 2010ndergeskiktes se vraelyste 38. Die ondersoek het in sy berekeninge statistiese beduidende verskille uitgewys ten opsigte van die verskillende groepe se persepsies van regverdigheid, etiek, akkuraatheid, beoordelingsfoute en administratiewe aspekte. Daar word aanbeveel dat toekomstige navorsing gerig word op die onderliggende,redes vir die perseptuele verskille tussen toesighouers en ondergeskiktes, met inagneming van bogenoemde faktore en met die mikpunt die verbetering van kommunikasie en verhoudinge. Nog navorsing sou ook gedoen kon word om te bepaal hoe uitvoerbaar dit vir 'n organisasie sou wees om prestasie-beoordeling in te skakel by 'n stelsel wat prestasiebestuurgerig is.

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