HOW DO 360 DEGREE PERFORMANCE REVIEWS AFFECT EMPLOYEE ATTITUDES, EFFECTIVENESS AND PERFORMANCE?
DIANE M. ALEXANDER
University of Rhode Island
Organizational leaders clearly have many choices when selecting performance evaluation and development tools. One tool that has gained popularity and has become a growing trend in Corporate America in recent years is the 360 degree performance review. This popularity is based on the perceptions of organizational leader’s that 360 degree reviews establish a culture for continuous learning and provide more global feedback for employees, which leads to improved performance. According to Human Resource Consultant, William M. Mercer, forty percent of ...view middle of the document...
Organizational leaders anticipate the cost of performance reviews to include the labor for supervisors to gather information to complete an evaluation and the time it takes to compose and deliver the feedback to the employee. 360 degree feedback is the most comprehensive and costly type of appraisal. Important hidden costs, employers may not be considering, are embedded in the employee’s affective and behavioral reaction to the feedback. Negative reactions to feedback can be evident in behavioral changes in the employee, such as withdrawal, a display of mistrust and decreased level of commitment, unwillingness to communicate or interact with colleagues and general defensiveness. These reactions should be of particular concern to organizations. An employee’s affective and behavioral reaction to feedback can land anywhere on the spectrum of negative to positive. Negative behavioral reactions can add to the cost for an organization since productivity can be negatively impacted as employees travel through the stages of receiving feedback which typically include; sadness, anger, rejection and finally acceptance. (Computer Sciences Corporation, 2004) Employees may become pre-occupied with their
© Diane Alexander, 2006
Alexander – 360 Degree Appraisal
negative reaction to the feedback and their focus and normal productivity levels at work may become interrupted. 360 degree reviews are intended to give an employee the opportunity to understand and remedy any friction points or issues that may exist between themselves and the rest of the organization. Friction points often times include issues in the areas of interpersonal relationships, teamwork, communication and management style. The true ability of a 360 degree review to remedy these types of issues is in question. While positive feedback serves to reinforce desired behaviors and motivate employees, negative feedback can contribute to a reduced level of job satisfaction, and a decreased ability or desire to contribute to an organization. I will examine how the 360 process affects employee attitudes in the workplace, as well as their professional effectiveness and general work performance.
What is a 360 degree review?
A 360 degree performance review is a formalized process whereby an individual receives feedback from multiple individuals or “raters” who regularly interact with the person being reviewed, commonly referred to as “the learner”. The objective is to provide the learner with feedback on their performance behaviors and outcomes as well as their potential, while identifying and establishing development goals. As a result of this feedback, the learner is expected to be able to set goals for self development which will support the advancement of their careers and in turn benefit the organization. The raters typically represent the learner’s boss, peers, subordinates, customers and sometimes even their significant others. Their own self assessments complete the...