Managerial ethics in performance appraisal


Performance appraisal system should be effective as a number of crucial decisions are made on the basis of score or rating given by the appraiser, which in turn, is heavily based on the appraisal system. Appraisal system, to be effective, should possess the following essential characteristics:

Reliability and validity:

Appraisal system should provide consistent, reliable and valid information and data, which can be used to defend the organization-even in legal challenges. If two appraisers are equally qualified and competent to appraise an employee with the help of same appraisal technique, their ratings should agree with each other. Then the technique satisfies the condition of inter-rater reliability. Appraisals must also satisfy the condition of validity be measuring what they are supposed to measure. For example, if appraisal is made for potential of an employee for promotion, it should supply the information and data relating to potentialities of the employee to take up higher responsibilities and carry on activities at higher level.

Job Relatedness:

The appraisal technique should measure the performance and provide information in Job related activities/areas.


Appraisal forms, procedures, administration of techniques, rating etc. should be standardized as appraisal decisions affect all employees of the group.

Practical Viability:

The techniques should be practically viable to administer, possible to implement and economical regarding cost aspect.

Legal Sanction:

It should have compliance with the legal provisions concerned of the country.

Training and Appraisers:

Because appraisal is important and sometimes difficult, it would be useful to provide training to appraisers namely insights and ideas on rating, documenting appraisals, and conducting appraisal interviews. Familiarity with rating errors can improve rater performance and this may inject the needed confidence in appraisers to look into performance ratings more objectively.

Open Communication:

Most employees want to know how well they are performing on the job. A good appraisal system provides the needed feedback on a continuing basis. The appraisal interviews should permit both parties to learn about the gaps and prepare themselves for future. To this end, managers should clearly explain their performance expectations to their subordinates in advance of the appraisals period. Once this is known it becomes easy for employees to learn about the yardsticks and, if possible, try to improve their performance in future.

Employee Access to Results:

Employees should know the rules of the game. They should receive adequate feedback on their performance. If performance appraisals are meant for improving employee’s performance, then withholding appraisals results would not serve any purpose. Employees simply could not perform better without having access to this information. Permitting employees to review the results of their appraisal allows them to detect any errors that may have been made. If they disagree with the evaluation, they can even challenge the same through formal channels.

It follows then that formal procedures should be developed to enable employees who disagree with appraisal results which are considered to be inaccurate or unfair. They must have the means for pursuing their grievances and having them addressed objectively.

When management uses it as a whip or fails to understand its limitations, it fails. The key is not which forms or which method is used. Performance appraisal should be used primarily to develop employees as valuable resources. Only then it would show promising results.

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