PROBLEMS OF PERFORMANCE APPRAISALS AND MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
- Background of Study
Strategic management is concerned with defining and achieving long-term goals and objectives by effective interaction and adaptation with dynamic environment in a continuous basis within limit of resources. It mainly involves strategy design, operationalization and monitoring. Pearce and Robinson (2007) define the subject as the act of making choices, which result in designing and administration of game plans tailored to realize long range plans of the firm. While strategic management is a relatively young discipline which was introduced in the early 1950’s and gained popularity through the works of strategic gurus like Ansoff (1987), Chandler (1962), and Drucker (1974) it is an umbrella concept of management and covers almost all the functional areas of management in an organizational setup.
Strategic management practices aid to avoid weakening one’s position as a result of unfavourable economic circumstances and turbulent external and internal conditions. Implementation of strategic practices like differentiation, innovation, total quality management, six sigma, and balance score card aid to improve the performance of a firm and distinguishes it from the rest. Previous studies prove the relationship between strategic planning and performance (Machuki, 2010) Action plan is the configuration of a company’s capabilities, resources, thought process, and actions for charting its long-term direction and positive performance within the context of changing external environ. Since it is context sensitive, it prepares managers in companies of all sizes and types to cope with continually changing environment and to look at important factors in planning future strategies.
The subject of performance appraisal appears a major subject of controversy in management circles. According to Kurt (2004), while business leaders see the need for appraisal systems, they are frequently disappointed in them because of various challenges that derail its objectives. One of the responsibilities of management is to ensure that an organization functions effectively and efficiently. In order to achieve these goals, managers must be able to determine and assess performance levels of both an organization and its individual employees (Kurt, 2004).
Performance appraisal has been described as a management tool designed to encourage communications in the office, improve the quality of work produced, and promote individual accountability. This is the concept underpinning the legal requirement that all agencies evaluate employee performance (Derven, 1990). Winston and Creamer (1997) define performance appraisal as an organizational system comprising deliberate processes for determining staff accomplishments, through rating, to improve staff effectiveness.
Modern organisations depend upon measurement and analysis of performance. Measurements must derive from the organisation’s strategy and provide critical data and information about key processes, outputs and results. The said data and analysis support a variety of organisational purposes, such as planning, reviewing organizational performance, improving processes, and comparing organisational performance with ‘best practices’ benchmarks (Averson, 1998).
Within the context of formal performance appraisal requirements, rating has been used to mean evaluating employee performance against the elements and standards in an employee’s performance appraisal plan and assigning a rating of record. It is extremely important that workers have the proper knowledge, skills, and attitudes to perform well in their jobs. Knowledge, skills, and attitudes are the internal competencies that workers bring with them to the job or that they must learn through training.
Irrespective of what the organization’s intentions are when conducting performance appraisal, it produces a feedback that can either be positive or negative to both the management and the employees. Managing employee performance is an integral part of the work that all managers and officials perform in any institution. It is as important as managing financial resources and program outcomes because employee performance or the lack thereof, has a profound effect on both the financial and program components of any organization (Kurt, 2004).
In many organizations appraisals are used to help determine reward outcome by identifying employees who should get the majority of available merit such as pay increases, bonuses and promotions. For the same reason, appraisal results are used to identify poorer performers who any require some form of counseling or in extreme cases demotions, decrease in pay or dismissal (Chadbourne 1994).
Again, uses for performance appraisal have included equal employment opportunity considerations, promotions, transfer and salary increases. Primarily, performance appraisal has been considered an overall system for controlling an organization. It has also been called an audit function of an organization regarding the performance of individuals, groups and entire divisions (Awosanya and Ademola, 2008).
International research reveals that appropriate appraisal schemes have the potential to improve effective management of educational institutions, the quality of education provided for students, as well as satisfying legitimate demands for accountability (Chadbourne, 1994). Consequently, in most learning environments, there have been attempts globally to identify human resource policies necessary to inculcate and reinforce the continuous learning climate by examining various manpower variables such as training development and performance appraisal. Performance appraisal is widely accredited to contribute to the superior performance outcomes of many organizations (Averson, 1998). Such organizations or institutions are frequently lauded as high performance work systems, learning or flexible organizations with mutual or high commitment models (Applebaum and Butt, 1994).
In ORGANIZATION, performance appraisal is a periodic ‘ritual’, the level of importance and seriousness attached to it however not known to the researcher at this point. This study thus aims to establish the effectiveness or otherwise of performance appraisal systems in the university.