Case 5

Case 5.1, Question 1: My opinions regarding forced ranking performance appraisals is based on the changes I witnessed with the performance appraisal system used by the United States Marine Corps and with the performance evaluation system used by my current employer. I personally would do not like the forced ranking system used by many corporations. The main reason I do not like forced ranking systems is that they are subjective. Even with training, well written guidelines and examples an employee evaluation is based on a subjective appraisal of their performance. Even when an employee meets clearly defined performance goals during the evaluation period, they may not receive the evaluation they deserve because the supervisor evaluating them does not like them, weighs a minor error on the part of the employee too heavily or is simply a tough grader. On the other end of the spectrum the employee could receive a better than expected evaluation because they are friends with supervisor, all employee errors are forgotten or the supervisor is a push over and is an easy grader. The human factors that surround performance appraisals is what is most troublesome to me. Using my own experience, I have always tried to remain unbiased when writing performance appraisals. To say I have lost sleep thinking about the performance appraisals I was writing is an understatement. Even though I would conscientiously and consciously try to remove all bias from my appraisals, I knew that a small part of me would unconsciously allow some bias to creep in. I call it the human factor that happens to everyone. The key for me would be to remove the subjectivity that most forced ranking systems use. I remember the Marine Corps improving their performance evaluation system to make it more equitable for all Marines. The reason given for the change was that Marines Officers writing the performance evaluations were inflating their marks and rankings of their Marines. Though we would like to think that all Marines are outstanding, the reality is that some are not outstanding but merely average. To combat the performance grading inflation, it was required that all Marines be ranked from highest to lowest that received marks of outstanding by the Marine who wrote the evaluation. Another solution the Marine Corps developed was to also grade the evaluator. Using a statistical analysis model, all Marines that wrote performance evaluations were graded based on the performance evaluations they submitted. In simple terms, the grading would determine whether the Marine writing the performance evaluation was tough or easy grader. The goal of the solution was to make a fair performance evaluation system for all Marines. Using a statistics the Marines tried to remove the benefit of being evaluated by easy grader or penalty of being evaluated by a tough grader.
I personally do not believe any type of force ranking performance appraisals motivate employees. I know for a fact that some employees will feel wronged whether deserved or not by the supervisor that wrote the performance appraisal while other feel relief or even joy.
I have always dreaded writing evaluations, especially when trying to rank those personnel that are very close in performance. I always found it easy to rank an outstanding performer at the top or a poor performer at the bottom. What I found most troublesome was ranking those employees who are excellent performers who make up the middle of most rankings and form a majority of most companies’ work forces. I feel that in some cases a performance appraisal can motivate someone to continue their outstanding performance or improve it, but I also feel that performance appraisals can cause an employee to become demotivated if they feel their performance appraisal does not meet their expectations, or if they get a sense that the supervisor has treated them unfairly in writing the performance appraisal. Blind-siding employees with a performance appraisal without providing prior feedback on their performance is one-reason I feel performance appraisals demotivate employees. I actually find the behavior of giving someone a performance appraisal without previous feedback unacceptable.
Case 5.1, Question 2: The Equity Theory states that a person’s motivation is based on what they consider to be fair treatment when compared to others. The equity theory has four components:
Person-The individual who perceives equity or inequality
Comparison other-An individual or group used by the Person to compares themselves in terms of input and output.
Input-Individual characteristics a Person brings to a job, such as skill, experience, race, gender and age.
Outcomes-What a Person obtains from a job, such as pay, recognition, benefits.
Using the above theory it is simple to understand why person would have negative reactions to a forced ranking system. When a forced ranking performance system is used, persons are ranked favorably or unfavorably against their peers. It is this type of ranking that can lead to trouble for many companies. The person may perceive that they are being compared to someone unfairly, or feel they are not receiving the appropriate compensation for the work they have performed as compared to others in the work place. If the person’s perception is that they are being treated unfairly based on age, sex, race etc. then the employer can be sued.
At a minimum the resulting behavior of a person who feels they are being treated unfairly, may include lower production or leaving his current employer to seek work elsewhere.
For an employer who uses the forced performance ranking, the cost to hire a new employee and train them could be significant. If they are found to be discriminatory in their rankings of personnel not only can be sued and have to defend themselves in a court of law but may also need to defend themselves in the court of public opinion. In the end the financial cost and the public relations cost could hurt the employer for years.
Case 5.1, Question 3: If I had to base my motivation techniques only on Chapter 5, I would use goal setting. In simple terms, goals show and give guidance about what needs to be done and how much effort the employee requires to put in to complete the goal.

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I'm Barry!

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