Business Management — Performance Appraisal Concepts

Response B

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Modern personnel management strongly emphasizes the counseling and development role of supervisors within the framework of their supervisory responsibilities (Russell-Whalling, 2008). This approach to business management and personnel management is preferable to the more traditional approach that is primarily (if not exclusively) focused on the much narrower evaluation function of the performance appraisal concept.

More specifically, the modern approach is considerably more conducive to high performance throughout the organization because it incorporates the supervisory functions of counseling and helping subordinates improve their individual performance level (Daft, 2005). Conversely, the traditional model largely ignores the role of the supervisor as a motivator of performance improvement except through the age-old dynamic of carrot-and-stick system. Within that traditional approach, good performance is merely reinforced through positive rewards and is associated with negative consequences (Daft, 2005).

In principle, the traditional model that relies on evaluation in conjunction with rewards and punishments is primarily a system that provides comparatively little opportunity for supervisors to help subordinates elevate their performance except perhaps in isolated cases where individual supervisors take that initiative independently (Russell-Whalling, 2008). The modern formula is far preferable because it is a much more system in which performance evaluation is only the starting point for personnel performance improvement instead of the end point (Russell-Whalling, 2008).

The modern approach incorporates contemporary views of cognitive psychologists and educators on the manner in which individuals learn; it also reflects the views of industrial psychologists and with regard to the types of supervisory input that are conducive to improving employee performance (Russell-Whalling, 2008). While the supervisor still maintains the role of performance appraiser and evaluator, the more modern role also allows the supervisor to solicit input directly from the subordinate (Daft, 2005; Russell-Whalling, 2008).

In that regard, some of the most important information relates to the subordinate’s perspective of the possible factors that may contribute to less-than-optimal performance (Russell-Whalling, 2008). Furthermore, the modern approach to personnel and performance management also recognizes that the most effective systems also include elements of bottom-up evaluations in addition to the traditional top-down evaluations (Daft, 2005; Russell-Whalling, 2008). Naturally, bottom-up evaluations are more informal than top-down evaluations (Daft, 2005), but they often provide important information that enables supervisors recognize their own limitations and shortcomings in addition to allowing subordinates to supply valuable information pertaining to what they know about their own learning styles (Daft, 2005).

The traditional performance appraisal and personnel management approach serves the purpose of evaluating performance and ranking employees with respect to one another. However, it provides considerably less benefit in terms of enabling supervisors and organizations to get the most out of their employees. Ultimately, the modern approach incorporates all of the traditional goals of basic performance appraisal within a framework that also promotes the maximum professional development of the individual employee as well.


Daft, R. (2005). . Mason: Thomson South Western.

Russell-Whalling, E. (2008). 50 Management Ideas You Really Need to Know.

London: Quercus