PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL AND COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE -
November 11th, 2011
PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL AND COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
The objectives of performance appraisal, listed above, point out the purpose which such an exercise seeks to meet. What needs emphasis is that performance evaluation contributes to firm's competitive strength. Besides encouraging high levels of performance, the evaluation system helps identify employees with potential, reward performance equitably and determine employee's need for training
An effective appraisal system can contribute to competitive advantage by improving employee job performance in two ways-by directing employee behaviour towards organizational goals, as was done by the second beekeeper (see opening case), and by monitoring that behaviour to ensure that the goals are met.
Making Correct Decisions
As stated above, appraisal is a critical input in making decisions on such issues as pay raise, promotion, transfer, training, discharges and completion of probationary periods. Right decision on each of these can contribute to competitive strength of an organization. If promotion, for example, is made on performance, the promotee feels motivated to enhance his or her performance.
Ensuring Legal Compliance
Promotions made on factors other than performance might land up a firm in a legal battle, thus diverting its focus on non-productive areas, as it happened to Williamson Magar. Organizations can minimize costly performance-related litigation by using appraisal systems that give fair and accurate ratings.
Minimizing Job Dissatisfaction and Turnover
Employees tend to become emotional and frustrated if they perceive that the ratings they get are unfair and inaccurate. Such employees find that the efforts they had put in became futile and obviously get de-motivated.
Dissatisfaction in the job sets in and one of the outcomes of job dissatisfaction is increased turnover. Fair and accurate appraisal results in high motivation and increased job satisfaction. An organization having satisfied and motivated employees will have an edge over its competitors.
Consistency between Organizational Strategy and Behaviour
An organization needs a strategy consistent with the behaviour of its employees if it were to realize its goals. A truism of organizational life is that people engage themselves in behaviours that they perceive will be rewarded. As employees want to be rewarded, they tend to occupy themselves more with those activities on which the organization emphasizes. For example, if the focus is on service, employees will behave in ways that will help them in gaining rewards associated with service delivery. If the focus is on cost control, employees will seek to control cost and thus be recongnised and rewarded.
If the focus is on rewarding productivity, employees will strive for productivity. The performance appraisal becomes not only a means of knowing if the employees' behaviour is consistent with the overall strategic focus, but also a way of bringing to the fore any negative consequence of the strategy- behaviour fit For example, a single point productivity focus may include potential negative consequences such as decreased quality and co-operations. Thus, the performance appraisal system is an important organizational mechanism to elicit feedback on the consistency of the strategy-behaviour link.
Organizational Strategy and Performance Appraisal
The performance appraisal system serves many organizational objectives and goals. Besides encouraging high level of performance, the evaluation system is useful in identifying employees with potential, rewarding performance equitably. And determining employees' needs for development. These are all the activities that should support the organization’s strategic orientation. Although these activities are clearly instrumental in achieving corporate plans and long-term growth, typical appraisal systems in most organizations have been focused on short-term goals.
From the strategic management point of view, organizations can be grouped into three categories defenders, prospectors and analyzers. Performance appraisal has definite roles in all the three strategies.
Typically, defenders have a narrow and relatively stable product-market domain. Because of this narrow focus, these organizations seldom need to make major adjustments in their technology. Structure or methods of operations. They devote primary attention to improving the efficiency of their existing operations. Because of the emphasis 011building skills within the organization, successful defenders use performance appraisal for identifying training needs. Performance appraisal is usually more behaviour oriented.
Organizations with a prospector strategy continuously search for different product and market opportunities. In addition, these organizations regularly experiment with potential responses to new and emerging environmental trends. Prospectors are often the harbingers of change. Because of the emphasis on skills identification and acquisition of human resources from external sources, as opposed to skills building with the organization, prospectors often use the performance appraisal as a means of identifying staffing needs. The emphasis is on results. Finally, the focus is on division and corporate performance evaluation as they compare with other companies during the same evaluation period.
Organizations with an analyzer strategy operate in two types of product-.market domains. One domain is stable while the other is changing. In their more innovative areas, managers watch their competitors closely and rapidly adopt the ideas that appear promising. In general, analyzers use cost effective technologies for stable products and project or matrix technologies for new product. Analyzers tend to emphasize both skill building and skill i1cquisilion and employ extensive training programmes.
Thus, these organizations attempt to identify both training as well as staffing needs. The appraisal systems are considered at the individual, group and divisional levels. Finally, successful analyzers have a tendency to examine current performance with past performance within the organization. Cross-sectional comparisons (comparisons among 'companies) may also occur.
Whatever the category, a performance appraisal system has strategic importance to a firm in three ways:
1. Feedback mechanism,
2. Consistency between organizational strategy and job behaviour, and
3. Consistency between organizational values and job behaviour.