A Review, an Integration, and a Critique of Cross-Disciplinary Research on Performance Appraisals, Evaluations, and Feedback: 1990-2000

Deloris McGee Wanguri


Performance related pay and the performance appraisal system continue to have a strong presence in corporate America. The presence of the performance appraisal system ranges from more traditional paper-and-pen systems to the emergence of eAppraisal, a web-based software designed by Halogen to facilitate the appraisal process. The current study investigates trends in this area. Ninety-eight empirical studies on performance appraisals, published between 1990 and 2000, in business, communication, and psychology journals, were reviewed and integrated. This review examined published empirical studies in four categories: performance appraisal systems and practices, rating instruments, raters, and ratees. Results of this synthesis revealed the following: (a) Effective performance appraisal systems feature opportunities for employee “voice”; (b) PRP systems are being implemented with increasing frequency internationally; (c) BOS are superior to BARS and GRS in terms of goal specificity; (d) all types of appraisal systems are subject to rating distortion; (e) multirater, SAM, and peer review feedback programs should be used most frequently for developmental purposes and performance improvement; (f) perceived accuracy of performance feedback is an important component of the evaluation process; (g) acceptance of subordinate feedback is related to subordinate awareness of the supervisor’s job; (h) supervisors tend to rate more favorably subordinates from the same nationality or race; (i) organizations should consider culture in terms of human resource development; and (j) variables that affect perceptions of ratees include age, power, pregnancy, and smoking habits. These findings reflected the following five trends: (a) quantitative studies that investigated counterrational dimensions in the performance appraisal process, (b) quantitative studies that investigated interaction effects between rater and ratee characteristics, (c) quantitative studies that investigated preferences of raters and ratees, (d) quantitative studies that investigated communication transactions, and (e) quantitative studies that investigated international applications. The researcher recommends continued research in the areas of counterrational dimensions, interaction effects, participant preferences, communication transactions, and international applications of the performance appraisal process.


Performance appraisals; Performance evaluations; Performance feedback; Organizational communication; Corporate communication

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/4925


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