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360-degree assessment: time for reinvention

By Ginka Toegel and Jay A. Conger

Abstract

ABSTRACT One of the most popular management development tools in use today is the 360-degree assessment instrument. In recent years, however, its popularity has led to uses beyond its original application for management development. In particular, 360-degree assessment is now replacing the traditional performance appraisal. This trend toward multiple uses--especially administrative ones--should raise concerns, and we discuss its implications. In particular, our focus is on dilemmas created when a feedback tool is stretched to include potentially conflicting aims. We carry out our analysis on three levels (individual, interpersonal, and organizational) using three frames (cognitive, psychometric, and game-theoretical). It leads to the conclusion that if used for multiple purposes 360-degree assessment is in danger of losing its efficacy as a process to deliver honest and constructive feedback. We suggest that it is time for reinvention of the tool and its process methodology. In particular, we argue for the development of two distinct tools--one for management development and one for performance feedback. The management development tool would rely more heavily upon qualitative feedback and competences for development. The performance appraisal feedback tool would be designed around quantitative feedback and measuring performance outcomes

Topics: HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Publisher: Academy of Management
Year: 2003
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lse.ac.uk:17450
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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