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360-degree feedback: a powerful tool for leadership development and performance appraisal

By David C. Nystrom


360-degree feedback is a powerful multi-dimensional leadership development tool that draws upon the knowledge of people within a person's own circle of influence: supervisors, peers, and direct reports. It is most widely used for development, yet many organizations also use it for administrative purposes. This thesis examines the efficacy of 360- degree feedback through an in-depth research review that establishes when 360-degree feedback is effective and what conditions enhance or detract from its effectiveness. The thesis explains how 360-degree feedback was developed and examines its rapid growth in popularity. The argument for multi-dimensional performance feedback is then discussed in errs of four factors that have changed the role of leadership as we have moved from the Industrial Age/Cold War to globalization and the Information Age. As leadership's roles change, so must the goals of leadership development. A review of successful organizations reveals that many are using 360-degree feedback for modem leadership development, reinforced by similar systems for administrative performance appraisal. Research on 360-degree feedback reveals effectiveness conditions, design and implementation considerations, and four categories of potential benefits. Large Group Interventions with Appreciative Inquiry for collaborative design/implementation and positive change management also are discussed. The thesis ends with strong recommendations for the use of 360-degree feedback for both Navy leadership development and administrative appraisal

Year: 2001
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