Academic journal article SA Journal of Human Resource Management

Reward and Attitudes: The Unintended Outcomes of an Effective Performance Appraisal

Academic journal article SA Journal of Human Resource Management

Reward and Attitudes: The Unintended Outcomes of an Effective Performance Appraisal

Article excerpt


Problem statement

This study presents the evidence of a research effort exposing the performance management experience in public government hospitals, which by implication reflects recent issues in the South African public service. In many organisations, including public institutions, performance appraisal systems remain some of the great paradoxes of effective human resource management, according to Rudman (2004).

Countries in the developing world, including South Africa, have made strides in advancing corporate administrative systems to improve the performance of employees in the public service (Sangweni, 2003). Performance appraisals provide valuable performance information to a number of critical human resource activities, such as the allocation of rewards - merit pay, promotions - feedback on development, assessment of training needs, evaluation of other human resource systems, such as selection predictors, and performance documentation for legal purposes (Cleveland, Murphy & Williams, 1989).

The key focus of the study

This study addresses the key factors that influence performance appraisal in achieving its intended purpose. Specifically, the focus is on the role of reward and attitudes in the success of appraisals in public government hospitals. Performance appraisals offer much potential for enhancing organisational effectiveness through human resource decisions. They can also help to improve and satisfy the needs of employees for performance and feedback (Fisher, Schoenfeldt & Shaw, 2003; Fletcher, 1993; Fletcher & Jones, 1993; Goodge, 2005; Ilgen, Fisher & Taylor, 1979; Pfeffer & Veiga, 1999).

Background of the study

Performance appraisal is an organisational system comprising deliberate processes for determining how to improve staff effectiveness, according to Winston and Creamer (1997). There is evidence that the entire subject of performance appraisal remains a practical challenge to the academics who designed it, to researchers, and to the leaders, managers and practitioners who use it (Freeman, 2002). This is, in part, owing to the role ambiguity of the key role players, which necessitates identification and clarification of the roles of the different players from the onset, specifically those of leaders, managers and employees. This would ensure that ambiguity of roles is eliminated and teamwork and active participation are encouraged, which will influence attitudes, motivation and expectations of employees; this is necessary for the successful administration of reward (SemakulaKatende, 2012).

Performance assessment and management performance are crucial links in the human resource management (HRM) process (Hutchinson & Purcell, 2003); they are the functions that organisations use in order to assess their employees' performance on all levels and determine appropriate rewards or remedial actions. The role of HRM in performance appraisal and management was mainly one of working with line managers to establish performance standards, the performance dimensions to be measured, as well as the appraisal procedures to ensure accuracy of the outcomes.

Research purpose

In this study, the authors, however, argued that if reward was a determinant, it should have been considered alongside other key determinants, notably leadership succession, employee development and productivity, and management competency. These should be treated in the same manner as other outcomes, such as productivity, development and sustained performance, since they are not in fact determinants as they were earlier thought to be.

Objective of the study

The objective of the study was to establish why the employee performance management and development system (EPMDS) was largely ineffective in achieving its intended objectives and to identify the factors influencing its implementation.

The objective of the EPMDS was then to provide a corporate framework to manage and secure effective and efficient organisational performance in meeting internal and external customer needs and expectations. …

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