Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences

Performance Management Design and Effectiveness in Quality-Driven Organizations

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences

Performance Management Design and Effectiveness in Quality-Driven Organizations

Article excerpt

Abstract

Performance management practices, such as performance appraisals, are often considered incompatible with the principles of quality management. If designed appropriately, however, performance management systems could support rather than hinder quality. This study investigates the alignments of performance management system components to a strategic emphasis on quality. Findings from a sample of 312 organizations generally support the idea that organizations are adapting their performance management systems in ways that are compatible with a quality emphasis. In addition, the study shows that a greater alignment of quality and performance management is associated with greater perceived effectiveness of the performance management system.

Résumé

Les pratiques de gestion du rendement, comme les évaluations du rendement, sont souvent considérées incompatibles avec les principes de la gestion de la qualité. Cependant, si elles sont développées correctement, les systèmes de gestion du rendement peuvent soutenir plutôt que nuire à la qualité. La présente étude s'intéresse aux alignements entre les composantes des systèmes de gestion du rendement et l'emphase stratégique sur la qualité. Les analyses réalisées avec un échantillon de 312 organisations indiquent une certaine cohérence entre les systèmes de gestion du rendement et l'emphase stratégique sur la qualité. Les organisations semblent donc adapter leurs systèmes de gestion du rendement aux exigences de la qualité. De plus, une plus grande cohérence entre la stratégie qualité et la gestion du rendement est associée avec des perceptions positives à l'égard de l'efficacité du système de gestion du rendement.

Quality efforts fail to deliver superior results because the only thing that has changed about quality is the way we talk about it. Everything else has remained the same. (Daniels, 2000, p. 127)

Organizations increasingly view performance management as a key system that can promote and sustain initiatives such as speed to market, business processes renewal, and quality management. By aligning performance expectations, feedback, and reward systems to people requirements, performance management may foster employee behaviours that are consistent with emerging business opportunities and the need for strategic and operational effectiveness. This greater emphasis on managerial purpose makes performance management a powerful tool for organizational change and quality improvement.

Deming (1986) and others (Bowman, 1994; Scholtes, 1993) argue, however, that the practice of performance management, including performance appraisal, is not compatible with the principles of quality management. Their main contention is that performance management is too focused on individual characteristics rather than on system factors. As such, the quality perspective questions the emphasis on individuals rather than on aspects of work systems as being relevant to work performance (Waldman, 1994b). In response to Deming's admonition, a number of scholars countered that traditional performance management practices could be customized to support quality (e.g., Armstrong & Baron, 1998; Bowen & Waldman, 1999; Cardy, 1998; Cardy, Dobbins, & Carson, 1995; Ghorpade & Chen, 1995; Graber, Breisch, & Breisch, 1995; Masterson & Taylor, 1996). The debate resulted in several prescriptions for adapting performance management system components to the people requirements of quality. Whether or not this abundant advice resulted in new performance management configurations in quality-driven organizations remains largely unknown as scholarly work was directed more at developing conceptually appealing alignments than at validating them.

Drawing from contingency and strategic human resource management theorizing, this study explores a special case of strategic fit that is widely debated but seldom tested. …

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