Work and Organizational Psychology: An Introduction with Attitude

By Christine E. Doyle | Go to book overview

There is some controversy about why multi-rater feedback is effective. Goodge and Burr (1999) suggest that when ratings come from a trustworthy source, critical evaluations make the person feel uncomfortable and motivated to change. Others stress the role of self-awareness-it is only when we can see our weaknesses that we can do something about them. However, Baldry and Fletcher (2000a) found that managers were much more aware of their overall performance than of specific strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps, however, it is not so much the multi-rater feedback process itself which matters, as what happens afterwards. Edwards (2000), writing from a practitioner perspective, stresses the importance of the self-managed development activities that follow. In that case, all the multi-rater feedback does is to give good information about what is needed. The real development occurs when the manager plans to do something about it, actually learns what is needed, and then transfers it to the job. This is only possible if there is a supportive organizational framework. Unsurprisingly, but perhaps significantly, Bass, Avolio and Atwater (1996) found that managers who attended a leadership training programme after multi-rater feedback only showed improvements on the dimensions they had chosen to work on. Feedback is of no value if you don't act on it, or more importantly, if there is no opportunity to act on it. It could be argued that, in the end, what really improves performance is an environment that provides good training and development support.


Suggested further reading
Algera, J.A., & Kleinbeck, U. (Eds.). (1997). Performance improvement programmes in Europe. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology,6(Whole No. 3).
Arnold, J. (1997). Managing careers into the 21st century. London: Paul Chapman Publishing.
Fletcher, C. (2000). Performance appraisal: Assessing and developing performance and potential. In N. Chmiel (Ed.), Introduction to work and organizational psychology: A European perspective. Oxford, UK: Blackwell.
Fletcher, C., & Baldry, C. (2001). Multi-source feedback systems: A research perspective. In I. Robertson & C.L. Cooper (Eds.), Personnel psychology and HRM: A reader for students and practitioners. Chichester, UK: Wiley.
Herriot, P., & Stickland, R. (Eds.) (1996). The management of careers. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology,5(Whole No. 4).
Payne, T. (Ed.). (1998). 360 degree assessment and feedback. International Journal of Selection and Development,6(Whole No. 1).

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