without proper feedback as to their current performance. Biased performance appraisals may reduce productivity. Good evaluations for poor performance disguise the need for improvement, and poor evaluations for good performance stifle motivation.
Finally, inaccurate performance appraisal because of the halo or horns error may expose the company or agency to legal sanctions. Legislation and case law has mandated that certain standards be observed in performance appraisals, especially in decisions affecting hiring and promotion. State and federal legislation provides remedies to certain protected groups against job discrimination. It is illegal (and can be costly) to let decisions be influenced by gender, race, religion, or other legislatively projected criteria. For example, any performance evaluation based upon a characteristic that could be attributed to ethnic identity, such as accent, skin color, or place of birth, could be held to be illegal.
Appraisals of job performance must be grounded in standards related to job performance ( Griggs v. Duke Power) and cannot be based upon subjective ratings by supervisors on qualities such as attitude toward people, appearance and grooming, leadership, alertness, loyalty, and so on ( Wade v. Mississippi Cooperative Services). If a test of performance is used in evaluation, the test must be an objective test of performance administered and scored under controlled and standardized conditions.
The consequences of the halo or horns effect can be quite damaging, but, fortunately, there is a ready remedy. The remedy embraces sound management techniques and also legal and ethical considerations. The use of a performance management system or standard personnel evaluation system can increase the objectivity and enhance the validity of personnel decisions ( Beer and Ruh 1990, p. 232). Michael Beer and Robert Ruh's research with Corning Glass Works found that managers tended to rate employees' performance rather unidimensionally. Supervisors tended to rate employees either positively or negatively on all traits. Depending upon the initial perception that the supervisor had of the employee, the performance appraisal ratings tended to commit the dualistic fallacy and rate employees as either a good performer or a poor performer (p. 226). Supervisors were not able to distinguish the qualities of the good performer that needed improvement nor the good qualities of the poor performer. These errors in personnel assessment were brought to the attention of the supervisor by use of a profile of the employee using an objective performance profile instrument developed by Beer and Ruh. They concluded that "a performance management system can increase the objectivity and enhance the validity of personnel decisions" ( Beer and Ruh 1990, p. 232). There is general agreement among experts that the use of objective, standardized performance appraisal instruments, training and retraining of supervisors who evaluate employees, clearly defined performance based standards, and review of performance ratings by a third party are measures that suppress the tendency for the halo or horns error to occur.
JAMES A. FAGIN
Beer, Michael, and Robert Ruh, 1990. "Employee Growth Through Performance Management". pp. 217-232. In Harvard Business Review, M anage People, Not Personnel: Motivation and Performance Appraisal. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
Griggs v. Duke Power 420 Federal 2nd 1225.
Odiorne, George S., 1984. Strategic Management of Human Resources. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Wade v. Mississippi Cooperative Services 615 Federal Supplement 1574.
HAMILTONIAN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION THEORY. The concepts on American governance espoused by Alexander Hamilton ( 1755- 1804). Born a bastard child in Nevis Island, British West Indies, he was quickly recognized as having genius and noble ambitions. Provisions were made for his travel to the American colonies for a formal education. Hamilton conducted most of his studies on an independent, accelerated basis at Kings College (now Columbia University) in New York. He then prepared for the legal profession, to which he contributed mightily in terms of public and constitutional law.
During his studies, Hamilton became a dedicated member of the independence movement. He subsequently joined an artillery company in the New York militia during the Revolutionary War. There, Hamilton impressed General George Washington so much that he became Washington's aide-de-camp. His experience during the war instilled in him an intense desire to reform the governing system operating under the Articles of Confederation.
Alexander Hamilton, with James Madison's collaboration, used the poorly attended Annapolis, Maryland, trade convention of 1786 as a forum to call for a constitutional convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1787. He is best known today for his coauthorship, with James Madison and John Jay (all under the pseudonym "Publius"), of The Federalist Papers essays, advocating ratification by the states of the constitution adopted at that convention. The 85 essays remain the most brilliant and authoritative commentary on the United States Constitution.
Less commonly known today are Hamilton's vital contributions to the formation of United States legal, financial, and economic systems and to an American constitutional