The government agency at the centre of the study is concerned with public welfare. Its appraisal system is based on a “performance management system”, the purpose being to ensure that employees work in the most effective way possible to deliver the agency’s business. Individuals are assessed on how well they have met the behaviour characteristics for selected competencies. A survey of middle management shows that whilst the agency attempts to use its appraisal system as part of a performance management system, the model is to some extent faulted. All the elements of the system are present but they do not necessarily link together as intended. The role of appraisal and the cultural expectation of appraisal are well managed by the performance management system, although the link to competence is weakened by the difficulties middle managers have in relating competence to training and performance. The link to change and learning is shown to be single loop and change that is effected tends to be of a minor nature.
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