Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited
The Appraisal Organiser
The Appraisal Organiser
Mike Tilling and Mary BirchGower1999ISBN: 0566082438£235.00 Hardback
Keywords Organizational theory, Appraisal, Learning, Planning
Mike Tilling and Mary Birch developed The Appraisal Organiser because they had found it difficult to find comprehensive material to support those involved in the appraisal process. So they have produced a three-part kit which comprises:
An open learning pack on the strategies, techniques and tools of appraisal.
A series of training sessions on different aspects of appraisal.
A miscellany of personal development units to support individual development.
It is perhaps appropriate that they have identified four parties with a vested interest in getting appraisal right: the appraiser, the appraisee, the trainer, and the supervisor or team leader. The material is presented in a very practical way with many exercises, checklists and thought starters. Readers are encouraged to take pages from the pack either to use directly or to adapt to the needs of the organization. I suspect the latter option will be the more likely one as this is the sort of subject where sensitivity and adaptation to organizational context are critical and simply importing pro formas can do more harm than good.
Some generic interpersonal skills are covered, such as active listening, questioning and feedback and, while these are no doubt critical to the appraisal process and for that matter management in general, one cannot help but feel that these topics are trotted out all too readily in a lot of the lower-level management literature. It would have been interesting if more coverage had been given to, for instance, what real organizations are doing in terms of performance appraisal and leading-edge technologies. For instance, 360-degree feedback and the integration of appraisal systems with competencies and the use of upward or peer appraisal were surprisingly not covered. The material, I feel, was designed within the old paradigm of top-down appraisal.
Part Three provides a massive range of subjects in the form of notes and questions for appraisees to help in the development of skills. Included, for instance, are report writing, meeting skills, change management and assertiveness, to name just a few. There is some useful material here – however, this represents something of a scattergun approach; again a lot of generic training material is given brief coverage.
This sort of practical training kit would benefit from being provided in software form as well as hardbound material so that users truly can interact with and adapt the material for their own needs.
In summary, I think this would provide a useful starting point for either an organization or an individual new to the subject. However, it should be read in conjunction with other material which discusses some of the more recent innovations in this field.
Richard HaleSpecialist in management development and author