In the modern world of business, companies have to engage in stiff competition to survive in the market. Because of this, it is paramount that the workers are provided with adequate feedback on their actions so that they might capitalize on their strengths and address their weaknesses to increase their performance. Also, getting adequate feedback is pivotal because it might help improve teamwork and collaboration, especially if such feedback is provided for leaders. Also, getting a high-quality assessment of a worker is crucial when making important decisions such as ones related to the promotion. The current paper discusses the 360-degree appraisal systems which can be utilized for providing feedback to employees. The crux of these systems is discussed, the best practices about these systems are inspected, and their effectiveness, efficaciousness, ethicalness, and morality are considered; finally, it is investigated why these systems might help implement or reinforce Christian business ethics in an organization.
The 360 Degree Appraisal Systems: The Crux of the Method
The 360-degree appraisal systems are methods for evaluating and appraising the performance of the members of the staff of an organization. These systems involve collecting anonymous feedback on the performance of an employee from a wide range of individuals who have various relationships with that employee. By Espinilla, de Andrés, Martínez, and Martínez (2013), the list of persons who can provide such feedback include the employee’s co-workers, collaborators, supervisors, and customers, as well as the employee himself or herself (p. 460); also, Aggarwal and Thakur (2013) state that even suppliers or spouses of the evaluated employee might be asked to provide the feedback for such an analysis (p. 618).
It is stressed that the 360-degree appraisal systems collect information about the effects of the actions which an employee takes while being in their workplace (Aggarwal & Thakur, 2013), as well as their general effectiveness, efficacy, and competence. These systems supply the information about how others perceive the worker about whom the feedback is collected, and may provide valuable assessments of that worker’s personal qualities and skills such as the ability to participate in teamwork, the leadership skills, and so on (Hensel, Meijers, van der Leeden, & Kessels, 2010). However, the 360-degree appraisal systems should not be utilized to evaluate such aspects of the employee such as their professional, job-specific skills (because those who provide the feedback are rarely capable of effectively assessing these), certain objective statistical measures such as attendance, and so on.
It should be noted that several 360-degree appraisal tools were found to be highly reliable, and possess high levels of content and constructs validity (Condon & Clifford, 2012). Therefore, utilizing such tools might provide highly reliable feedback on an employee’s performance, permitting that worker knows their strengths and weaknesses, thus capitalizing on the former and taking measures to compensate for the latter. Also, it is suggested that promotion appraisals can assist in making important decisions such as promotions and salary increases (Espinilla et al., 2013, p. 470).
Best Practices in the 360 Degree Appraisal Systems
Avoiding Possible Disadvantages of the 360 Degree Appraisal Systems
Even though the 360-degree appraisal systems may provide rather useful feedback on employee’s performance, it is stressed that some of the 360-degree appraisal tools employed for this purpose often can be characterized by an array of disadvantages and weaknesses which include (Espinilla et al., 2013, p. 460):
- the inability to capture the full picture created by those who provide feedback because they sometimes only provide an assessment on a scale (such as Likert scale). For example, some concrete advice or observations cannot be retained if the respondent only fills in a Likert-scale questionnaire;
- the fact that the criteria which are used for evaluation are often related to one another instead of being independent. For instance, there might be several questions in the quiz that seem different, but, are about the same aspect of the worker who is being assessed;
- the difficulties in the interpretation of the final results of assessments because qualitative information is often presented inaccurately. For instance, if the qualitative information is packed into standard phrases, or, again, is expressed in some type of scale (such as Likert scale), much concrete information that was originally gathered from respondents will be lost.
Therefore, it is recommended to address these issues by implementing the following elements of best practice while designing a 360-degree tool (Espinilla et al., 2013, p. 460):
- to utilize a flexible framework for assessment in which reviewers can record their opinions in a variety of forms, including linguistic expressions, rather than just giving e.g. numerical or Likert-based evaluations;
- to take the possible interaction between the criteria of assessment employed in the tool into account;
- to retain the assessments expressed in the linguistic form in the final results of the evaluation, so that the qualitative information is not lost.
Adjusting Appraisal Systems to an Organizational Culture
It is also stressed that to effectively utilize the 360-degree appraisal systems in an organization, it is pivotal that the culture of the organization in question is consistent with such assessments, as well as is the culture of the region or the country in which the company is located (Aguinis, Joo, & Gottfredson, 2011, p. 506). For example, it is stated that in a company where the communication is strictly limited and the hierarchies are rigid, the utilization of the 360-degree appraisal systems is rather likely to be faced with the resistance of the workers (Aguinis et al., 2011). Therefore, it is paramount to utilize the 360-degree appraisal systems only in those businesses where they are appropriate. Perhaps it may also be recommended to adjust the assessment tools so that to make them match the organizational specifics; however, these adjustments mustn’t make the tools unreliable, invalid, and so on.
Selecting Sample Size for Appropriate Reliability
As for gaining an appropriate amount of reliability of the assessment, it is emphasized that the tool should be administered to a sufficient number of persons (Hensel et al., 2010); for example, surveying only 3-4 persons will usually provide unreliable results. Indeed, in the study by Hensel et al. (2010), interviewing ten persons were needed to obtain the level of reliability of 0.7 in the test assessing the ability to develop personal characteristics, whereas six interviews were required to obtain the same level of reliability, 0.7, when estimating the workers’ motivation related to developing these characteristics. Therefore, it might be recommended to survey at least 10 persons when using the 360-degree appraisal systems.
Using Other Appraisal Tools Along With the 360 Degree Appraisal Systems
It is also important to observe that the 360-degree appraisal systems may not provide full information about the employee’s performance and their relationships with other colleagues. For example, it has already been pointed out that these systems should not be utilized to estimate certain parameters of workers’ performance. Therefore, it is advised to simultaneously use it along with other appraisal systems to gain a deeper and more multi-dimensional assessment (Boachie-Mensah & Seidu, 2012; Kondrasuk, 2011).
Why the Best Practices in the 360 Degree Appraisal Systems
Are Effective, Efficient, Ethical, and Moral
The effectiveness of the best practices in the 360-degree appraisal systems is related to the fact that they allow for gathering information from multiple colleagues of an employee, thus permitting for assessing such factors as interpersonal relationships on numerous levels. They are effective thanks to anonymity, for the colleagues feel they can express their feeling freely. Employing linguistic assessments in the 360-degree appraisal systems permit for gathering more precise feedback, thus also increasing the efficaciousness of the method (Espinilla et al., 2013). Also, greater effectiveness can be gained by using other methods of assessment as well, to gain a fuller picture of the employee and understand the involved nuances better (Boachie-Mensah & Seidu, 2012; Kondrasuk, 2011).
The named practices are efficient in that they allow for gathering a rather full assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of a particular worker, which can also be characterized as valid and highly reliable (Hensel et al., 2010), therefore ensuring that the time and other resources spent on such an assessment are not wasted. Also, knowing a worker’s strengths and weaknesses can permit better utilization of their talents, thus also using them to their full potential.
The assessment tools in question are ethical in that they preserve the anonymity of the respondents, therefore allowing them to express their views and to point out their colleagues’ strengths and weaknesses without directly criticizing/attacking them. They are also ethical because if these tools are adapted to the organizational culture of a company, they should be compliant with the general rules of behavior and/or the codes of ethics existing in that company (Crane & Matten, 2016).
They are moral because they permit an individual who is being assessed to gain thorough feedback about their personal qualities and their performance, thus allowing them to better use their talents and to address their weaknesses, and, consequently, assisting them with their personal development (Shaw, 2017).
How 360 Degree Appraisal Systems
Integrate and Reinforce Christian Business Principles
The 360-degree appraisal systems have the potential of significantly contributing to the integration and reinforcement of the Christian business principles in an organization. For instance, it is emphasized that hard work is of great importance in business, as well as truth (Cafferky, 2015). Therefore, it might be possible to state that the 360-degree appraisal systems permit for integrating and/or reinforcing the Christian business principles in an organization because they allow an employee’s colleagues to honestly provide their feedback about that employee, therefore letting that employee know the truth, and then to use that truth to work harder and more effectively.
Another aspect that might be touched upon in this respect is that according to the Christian business ethics, it is pivotal not to waste resources and to strive to make a business sustainable, i.e., to minimize its harm to the society, economy, and the environment (Rae & Wong, 2012). Because by utilizing the 360-degree appraisal systems it is possible to find out the strengths and weaknesses of a worker, thus permitting them to make use of their strengths and to address their weaknesses, and, as a consequence, letting them work more effectively and use their talents, it might be stated that these appraisal systems allow for more efficacious use of that employee’s resources, therefore helping to implement the principles of Christian business ethics. Also, if the assessment systems are used to gain feedback on leaders’ performance, improving that performance might permit for considerably improving the relationships inside the team, thus positively impacting the morals of the members of the team and decreasing the degree of their stress, and, consequently, lowering the negative impact of the enterprise on these people, which is one of the elements of a sustainable business.
On the whole, it should be stressed that the 360-degree appraisal systems might serve as a useful instrument for evaluating the performance of an employee when it comes to such aspects of their work as personal relationships with colleagues, their personal qualities and leadership skills, and their behaviors in the workplace. It is pivotal to appropriately utilize these tools if a high-quality assessment is to be obtained; for this purpose, employing the discussed best practices when using these assessment tools is paramount.
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