The Annual Performance Review As A Positive Source For Employee Motivation?

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David L. Mathison
Vils N. Vinja


employee appraisal, performance review, annual assessment, new model, relevance, motivation, positive source


Few places in management literature offer a greater divide between theory and practice than in the Annual Performance Review. Yes, academics have thoroughly researched what the ideal review should look like, yet these authors would argue, as educators and consultants, that we know little on how to really develop and effectively conduct a performance review that serves as a positive source for employee motivation. The purpose of this paper is to call for relevance—a challenge to move from theory to actual practice. Eighty-one practicing managers representing some 23 companies were asked to both assess their ongoing annual assessment and to evaluate a new model of assessment introduced in the present paper. The findings suggest that in the first decade of the 21st century, considerable skepticism remains over almost any model used in the performance review, and this includes skepticism concerning the newly introduced model.

The paper concludes with the following three implications of the present study:


1.       The harsh realities of the new workplace bring new challenges to employee appraisals.

2.       The strength of the employee-supervisor relationship is far more important than the ‘correct’ assessment method.

3.       Any effective motivating performance review must be conducted in a positive work environment marked by the application of best practices.



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