Hr Executive

Cite.Co is a repository of information created by your industry peers and experienced seniors sharing their experience and insights.
Join Us and help by adding your inputs. Contributions From Other Members Follow Below...
Hi Friends, Can you give some information regarding 360 degree of appraisal.
Dear Prabha,


In human resources, 360-degree feedback, also known as 'multi-rater feedback', 'multisource feedback', or 'multisource assessment', is employee development feedback that comes from all around the employee. "360" refers to the 360 degrees in a circle. The feedback would come from subordinates, peers, and managers in the organizational hierarchy, as well as self-assessment, and in some cases external sources such as customers and suppliers or other interested stakeholders. It may be contrasted with upward feedback, where managers are given feedback by their direct reports, or a traditional performance appraisal, where the employees are most often reviewed only by their manager.

The results from 360-degree feedback are often used by the person receiving the feedback to plan their training and development. The results are also used by some organizations for making promotional or pay decisions, which is sometimes called "360-degree review."

Strategic Data

While the value of 360 -degree feedback is often seen in terms of individual development, aggregate reporting of all recipients' results can provide valuable data for the organization as a whole. It enables leaders to

Take advantage of under-utilized personnel strengths to increase productivity

Avoid the trap of counting on skills that may be weak in the organization

Apply human assets data to the valuation of the organization

Make succession planning more accurate

Design more efficient coaching and training initiatives

Support the organization in marketing the skills of its members


• Individuals get a broader perspective of how they are perceived by others than previously possible. • Increased awareness of and relevance of competencies. • Increased awareness by senior management that they too have development needs. • More reliable feedback to senior managers about their performance. • Gaining acceptance of the principle of multiple stakeholders as a measure of performance. • Encouraging more open feedback — new insights. • Reinforcing the desired competencies of the business. • Provided a clearer picture to senior management of individual’s real worth (although there tended to be some ‘halo’ effect syndromes). • Clarified to employees critical performance aspects. • Opens up feedback and gives people a more rounded view of performance than they had previously. • Identifying key development areas for the individual, a department and the organization as a whole. Identifying strengths that can be used to the best advantage of the business. • A rounded view of the individual’s/ team’s/ organization’s performance and what the strengths and weaknesses are. • Raised the self-awareness of people managers of how they personally impact upon others — positively and negatively. • Supporting a climate of continuous improvement. • Starting to improve the climate/ morale, as measured through the survey. • Focused agenda for development. Forced line managers to discuss development issues. • Perception of feedback as more valid and objective, leading to acceptance of results and actions required

================================================== ============================================

To what extent does 360-degree appraisal overcome the problems that affect more traditional appraisal processes?

Appraisal systems are now widely implemented in many organisations across the world (Antonioni, 1996) yet many are badly designed and carried out, producing less than effective results. Appraisal programmes can be used as a tool to make decisions regarding pay raises and promotions or as a developmental tool and in some cases both. However, the effectiveness of the appraisal systems in improving employee performance and making the right decision can often depend on how it is viewed by the people taking part. In an effort to make more accurate, reliable and fair decisions, multiple source appraisal (or 360 degree appraisal as it is often known) whereby appraisal data is acquired from a number of sources above, below and sideways to the target as well as self rating, has been implemented in many organisations. Although intuitive to managers, the practice of this method is years ahead of the current research related to the issues surrounding it and its effectiveness. Therefore, what can we say about 360-degree appraisal and how can we help managers use it to its greatest affect?

In the traditional appraisal paradigm, the appraiser often takes the form of the immediate supervisor or manager of the target. However, for some time it has been felt by employees who experience the system that there is too much room for the subjective influence of the individual performing the appraisal (Stewart, 1998). Even when measures (even psychometrically valid ones) are used to standardise and structure the performance process there is always room for bias towards individual who are able to conduct an influential impression management. Therefore, these subjective ratings are often looked upon cynically by employees. Of course some organisations also use more objective measures during appraisal processes such as levels of absences or productivity, yet it has been suggested that these measure are often subject to processes that are beyond the employees control and are therefore not accurate or indeed fair reflections of performance. It would appear that we have a no win situation on our hands. However, the introduction of 360-degree appraisal might seem to solve many of these issues. Allowing appraisal data from several sources should highlight any individual rater bias and give a more valid and fairer reflection of the abilities of the target (Borman, 1998). Yet is it as simple as that?

Using multiple source appraisals has stumbled upon many new difficulties that previous systems have not encountered. It could almost seem as though the older problems were swapped with a whole new set of more novel ones. However, it could be disputed that this is how most new technologies are until they become established and well managed. The basic practice of 360-degree feedback uses information that is gathered from several levels around the appraisee and therefore is a rich source of data which can include everything from ratings of OCBs to presentation skill and leadership potential. Indeed the method under which the data is collected may have a substantial impact of the types of output the appraisal system provides, where more psychometric measures can give a quick over view of performance, more qualitative data could give richer feedback as to how the employee could improve and the key areas of their performance. Although this is the case, the standard BOS measure (Landy and Farr, 1980) has been given positive reviews by all those that use it and experience it.

We must also remember that 360-degree appraisal systems are also subject to the errors that would normally be apparent in general rating scales. These include central tendency, where raters tend to go for a safe bet around the middle of the scale, and the usual memory affects (primacy and recency affect and time decay). An interesting error to note is the halo and horns effect, whereby ratings are influenced by the social abilities of the target. Liking has often seen to be a difficulty in subjective rating systems and as Latham (1986) notes, we cannot forget about the social and affective variables that influence such decisions.

The idea of 360-degree appraisal then seems quite idealistic and utopian, with everyone providing their opinion from their perspective, producing a comprehensive view of the target. However, raters in all directions will have political and social reasons in the workplace for biasing their ratings in a certain direction. Anonymity is often required for the process, as raters who are known to the target consistently give more positive responses (London and Smither, 1995) and on top of this they may feel some degree of role conflict (Peiperl, 2001). How can you be both a peer and a judge? Indeed Peiperl (2001) highlights a number of other paradoxes that occur when using peer review, including the fact that asking members of a group to focus on the performance of one of its member can often change the group dynamics and effectiveness. She also notes that more subjective and more difficult data collection can often be more useful in providing data rich and productive feedback to the target. She also suggests that appraisal systems that leads to rewards can make peers feel extremely uncomfortable about giving ratings that might sway important decisions related to their colleagues.

In using 360-degree appraisal as a development tool for employees (which is the use whereby it seems to gain the most positive support, see Brett and Atwater, 2001) there is often the need to frame the gaps between the employee’s perception of themselves and how others perceive them. Increased self-awareness is likely to be beneficial as it allows more realistic estimates of performance to be made and indeed more accurate assessment of risk (less overconfidence). The literature into this phenomenon is quite extensive and it seems that there is often a considerable gap between the how others see an individual at work, and how they perceive themselves. It is also noted that ratings by others tend to be more valid than self ratings (Harris and Schaubroeck, 1988; van der Heijden and Nijhof, 2004). This is a positive thing for 360- degree appraisal as it demonstrates the inter-rater reliability and indeed, usefulness over the self-evaluation method (but see Warr and Bourne, 2000)

It must be noted that the comprehensiveness of the data that is collected in 360-degree appraisal can make the feedback seem quite powerful to any potential recipient. Brett and Atwater (2001) demonstrate that negative feedback from the process should be handle with extreme care as it can provoke quite a large negative response to the process from the recipient. They note that a great deal of support should be provided following any negative feedback and indeed there should be a focus on providing constructive criticism that can be built upon. Many often attribute reduced accuracy of the low usefulness and accuracy of the appraisal process if they are given negative feedback, however, if it is handled in a supportive and well-managed way, there should be no reason why the employee could not improve and grow from it.

In a round up, there are many intuitive benefits of the 360-degree appraisal process, namely the increased richness of data, comprehensive view of the subject and perceived increase in fairness, however, there are still many social and affective difficulties with using such a process. A key factor might be in the areas to be appraised, making sure that each is well specified and transparent throughout the process (Williams, 2002) allowing for even fairer evaluation. Although the idea of 360-degree appraisal offers an attractive alternative to traditional appraisal methods, the reality is that the method is still not well tested and requires further study and refinement.


John N

This discussion thread is closed. If you want to continue this discussion or have a follow up question, please post it on the network.
Add the url of this thread if you want to cite this discussion.

About Us Advertise Contact Us
Privacy Policy Disclaimer Terms Of Service

All rights reserved @ 2020 Cite.Co™