SCORE Model: A Hybrid Approach towards Performance Appraisal of Blue Collar Employees.

AuthorChowdhury, Arup Roy


One of the crucial needs in any type of organization is to evaluate its employees' performance effectively and continuously to find out where they stand, whether they are super-performers, average performers or below average performers. Performance appraisal has been presented by different scholars in various ways.

Dale S. Beach (1980), states that performance appraisal is a systematic evaluation of individual performance with a scope of career development. According to Randall S. Schuler (2005), performance appraisal is a formal, structured system of measuring and evaluating an employee's job related behavior and outcomes to analyze how and why the employee is performing the j ob and how the employee can perform better for the benefit of all. Heyel (1973) suggests that, it is the process of evaluating the performance and qualifications of the employees in terms of the requirements of the job for which he is employed, it is also used for administrative purposes like promotions, increments and other actions which reward and recognize better performers.

The Need Analysis

Traditional appraisals are done by comparing present performance with already established standards. The main objective of performance appraisal is to evaluate, motivate and develop existing talent. Further, this is also used to identify specific training needs and accelerate career development and progression. But the real question lies in the fact that, are the performance appraisals effective in true sense. With time, cost on employees will also increase, so there should be a check and balance mechanism that will justify the cost spent on the employees. On the other hand, keeping performance management in mind, the role of performance appraisals is very much important for an organization as well as for employee development.

The major focus of enquiry for several authors (e.g., Freeman, 2002; Seddon, 2001; Wilson and Western, 2000; Randell, 1994; Long, 1986) has been to examine as to why, in this competitive environment, performance appraisal systems generally are not goal oriented and do not cater the needs of the business, or the career development aspects of the employees. According to Harris (1994), the HR strategies adopted by an organization might impact the organizational strategies.

Objective of the Study

Propper and Wilson (2003), Said (2003) suggest that several studies carried out in the past had focused on measuring performance of white-collar employees. However, there are few studies which have focused on performance management of blue collar employees. Hence there is a need to carry out a pilot study on the performance management system of blue collar employees in a manufacturing industry as a case study approach. The study has taken into account the limitations of the system and evaluation methods used for the appraisal, thereby proposing a hybrid approach for PMS of blue-collar employees. The approach will help in improving performance on key deliverables through improved execution at shop floor by bluecollar employees. The objective of this study is to: (a) understand the nature of existing performance appraisal in the participant organization; (b) propose a hybrid approach of performance appraisal for blue collar employees.

Research Methodology

The study is descriptive in nature and we have followed the case study approach to address 'why?', 'what?' and 'how?' perspective. The case study approach is time and again used in exploratory research (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 2015). Case study approach can be categorized into: (a) holistic and (b) embedded. If the purpose of the research is concerned only with the organization as a whole, then holistic case study approach is better. However, in our pilot study, we are concerned with the single organization as a whole and also examining certain logical sub-units within the organization in terms of specific work groups, so embedded case study is being used (Yin, 2003). Case-based approach can be used as an example to show how a fast-growing company implemented its business strategies in order to support their core business processes which resulted in significant benefits out of it (Laesvirta & Ribiere, 2008). The other advantage of using case-based approach is that it provides an understanding of the critical success factors and issues within an organization.

Literature Review

There are many studies that describe the importance of performance appraisals (Pettijohn et al., 2001b; Roberts & Reed, 1996; Pettijohn et al., 2001; Roberts, 2003; Shah & Murphy, 1995; Martey, 2002; Austin, 2008; Simmons, 2005; Ford, 2004; Khoury, 2004; Grifell-Tatje, 2008, Blackmore, 2005; Shih, 2005; McAdam, 2005). Verbeeten (2008) argued that the definition of clear and measurable goal is positively associated with quantity and quality performance. The results suggest that behavioral excellence along with performance excellence sustains businesses and helps them grow at a steady pace.

Performance appraisal methods are generally used to measure / evaluate an employee's performance. Researchers like Decenzo and Robbins in 2002 made some categorization in them. In literature, most common and popular categorizations are: (a) two-group one (Cascio, 1984): i) absolute appraisals; ii) relative appraisals; and (b) three-group one (Fisher et al., 1997): i) comparative appraisals; ii) behavioral appraisals; iii) output-based appraisals.

Although there were some studies that used two-group categorization (e.g., Roch et al., 2007; Goffin et al., 1996; Jelley & Goffin, 2001; Wagner & Goffin, 1997; Heneman, 1986), it is not easy to directly put every performance appraisal method (PAM) into one category. Even if they are forced to be in one category, the methods in the same category may have different features in terms of appraisal errors. Then, instead of evaluating the performance appraisals' categories, it was preferred to evaluate PAMs individually for this study.

As there are many performance appraisal techniques/methods that have different features and evaluation procedures as presented above, it cannot be stated that only one method can be used in a definite situation...

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