Performance management (PM) is the natural reaction to and extension of the hit or miss traditional performance appraisal. Instead of being a one-and-done event, PM is a set of behaviors that managers exhibit daily to identify, motivate, and develop their employees’ performance. Due to its effectiveness, putting a finger on the “right” PM system has been a popular and recent trend for many organizations. Unfortunately, this is often difficult for organizations, as the literature has struggled to define and measure managerial PM behaviors.
MEASURING PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT
In an effort to better understand the PM concept, the authors (Kinicki, Jacobson, Peterson, & Prussia, 2012) recently developed a reliable and valid measure of the managerial behaviors that make up effective PM. After a lengthy development process, their final scale included 27 items and measured the following six behavioral areas:
- Goal setting
- Providing consequences
- Establishing/monitoring performance expectations
The scale overall displayed a high degree of psychometric validity. It also had the added benefit of having the ability to predict performance above and beyond the existing leadership measures, supporting the idea that leadership and PM do not completely overlap conceptually.
PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS FOR ORGANIZATIONS
Of course having a reliable and valid measure is important for further research efforts on PM, but perhaps the greatest benefit lies in the measure’s practical implications. Specifically, using this measure dovetails with other recent calls in the literature to hold managers accountable for PM, and to train them on proper execution of PM, instead of revamping the entire PM system when it fails to function like it should. Ultimately, having a manager-focused PM system, equipped with a viable means for evaluating PM success, will ultimately save organizations money, time, and hassle in getting the best out of their employees.
Kinicki, A. J., Jacobson, K. J., Peterson, S. J., & Prussia, G. E. (2012). Development and Validation of the Performance Management Behavior Questionnaire. Personnel Psychology, 66(1), 1-45.