Globalization and information based technology has had significant and widespread effects on the environment. Within that context is the evolving and continuous development of manpower. The modern employee is highly knowledgeable and equipped with skills that necessarily make him or her good in strategic decision making. This has in overall changed the working landscape. Within the same strain, developments have been seen in the human resource management. The new generation employees demand for more participative and consultative approaches to management. In that context, performance appraisal methods have inevitably changed. In addition, the role of the manager has metamorphosed from pure decision making approaches to coordination and consultative approaches. Moreover, the worker demands for more information, more resources and more control of his or her input in the workplace. This paper seeks to analyze human resource management in the context of performance appraisal. From the onset, the paper posits that the approach has changed from the traditional authoritative and controlling manager to a persuasive charismatic manager who seeks to consult and coordinate with junior employees. In that vein, new performance appraisal models have been adopted which include strategic decision making and management by objectives approach. This paper shall particularly consider these two models and their overall input in the domain of performance appraisal. In addition, this paper shall analyze the continuing changes and portray the situation as anticipated in the coming days. In overall, this paper appreciates the development in human resource management and encourages an approach that strikes a balance between the demands of the organization and the employee. With harmonization of the interests of the employees and the organization, success would be an inevitable outcome.
Statement of purpose and significance of study
This paper comes in the backdrop of the changing managerial approach. In that context, it is essential since it captures essential managerial competencies necessary for the overall organizational success. It equally focuses on the employee. It is imperative to appreciate the role of the employee in the current work environment. The employee has become the most significant weapon in the workplace which is becoming increasingly competitive. In that strain, managers are advised to ensure that an employee is addicted and attracted to the work. Indeed, this has to be within the ethical operating framework. Similarly, an employee is expected to observe organizational culture and seek to attain the overall organizational objectives despite having one’s own individual objectives. It is on that premise that the management by objectives approach seeks to harmonize the individual objectives with the organizational objectives. In addition, the significance of this paper should be appreciated for its attempt to forecast the future developments especially in the area of performance appraisal. It equally needs to be appreciated for its integration of the concepts of strategic planning, management by objective and performance evaluation.
Managerial terrain has undergone tremendous changes credited to the knowledge based employee. Indeed, from the classical organization of work to the current management by objectives approach, it has become necessary to redefine the concept of performance appraisal. A century ago, work was organized scientifically and the manager had to make all decisions. The role of an employee was merely implementation. The manager, therefore, made decisions, controlled, and guided employees through the implementation. Consequently, employees took little to no credit for the overall success or failure of the organization. This culture in many cases led to a disgruntled employee base. Employees were not empowered. They lacked the ability and authority to make even the little insignificant decisions. In overall, work was slower, less efficient and employees were less enthusiastic about their roles and participation.
Clearly, there was a need to change this state of affairs. In order to improve employee performance, managers have introduced mechanisms that seek to change the workplace at large. The classical approach to human resource management and work organization in general has been replaced by an approach that emphasizes more on the human resource rather than the work. In addition, work has been organized into tasks and functions with each group being assigned particular tasks and functions. In overall, this has occasioned an improvement in the efficacy and efficiency of personnel. Moreover, the human resource manager has been compelled to approach work with an attitude that is rather consultative and accommodative. The previous approach where the manager merely commanded and required the workers to comply and implement policies without question has been overtaken by events.
Within this development context, work performance measurement has become a useful tool for a manager to evaluate abilities, competencies and overall contribution of human resources to the organization. This has seen a trajectory that is embracive of consultation and strategic planning that incorporates both workers and managers in the decision making process. These decisions are more strategic and are essentially intended to ensure that the organization meets both its long and short term goals. In addition, the organization has adopted an approach that motivates employees to perform well. The net overall effect is a reduction on operational costs previously incurred in matters such as supervision, managerial personnel, among other overheads. This relatively new approach attempts to give an employee the benefit of doubt. It anticipates that the employee would promote organizational interests over his or her own individual interests. It equally demands for employee loyalty to the organization. It is this approach that informs the management by objectives approach. Under the management by objectives approach, employees sit with the manager and preset objectives. Each employee individually agrees on his or her own area and objectives. The manager would then evaluate the organizational performance based on the individual delivery of the organizational objectives. Each employee is held accountable to his or her objectives which were preset. A characteristic that inevitably comes up entails the empowerment of the employee. With resources and authority, the employee is expected to meet the organizational objectives that fell within his or her domain. In addition, management ensures a feedback process is incorporated that allows for employees to immediately report any shortcomings in the implementation of objectives and obtain remedial measures with the help of the organization.
Performance appraisal refers to the evaluation of employees’ performance and output. In the management by objectives context, a manager and an employee agree on a set of objectives to be met. The time limit for the satisfaction of these objectives is agreed to by both parties. In addition, the resources necessary for the satisfaction of the objectives is agreed on and provided to the employee by the organization. Performance appraisal, in other words, can be defined as the evaluation of the employee’s use of the resources for the satisfaction of the relevant organizational objectives. It is this paper’s contention that this area of human resource is going to undergo changes given the changing nature of human capital.
It is imperative to appreciate the changing nature of human capital. Foremost, it is essential to highlight some of the factors responsible for the changing nature of human capital. The use of information technology applications come out as one significant factor. Information technology platforms including the internet has facilitated in significant strides sharing and exchange of ideas and knowledge. In that breadth, the modern employee has received tremendous amount of knowledge. Consequently, the employee is able to tackle complex tasks which previously required the decision making capabilities of the manager. This empowerment is soon going to be reflected in the nature of management by objectives agreements and the consequential performance appraisal.
Secondly, the delivery of work has since changed. The nature of work demands for new and ever evolving skills and techniques for efficient delivery of tasks. In addition, work has been organized in increasingly specialized groups with teams being tasked with the delivery of particular functions. The increased specialization has had the tendency of making the managerial function irrelevant. For instance, consider a situation where a team is tasked with the laying down of conduit pipes over a sea path. The function of the manager who in many cases has the least knowledge on engineering becomes merely on the surficial. Internally, the team tasked with the responsibility remains with the knowhow and technical competencies for efficient delivery. This situation compels the manager to consult with the team and in many cases he or she may be merely taking progress reports rather than issuing instructions as was the position in the traditional managerial approach.
Thirdly, the changing legal terrain should be appreciated. With human rights activism becoming global, human resource management has equally had its fair share of legal developments. The labor and employment laws have become even more pronounced. The modern employee in any legal regime is equipped with the law in his or her fingers. This legal consciousness has equally contributed to the changing approaches including those in performance appraisal as management has become more conscious of the repercussions of adversely appraising employees outside the ambit of the laws. In addition, the modern employee has become aware of ways of maneuvering the system so as to get justice even for the most minor of injustices in the workplace.
Another factor that contributes to the changing nature of performance evaluation relates to mechanization which in advanced cases is automation. Through automation simple and routine tasks are no longer performed by people, rather they have become the subject of machines and electronic gadgets. In the same strain, it has increasingly become the practice to apply modern technology to perform some aspects of performance appraisal. For instance, in an industry where an employee is engaged in the production of pins, performance appraisal may be based on the number of pins produced per hour. This can be appraised easily with the use of computer programs that count the number of pins forked out on an hourly basis. The use of automated processes can equally apply in appraising even complex situations. For instance, in a bank, the number of customers served by a teller from a queue can be subjected to an automated process that records not only the number of customers teller A serves, but also the duration each of the customers spend in the teller’s counter. In the same vein, the bank may organize for a feedback system in which the customer keys in yes and no answers to the system. Such are just examples of the application of technology in employee performance appraisal.
Given the above mentioned factors and the changing human resource landscape, this paper posits that the area of performance appraisal is yet to see full changes. In fact, changes are likely to occur in the near future. The globalized world would make appraisal a little technical. Managers would have to evaluate the performance of their employees through an integration of managerial theories and information technology developments. In addition, it would be essential for employees to up their game so as to meet the high standards set due to the highly competitive workforce. Managers are likely to be consumed in the information technology platforms such as the internet which would avail solutions to the managerial questions and problems in relation to human resource management.
Equally significant to note is the fact that employee engagement would likely be on the increase. Organizations would soon acknowledge employees` value. The management would appreciate the deep knowledge and competencies portrayed by the modern employee. In that context, management by objectives would be embraced on a higher scale. It is this paper’s postulation that results of such practices would be positive. This needs to be examined in the context of strategic decision making and planning. The engagement of employees in both formulation and implementation would mean that the organization earns several scores in relation to such engaged employees. First, this approach wins the trust and loyalty of an employee. An employee feels a sense of value, worth and appreciation. This trickles down to motivation of the employee. A motivated employee arguably remains the most essential tool any organization pursuing success requires. Equally, this approach would tap an employee`s skills and competencies not only at the implementation level as was the case previously and is the case in current situations, but also in the formulation level. It has been argued that failing to plan is like planning to fail. If this aphorism is correct then this approach would cure the inability of the organization to properly plan since the employees are engaged in the process from the formulation to the implementation level.
Lastly, it must be appreciated that the changing terrain demands for the employee to keep his or her word on his or her promises. In that regard, management by objectives approach will afford an employee a chance to make promises of performance to the organization. These promises shall be used to gauge the success or otherwise of the employee.
It is this paper’s postulation that human resource management will continue to undergo changes. It is equally this paper’s appreciation that employees of the coming generations are more informed, more empowered, and must be engaged more as opposed to the traditional approach that merely used the employees as machines for implementation. In that context, the organization must adopt modern approaches in the consequential appraisal of employees` performance. Management by objectives approach offers a rare yet engaging option that would facilitate the harmonization of the individual employee objectives to that of the organizational objectives.
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