Workplace Performance: A Comparison of Subjective and Objective Measures in the 2004 Workplace Employment Relations Survey

20 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2008

See all articles by John Forth

John Forth

National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR)

Robert McNabb

Cardiff University - Cardiff Business School

Abstract

Understanding what determines workplace performance is important for a variety of reasons. In the first place, it can inform the debate about the UK's low productivity growth. It also enables researchers to determine the efficacy of different organizational practices, policies and payment systems. In this article, we examine not the determinants of performance but how it is measured. Specifically, we assess the alternative measures of productivity and profitability that are available in the 2004 Workplace Employment Relations Survey (WERS). Previous WERS have been an important source of data in research into workplace performance. However, the subjective nature of the performance measures available in WERS prior to 2004 has attracted criticism. In the 2004 WERS, data were again collected on the subjective measure but, in addition, objective data on profitability and productivity were also collected. This allows a comparison to be made between the two types of measures. A number of validity tests are undertaken and the main conclusion is that subjective and objective measures of performance are weakly equivalent but that differences are also evident. Our findings suggest that it would be prudent to give most weight to results supported by both types of measure.

Suggested Citation

Forth, John and McNabb, Robert, Workplace Performance: A Comparison of Subjective and Objective Measures in the 2004 Workplace Employment Relations Survey. Industrial Relations Journal, Vol. 39, Issue 2, pp. 104-123, March 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1089903 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2338.2007.00480.x

John Forth (Contact Author)

National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) ( email )

2 Dean Trench Street
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United Kingdom

Robert McNabb

Cardiff University - Cardiff Business School ( email )

Aberconway Building
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Cardiff CF10 3EU
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 29 2087 5210 (Phone)
+44 (0) 29 2087 4419 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cf.ac.uk/carbs/econ/mcnabb/

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