Demographic Differences and Perceptions of Performance Appraisal Practices
32 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2002
This study addresses demographic differences between employees and their managers with regard to perceptions of performance appraisals, in general, and negative feedback, in particular. A sample of non-supervisory employees (n = 197) was surveyed from an organization whose members represent over 120 nationalities. We hypothesized from status characteristics theory (Ridgeway, 1991; Ridgeway & Balkwell, 1997; Webster & Hysom, 1998) that employees would react more favorably to performance evaluations from "high status" management groups, including males, Whites, and native English-speakers. Results indicate this is accurate regarding males and White managers. We further hypothesized from a relational demography perspective (Tsui & O'Reilly, 1989) that employees who share salient demographic characteristics with their managers would respond more favorably to performance evaluations from these individuals. This was partially supported for gender, in that males responded more positively to male managers following feedback. However, results show that race similarity had a significant, but opposite effect than predicted with regard to reactions to negative feedback. "Social identity threat," especially among minority employees, is offered as a possible explanation for the finding that employees react more unfavorably to negative feedback from same-race managers. Implications and future research are proposed.
Keywords: Performance appraisal, organizational justice, diversity
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