Saturday, May 5, 2012

The paradox of 360-Degree Feedback

In this week’s article, “Capitalizing on Capabilities”, a part of the audit process that is emphasized is the 360 degree feedback. But is 360 degree feedback always effective? Maury A. Peiperl in his Harvard Business Review article “Getting 360-Degree Feedback Right”1 talks about some paradoxes that if over- come can make 360-Degree feedback a positive experience.

The four paradoxes
      1.       Paradox of roles
If you are being evaluated by your peers and your colleagues, there are chances that the feedback will be biased or is likely to be conservative to avoid straining the relationship and in effect is unhelpful.

      2.       Paradox of group performance
In today’s corporate structure, a lot of importance is given to team work and it is still a mystery as to what makes a particular team click.  However, successful groups do not appreciate it when they are asked to judge each team member individually.

      3.       The Measurement Paradox
Most appraisals are based on figures and statistics. They however fail to take into consideration the qualitative part of the feedback, namely the comments and the things that need to be read between the lines in face to face feedback. This means that statistics are skewed and might not be representative of the candidate’s performance.

      4.       Paradox of rewards
It is hard to interpret and evaluate qualitative feedback especially when the candidate is concerned with the outcome of that feedback namely the reward (raise, promotion, bonus, etc.) In that sense, peer appraisal seems like a threat to self-worth rather than a chance to improve.

So how do companies overcome these paradoxes ? Can an organization that has grown in size and has established a particular culture, including the appraisal process, be able to overcome these paradoxes or is it doomed to be ineffective in gathering relevant feedback using this methodology ?


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  2. Excellent way of describing!!! I appreciate the effort you made to share the knowledge. Thanks. 360-degree feedback


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