(Language) Games People Play: #1 The Performance Appraisal

Are performance appraisals subjective? Yes.

Are performance appraisals done in the context of differential power relationships and personal agency? Yes.

Are performance appraisals influenced by office politics? Yes.

Despite this consensus, like a juggernaut the practice rolls on.  We’ve even tired to improve the ‘game’ by adding 360 degree feedback into the mix.

If we know that this is a flawed system why can’t we, don’t we, come up with something more meaningful?

I think Richard’s Rohr’s observation about Western culture also applies to organisational culture. He notices that there three kinds of cultures in the Western world today each with its own “bottom line”: political cultures based on the manipulation of power, economic cultures based on the manipulation of money, and religious cultures based on the manipulation of some theory about God. These ‘discourses’ have detrimental social consequences, although this is usually denied or unconsciously created by proponents. The  underlying values and their implicative effect of these discourse are usually hidden from the causal observer because they are uncritically accepted as the norm, ie, it’s the way we do things around here. Rohr gives a dramatic, perhaps overly pathologising warning about the effects of these dominant discourses when he concludes that “evil gains its power from disguise”.

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