Judgment, Evaluation, Feedback, etc. LO9917

Thomas P Benjamin (BENJAMIN@anand.nddb.ernet.in)
Thu, 12 Sep 1996 09:33:52 +0530

Replying to LO9868 --

Replying to:

From: "Kerr, Donald" <Donald.Kerr@alliedsignal.com>
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 1996 07:25:00 -0700
Subject: Judgment, Evaluation, Feedback, etc. LO9868

-- Quote: --- I was just thinking about something Peter Senge said in an
LO Teleconference last year. I won't quote him directly but his message
was leaders must understand the difference between feedback and
evaluation. He did not elaborate. He seems to stay away from the issue
of performance appraisals. I'm curious why and how he feels about this
-- End Quote --

I do not know why Senge stays away from the issue of Performance
appraisals. Currently, I have strong reservations about performance
appraisals. My experience, though limited has been that however well
meaning, it does not seem to provide the desired result in most cases.
For a few cases where it might have benefits, why run a organisation wide
system? In the field book there is reference to innovations required in
the way Performance is Appraised when creating a climate for personal
mastery in organisations. Probably,such innovations need to be tested.

Peter Block used a humourous example to dig at the practice of performance
appraisal. While talking about partnership relationships in
organisations, his dig made sense."Imagine an appraisal with your
wife (partner), at the end of the year after your dialogue,ask your partner
to sign at the end of the page on the dotted line." I agree with his view,
in partnership relationships, Appraisals do not make sense.

My own reaction is that managers need to focus on creating a climate for
achieving the employees vision, support the employees efforts to achieve
that vision and provide honest feedback when solicited. Managers may start
by practicing this behaviour to help create this culture within the
organisation. I am only stating my preference. My environment believes in
Performance Appraisals.

Could any of you help me understand the following words and

1) What is the difference between "evaluation" and "feedback?"


Evaluation is measurement against predetermined outcomes. The study would
include aspects of purpose,inputs,process,outcomes and impact. Evaluation
is often a management initiative.

Feedback is reflecting what you see,like a mirror. Feedback may be
solicited or unsolicited. More often an individual or group initiative.

2) How is "evaluation" similar to/different than "Judgment.?"


The endeavour in evaluation is not to be judgemental. Evaluators however
err in making judgemental statements in their reports. A professional
report should avoid judgements. Skilled evaluators can make it appear to
be a systemic feedback to management about how they are doing against what
they had planned. In organisational Development practice, evaluation can
be through participatory methods.

3) How are these terms related to "ranking," "grading in school," and even
"Salary Grading and promotion?"

Ans: I would not use the evaluation or feedback process for the above.

4) Are all these terms, including exclusive hierarchy, products of a
competitive system based on artificial scarcity?

Ans: No comments. I don't know.

5) If one speaks out against performance appraisals, ranking, pay for
performance, etc., how can one not also come out against salary grades and
promotion within an exclusive hierarchy?


All these according to me are attempts to determine pecking order. They
are based on theory X. Should be outdated amoung knowledge workers.

6) How does the message "Judge not!" in the Christian Bible relate to
one's judgment of someone else's performance and worth to an organization?
Is it strictly a spiritual principle or is it a call to transformation of
social organization? Many are trying desperately to come up with
alternatives to the prevailing performance appraisal systems and exclusive
hierarchies...most are not very successful. Dr. Deming has shown us that,
no matter how you slice them individual performance cannot be separated
from the performance of the system and for this reason Performance
Appraisal cannot be done. From this can we go on to say that any form of
judgment cannot be done. Could it be that the reason they cannot be done
is because they violate the spiritual principle "Judge Not?" Could it be
that to empower people to learn...is a much more radical transformation
than has been sold by consultants so far? Is a 1 to 12 leadership to
disciple (employee) ratio where the least shall be the greatest the only
remaining model for social organization?


I think judgement in the Bible and Performance Appraisals are not related.
Performance Appraisals are Ceazers ways of dealing with people in his
kingdom. If Ceazer wants to judge,he has a right to judge in the way he
wants to judge! I think most people have no objection to honest feedback,
even an appraisal. What is objected to is the formal way in which it is
done and the implication it has. Human bias is inevitable.

-- Qoute: I'd appreciate any of your time in addressing any or all of
these questions. This is not intended to be a debate on how to do
performance appraisals, etc. I'm interested in the flow of meaning that
runs through my questions. My hope is you can help me understand why I'm
asking them and if they are legitmate questions. Please do not let the
last one turn you off from the first five. Thank you.
-- EndQoute

I havn't a clue as to why Donald has asked the above questions. Glad to
know someone is bothered about the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of
Performance Appraisal as I am. Maybe Donald will come out with systems
that minimise the judgemental outcomes of evaluation,feedback etc.

Thomas P Benjamin


"Thomas P Benjamin" <BENJAMIN@anand.nddb.ernet.in>

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