Judgment, Evaluation, Feedback, etc. LO9928

Eric Bohlman (ebohlman@netcom.com)
Thu, 12 Sep 1996 14:25:35 -0700 (PDT)

Replying to LO9894 --

On Wed, 11 Sep 1996 mbayers@mmm.com wrote:

> I've just finished reading Deming's -Out of the Crisis-, and the
> interpretation quoted above differs from mine. Indeed, it raises a
> question that bothered me as I read the book. At one point, Deming does
> seem to say that "individual performance cannot be separated from the
> performance of the system" -- with the critical caveat that -the system
> is in statistical control-. That is, if the system's performance shows no
> variation beyond what an enlightened observer would expect, then the
> variation -within- that range of performance cannot legitimately be
> ascribed to an individual.
> OTOH, in his list of management's Five Deadly Diseases, his specifically
> mentions annual performance ratings as one of those deadly diseases.
> Elsewhere in the book, however, he mentions talking to the people whose
> performance does fall outside that anticipated range -- so that
> under-performers can receive training or transfer, and so that
> over-performers can can help improve the system to bring everyone up to
> their levels.
> I'm confused. Does the problem lie with the 'annual-ness' because it is
> not timely? Because it forms one of those 'delays' we hope to address in
> systems models which appear to disconnect cause and effect? The problem
> does -not- seem to lie with monitoring people's performance vis-a-vis the
> system. Any ideas?

That's one of the problems Deming (and several of his followers) have
identified: feedback given on an annual basis is useless as a basis for
action; a common metaphor used is that of driving while looking
exclusively at the rear-view mirror. But Deming's major objection to the
way performance appraisals have been traditionally conducted is that it
makes no attempt to determine who falls within the system and who doesn't;
it treats people who score near the top of the system-determined range as
being "good" performers and people who score near the bottom as being
"bad" performers. His other objection is that such systems create
artificial scarcity; they're based on an underlying assumption that any
workgroup must include some bad performers.

Eric Bohlman (ebohlman@netcom.com)


Eric Bohlman <ebohlman@netcom.com>

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