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The Executive Appraisal Paradox

Clinton O. Longenecker, Dennis A. Gioia and Clinton O. Longnecker
The Executive
Vol. 6, No. 2 (May, 1992), pp. 18-28
Published by: Academy of Management
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4165062
Page Count: 11
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The Executive Appraisal Paradox
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Abstract

Executives perform the most uncertain, unstructured, ill-defined, and often the most important work in organizations. Common wisdom would suggest that people doing such jobs should be the ones supplied with the most effective feedback about their performance, simply because good, informative feedback helps them cope with the acknowledged demands of executive work. Therefore, one would expect the level of performance feedback to rise as one progresses up the organizational hierarchy. We found almost exactly the opposite to be true in many companies. Paradoxically, the higher one rises in an organization the less likely one is to receive quality feedback about job performance. In particular, we found that the executive review and appraisal process was often infrequently and haphazardly done, and that the underlying reasons for the poorly-conducted appraisals were traceable to a number of fallacious assumptions or myths about the nature of executives and their work. These myths not only hindered executives in the performance of their jobs, but also complicated their personal and professional development. In this article we identify and discuss six prevalent myths that contribute to the paradox of executive appraisal. We then offer a number of recommendations and suggestions that not only serve to counter the consequences of these myths, but also help to lay the groundwork for conducting constructive and comprehensive executive appraisals.

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