A CRITICAL ANALYSIS ON THE PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL SYSTEM IN THE GOVERNMENT

Organization is a social system and the worker is indeed its most vital element. Most of social scientists believe that the failure or success of an organization hinges on the kind of workers involved in that organization. Thus, they uphold the idea that human problems when they stand in the way of every organization’s objectives must be controlled or minimized, if not possibly eradicated. And one way of controlling, minimizing, or eradicating these problems is through the adoption of performance appraisal. Performance appraisal as a process of evaluating task results is both essential for the development of both management and employee. For management, the results of appraisal are used in making decisions on such matters like compensation upgrading, promotion, transfer, and other employee fringe benefits. These evaluation results are also useful in determining employee’s work improvement or progress, and in making an employee activity plan during the period of employment.

For employees, the results of appraisal provide feedback about their work, and promote fair relationships within groups. Assuming that performance is satisfactory, the appraisal enhances an employee’s self-image and feeling of competence, thus improving his performance and attitudes. In most Philippine government agencies, the performance appraisal process starts with a supervisor consolidating the task inputs of his subordinates which include productivity numbers, attendance and tardiness reports, and project reports. The supervisor proceeds by assessing the employee’s personal attributes using the 1-2-3-4-5 system of the Trait Rating Scale (TRS) method, and by providing descriptions regarding the strong and weak aspects of the employees’ behavior, and recommending employees’ future trainings and assignments. The data are then transferred to a performance rating form, and subsequently communicated to the employees through an interview in which the supervisor provides feedback to the employee on past performance, discusses with him problems that have arisen, and elicits from him answers and reactions. Then the two parties both affix their signatures on the said rating form. The employee however has the option to “agree” or “disagree” the ratings made.

Either the employee agrees or disagrees, the performance rating form is transmitted to the personnel department of the agency for preparation of over-all human resource evaluation and findings to be submitted to the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and to the top management for inclusion in the corporate planning. Before another year commences, top-level executives of government, as part of their management functions, then meet for corporate planning to discuss and set goals and specific objectives of the organization for the incoming year. and supervisors at the lower echelons who, in The turn, results of the planning are then transmitted to the managers communicate them to the people at the lowest level of the organization. However, this process of cascading the goals and objectives of the organization, complex a “from-top-to-bottom” problems affecting approach, the has created effective

implementation of a particular agency's performance appraisal system for it tends to be confronted with criticisms and dissatisfaction among the employees from the rank-and-file level. The goals and objectives formulated by the top management which also involve performance targets are so general as they are focused on the total workforce of the

agency that they lack consideration to constraints and barriers peculiar to every division or branch of the whole organizational. Thus, there are employees of some divisions or field offices who feel they are more burdened with targets than the others. The appraisal interview process in which the rater and the ratee talk face-to-face has also been always stressful for both parties as it sometimes emerges to be confrontational, emotional, and judgmental. It is confrontational because each party tries to convince that one view is more accurate than the other; emotional, because the supervisor’s role calls for a critical perspective, and the employee’s desire to “save face” oftentimes leads to defensiveness; and judgmental, because the supervisor must evaluate the employee’s behavior, putting the employee clearly in a subordinate spot. The first recorded appraisal system in industry was Robert Owen’s use of character books and blocks in his New Lanark cotton mills in Scotland around 1800. Today, however, there are already numerous methods and techniques created for performance evaluation. Yet, most organizations in the world use only the three methods stated below in their employee evaluations. These are also the same methods adopted, or at least, endeavored to be adopted by the Philippine government agencies, namely:

1.

The Trait Rating Scale (TRS) or Graphic Rating

Scale. It uses a chart or graph containing a set of traits to be considered; 2. The Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale (BARS). Developed by Smith and Kendall, it is an improvement over the TRS because the important dimensions of a job are listed; and 3. The Management by Objectives (MBO). This method is the process in which the supervisor and worker of an organization together identify their common goals, define each individual’s major area of responsibility in terms of the results expected, and draw up specific measures to serve as guides in effectively and efficiently operating the unit and in assessing the contribution of every member. MBO was first introduced by Douglas McGregor and Peter Drucker, and was further improved by George S. Odiorne, John Humble, and others. John M. Ivancevich considers MBO more than just an evaluation program process. subordinates debate. plan, He views it as a philosophy of control, communicate, and managerial practice, a method by which managers and organize, Ivancevich quoted McGregor as saying that the

superior in every organization should work with subordinates to set goals. This would enable subordinates to exercise selfcontrol and manage their job performance.

The implementation of internal appraisal system for every government agency in the Philippines took effect on March 25, 1989 under the administration of the Civil Service Commission. It is pursuant to the provisions of Section 5 (b) and 6 of Republic Act 6713, otherwise known as “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees”. Under Sections 5 (b) and 6, all public officials and employees are obliged to submit annual performance reports within fortyfive (45) working days from the end of every year. In line of this is the granting of incentives and rewards to public officials and employees who demonstrate exemplary service and conduct to Filipinos in general on the basis of their observance of the norms of conduct laid down in Section 4 of the same Code, namely: commitment to public interest, professionalism, justness and sincerity, political neutrality, responsiveness to the public, nationalism and patriotism, commitment to democracy, and simple living. The incentives and rewards may take on any form of the following: bonuses, or or citations, controlled or directorships or in paid government-owned corporations,

vacations; and automatic promotion to the next higher position suitable to the employee’s qualifications.

The performance evaluation process is administered by the Committee on Awards for Outstanding Public Officials and Employees, composed of representatives from the CSC, Office of the Ombudsman, and Commission on Audit (COA) as assisted by technical experts from the government and the private sectors. Performance appraisal systems are supposedly, among other things, a program created by government to align corporate and individual performance with goals, standards, and expectations, and to develop a more objective and constructive performance review that encourages self-development. Sadly, these objectives melodic they may sound to every government employees ear, remain unachieved. The appraisal systems of the government are still remote from being reflective to the actual performance of every employee for it lacks consultative venue between the management and workers as evident of its “ from top-to-bottom” approach in target setting. It has also bestowed immense authority to the supervisors in the semestral evaluation of employee performance that it constantly produces rater-ratee conflicts. In the sphere of public service, performance appraisal systems of the government have not been able to provide CSC with the accurate profile of the total government workforce for it lacks

the dimensions focusing on the norms of conduct clearly laid down in Section 4 of RA 6713, thus depriving the government employees of the recognition and possible awards and incentives they deserve. The problems faced by the performance appraisal systems could be resolved effectively and fairly if the course followed in the target setting is the “from-bottom-to-top” approach, rather than the other way around. In the “ from-bottom-to-top” approach, the branches are given the venue to come up with their own targets taking into point the outcome of their own environmental and corporate appraisals. This is, however, a no-picnic process for they are going to submit the result of the target setting to top management and defend it with macro and microeconomic indicators. But, despite of all these complexities, it is important to note that it is the employees who formulate the targets, thus the commitment and dedications to meeting these targets are more honest and firm. This same concept is strongly stressed by modern appraisal philosophy that embodies Drucker and McGregor’s MBO, and which should have been conscientiously adhered by government agencies. As the saying goes, “ if you know where you want to go, you are more likely to get there”.

While the immediate supervisor is in the best position to evaluate and rate employee performance since he is in direct touch with and is in the work place, it must also be reckoned that he also has his biases and favors which may affect the objectivity of the appraisal process. Hence, for the purpose of objectivity, the agency must also include in the appraisal system the ratings given not just by the supervisor, but also by peers, by a committee or board, and by the ratee himself. The peer evaluation is desirable to help determine potential supervisors because it indicates the degree of esteem a colleague has for his co-workers. The use of committee or board on the other hand could make a more reliable appraisal provided that the immediate supervisor is included in the committee since it can offset biases and favors. Problems can arise however in self-appraisal for there are some poor performers who tend to rate themselves too mildly. Nevertheless, these limitations can be overshadowed by the fact that most government employees are frank and sincere enough in identifying their strengths and weaknesses, and are able to lay with impartiality their performance against

previous expectations. Besides, self-evaluations are much less threatening to one’s self-esteem than those received from others. As Newstrom and Davis put it, “self-appraisals provide a more fertile soil for growth and change.” For government performance appraisal systems to be potent they involve formulate performance evaluation procedures and standards that are congruent with the objectives of the organization. Procedures and standards of work performance must not be set up arbitrarily. Instead, they must be analyzed from the point of tasks they contain and just what the workers are doing or supposed to be doing. They must encourage workers to give their best efforts to the organization, rather than bring disappointment, and worst, demoralization. The organizational objectives, on the other hand, must be clear and specific enough that can be understood and identified with even by the lowest ranking worker of the organization. They must also be measurable, time-bound, and most of all, realistic and attainable.

References Candy, Robert L. and Gregory H. Dobbins, Performance Appraisal: Alternative Perspectives (Cincinnati: SouthWestern, 1994), pp. 25-61. Flippo, Edwin B., Personnel Management (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1984), pp. 224-245. Ivancevich, John M., Human Resource Management (Chicago: Irwin, 1995), pp. 256-291. Miranda, Gregorio S., Supervisory Management: The Management of Effective Supervision ( Mandaluyong: National Book Store, 2004), pp. 173-195. Newstrom, John W. and Keith Davis, Organizational Behavior: Human Behavior at Work (New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1993), pp. 172-175.

Republic Act No. 6713: Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (Quezon City: CSC, 1989), pp. 02-04. Rules Implementing the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards

for Public Officials and Employees (Quezon City: CSC, 1989), pp. 05-11. Sison, Perfecto S., Personnel Management in the 21st Century as revised by Ranulfo P. Payos and Orlando S. Zorilla ( Manila: Rex Book Store, 2003), pp. 5866. Tendero, Avelino P., Theory and Practice of Public Administration in the Philippines (Manila: Fiscal Administration Foundation, Inc., 2000), pp. 129134. Trice, Harrison M. and Janice M. Beyer, The Cultures of Work Organizations (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1993), pp. 130-132.

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