2. Discuss the cultural effects of continuous and instantaneous rating systems in performance management, such as 360 degree performance appraisals, using carefully analysed examples from The Circle by Dave Eggers.
As open-minded observers of the world’s struggles and their reflection in the society, international cultural leaders express great concern for this generation’s hardships in finding the perfect environment. The harsh trials of mankind are deeply-rooted in societies’ capacity of self-evaluation, as well as in its general receptiveness towards the need of local/global awareness. This leads to an undoubted need for future problem-solvers that can effectively tackle any communication dilemma. Employee, manager or member of the public, they are all independent wheels of the same interconnected machine, being driven by inventiveness, mutual respect and shared desire for greatness (Boddy, Paton 2011).
By visualising people as the essence of change, the purpose of this follow-up study is to decipher the advantages and disadvantages of instantaneous rating systems in performance management. As of our current state, are technologies used by humans against their own kind? Is it a fight for a society based upon equal opportunities and constructive transparency or is it a reliance on legal exploits used to control the world?
Nowadays, effective management performance is sparked by fulfilling simple, but fundamental conditions: having a clear view of the projected goals, the presence of a well-grounded range of accessible information, while the participants are properly engaged by a set of practical assessment tools and procedures. Acknowledging their results and well-spent effort, as a member of a specific community, is the most important factor required to highly stimulate efficiency. (Hackman 2009) In order to create an active society of conscious individuals, Hackman (2009) generates questions regarding the way an enterprise should work:
Who has the power of deciding in which way will a company perform?
Who is accountable for an organisation’s results?
How is the recognition shared within the members of a company?
Who are the ones that widen their knowledge through feedback – the ambiguous collective learning practice of how others perceive someone’s work, experiences and opportunities?
Some points are discussed throughout Dave Eggers’s (2009) novel “The Circle”, where the American writer analysis the patterns of a business that, through its innovations and influence, becomes a contentious ‘puppeteer’ of a fictional, yet possible future society. He covers a key responsibility of leaders (Eg: The Wise Man), that involves staying abreast of the culturally-embedded employee beliefs, where organisations are built upon people and rearranged into unique hierarchical systems, connected and reliable on each other. (Handy 2009). Furthermore, the author argues the role and importance of the public’s judgement, leading to obvious changes in business strategies. The need for client-centric approaches has become imperative do to the fact that society is in a full customer-driven revolution, the ease of communication through the internet turning opinions into goals and making dreams reality. (Konnikova 2014) Clients have become the main players in the global market, all because of the “death of distances”, concept generated by digital Darwinism, corroborated with the phenomenon of globalization, in which geography is no longer important. Information, which the internet provides, will allow people to have access to the goods and services they enjoy and, more importantly, understand. (Cairncross F. 1997) These subject is also tackled in The Circle’s universe, where complete digital transparency is achieved, opening a wider range of opportunities. This leads us to the absorbing ingredient of Egger’s novel which is nothing else but the power of knowledge.
This element of life is described as being the continuous process that reveals different, major or minor truths, providing intellectual and spiritual improvements. The process of knowledge takes place as an interaction between the ego and the world. Obviously, cognitive action has an essential role to play, contributing essentially to the embodiment of human personality. Knowledge is the foundation of any breakthrough in society, allowing humanity to advance. As an outcome of progressive stages of civilization and culture, people capitalized on all forms of education – scientific, experimental, pragmatic, artistic, religious etc.) – and all cognitive stages (rational, imaginative, intuitive, affective, sensory, etc.).
However, a more intricate branch of being aware is deciphering the mysteries behind self-knowledge and how the world sees you as part of an existential puzzle. It reflects the first steps towards developing a strong motivation, rewarding both personally and professionally. Albert Einstein suggests, “Try not to be a successful man, but a valued man!” Youth is associated with the expression of life-giving enthusiasm, otherwise natural to the age at which the creative potential is in full ascension. The very word “enthusiasm” derives from Latin etymology and translates as “God”. The results of performance evaluation are taken into account for other processes, relating to human resource management, such as training, refinement, promotion, etc.
In Egger’s ‘The Circle’, the process of understanding is vastly accelerated by a complex instantaneous rating system, where the power of feedback comes from the fact that it can either restore/maintain a good state or change behaviors. Feedback allows people to observe the interpretation of their actions.
360 degree feedback, though still quite controversial, is widely used by 21st century multinationals. For example, last year, around 90% of Fortune 500 companies turned to this method to evaluate employees. As in Mae’s experience, this mechanism, which includes feedback from colleagues, subordinates, outside clients, along with the assessment of the direct superior, is a unique method by which most employees in the human resources can be analysed. Yet, as any evaluation tool, it has its advantages and disadvantages.
Organized companies can use the data collected in the feedback assessment to monitor the weaker areas of their employees and will, therefore, develop specific training programs targeted at this lack of competence. This occurred in Egger’s novel, when Mae’s direct boss in Customer Experience, Dan, a strong believer in the social environment of the Circle, expressed his disappointment regarding Mae’s lack off in-person and online social activity, during her early days as an employee at the company.
Furthermore, the 360 degree feedback mechanism helps the staff members see how their work is perceived by those they work with, and not just by their managers. Some employees feel disturbed by the criticism of straight forward supervisors. Feedback from colleagues and business partners gives them the opportunity to understand their position within their community and what needs to change or improve in their behaviours. (Eg: The 3% that did not find Mae awesome)
On the negative side, human resources specialists argue that the most common disadvantage of this method is that employees may not feel comfortable providing real feedback, not only to superior, but also to their colleagues. Without keeping anonymity, employees’ willingness to show their true feelings is minimal. Another major challenge of this evaluation method is that feedback may be subjective, therefore ratings sometimes surfacing as being distinct. Moreover, leaders observe certain features in a different manner than employees do when evaluating each other.