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The Performance of Performance Appraisal Systems: A Theoretical Framework for Public Organizations
Review of Public Personnel Administration  (IF5.298),  Pub Date : 2021-08-31, DOI: 10.1177/0734371x211043560
Marta Barbieri, Lorenza Micacchi, Francesco Vidè, Giovanni Valotti

Performance appraisal (PA) plays a strategic role in public sector human resource management (HRM), acting as a driver for better performance. Drawing from previous theoretical research on the social context of performance appraisal systems and their effectiveness, the study develops a generalizable theoretical framework for classifying performance appraisal systems according to their structural and process proximal variables: purpose, rating source, and structured face-to-face feedback sessions. Through a multiple case study analysis, the theoretical framework has been applied to a sample of Italian PA systems for senior civil servants, aiming to explore the relationship between the structural and process proximal variables of PA systems and rating discriminability, intended as a measurement of performance effectiveness. The results show that the framework accurately represents the variation of the design of performance appraisal systems in the Italian context, highlighting the central role played by multi-source feedback and face-to-face rater-ratee interactions in promoting rating discriminability.