Management Seminar - Professor Paul Edwards

Seminar Room 10.039 the Spot, Level 10, 198 Berkeley Street, Carlton 3010


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Professor Bill Harley

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PRESENTER: Professor Paul Edwards (University of Birmingham, UK)    
TOPIC: “Performance Appraisal and Employee Commitment: a Ritual with Some Hard Edges”

Performance appraisal (PA) schemes have been variously argued to increase employee commitment, tighten managerial discipline, or be largely empty rituals. In light of their growing prevalence, this paper tests these contrasting ideas using the 2004 and 2011 Workplace Employment Relations Survey. We find that PA presence at a workplace has either a negative or insignificant effect on such aspects of jobs as affective-commitment, job-satisfaction, employee perceptions of task-effort and employee influence. The strength of these effects depends on the wider context: negative effects are greatest in recessions and in large organizations, where the bureaucracy around PA tends to generate scepticism among employees. There is no evidence that PA is part of a high commitment strategy; it is mainly a symbolic process or a means to tighten managerial control.

Paul Edwards is Professor of Employment Relations at the University of Birmingham, UK. He was for many years at Warwick University where he was Director of the Industrial Relations Research Unit. Professor Edwards is best known for his work on industrial relations and the development of the concept of ‘structured antagonism’ in the employment relationship. His current research interests include the public engagement of a critical social science and employment relations in small and ethnic minority firms.

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