The implications of self-versus-observer rating discrepancies in 360-reviews
Olivier, Wernich Corné
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The importance of measuring employee efficiencies and increasing their productivity through various mechanisms such as performance evaluation and appraisals have been realised by most organisations. This study analyses the potential discrepancies between self and observer ratings within a 360-degree feedback process utilising the case of a company called Master Drilling. The company completed its first 360-degree feedback process in 2016 and provided this data to the researcher. The cross-sectional study used a quantitative approach and all participants (N=80) completed a standard Likert-scale based questionnaire which was distributed online via the human resource department of Maser Drilling. Individuals were asked to complete a self-rating whilst their colleagues, superiors and subordinates also completed assessments of the individual, utilising the same questionnaire and rating scale. Results indicate that within Master Drilling self-ratings were predominantly higher when compared to observer ratings of the same individual. Discrepancies between self and observer ratings were almost always positive (self-ratings higher than observer ratings) but the discrepancy values varied between different divisions and nationalities within the company, level of employment, gender, duration of employment and with and an individual's levels of education. Negative (observer ratings higher than self-ratings) discrepancies were observed for individuals with higher levels of education and at the highest level of employment in the study i.e. managerial level. The higher self-ratings were postulated to most probably be due to overrating as a result of 'leniency effect .This tendency could lead to negative implications for Master Drilling, as individuals who tend to overrate themselves react negatively towards negative performance feedback and often become disengaged, leading to lower job performance. The study further contributes to the literature on 360-degree feedback with the specific focus on self-versus-observer discrepancies, as well as recommendations for future amendments to the process of improving results at Master Drilling. and possible areas for further research are also being suggested.