Chapter 4

Developing a Vocabulary for Performance Appraisal

We all know that Pavlov’s dog salivated when he heard the bell that he learned to associate with food. Sometimes we respond to symbols the way Pavlov’s dog did to the bell, forgetting that symbols (words) can have more than one meaning.1

Before managers and their employees can conduct meaningful appraisal interviews, it is obviously important that both participants in the conversation share a clear understanding of what constitutes both good and poor performance and that they know how to talk about performance. Employees want to know as precisely as possible what it is that they are expected to do and accomplish on their jobs. And managers must have a way of conveying this information ...

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