Performance appraisal of administrative staff in a Tertiary Institution: perception

Naming, A.
Wright, N.
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Working Paper
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AUT Faculty of Business

There is little empirical evidence relating to how university administrative employees view the performance appraisal process (Analoui & Fell, 2002). The aim of this paper was to investigate administrative staff perceptions and understanding of the appraisal system using AUT University (AUT) as a case study. Areas investigated included (1) how administrative staff viewed the process, (2) did it impact on their motivation, and (3) did it help or hinder career development. The research for this paper was a partial replication of the Analoui and Fell study of appraisal systems at The University of Bradford (UK). The Analoui and Fell questionnaire and interview guide were modified to suit the AUT context. The AUT sample consisted of 543 staff members with a response rate of 20 per cent. It was found that there was no evidence that the respondents wanted the process discontinued even though comments from those who had been through a Performance and Development Review (P&DR) and Formative Appraisal (FA) indicated a range of positive and negative experiences. In terms of performance appraisal as a motivational tool, few respondents felt that the process motivated them. There was evidence that FA was beneficial in helping with career development. The stated main purposes of AUT performance appraisal is: to assist in administration (pay increase and promotion), and developmental (training) decisions, with the latter purpose being secondary. Resulting from this study recommendations are (1) the current process should be evaluated, and (2) appraisers and appraisees should undertake training prior to an appraisal. On-going research should be undertaken to find out how administrative staff in the wider NZ university sector view the process. To follow-on from the current research, a longitudinal study should be undertaken of administrative staff reactions immediately after an appraisal. Research should also be undertaken to investigate if administrative staff associate completion of the performance appraisal process which includes the setting of goals with an increased work overload.

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