Cognitive framework for performance appraisal: An empirical study of narrative evaluations in a Japanese auto company
Since the seminal work by Campbell (1990), the domains of job performance have started to expand. Traditional task-oriented performance criteria have been extended to include the contextual performance, which is not related to specific tasks but affected by altruistic, personality-related, extra-role behaviors. Yet, typical criteria for performance appraisals in Japanese companies have contained not only results but also ability ratings and attitude evaluations. Using quantified data from actual narrative essays, this chapter scrutinizes the cognitive frameworks for performance evaluations used by senior managers in a leading Japanese auto manufacturer. This study found that in contrast to the common emphasis on merit ratings, managers were prone to conduct demerit ratings that identify employee weaknesses more seriously than strengths. The results of factor analysis found that there were three criteria domains: reasoning, energy, and feeling. These three factors might represent the heuristic, mental models employed in the process of managerial performance appraisal in Japan.