Organizational Psychology

This case deals with the development of a comprehensive performance appraisal and management system that Dr. Amy Carver and her team designed and implemented for Wachovia Bank. Dr. Carver received her Ph.D. in I/O Psychology in 1992 from Rice University. At the time of this case, she was Senior Vice President for Organizational Effectiveness for Wachovia Bank.

One of the concerns Dr. Carver had when she got to Wachovia was that they did not have a common performance appraisal and management system. Each year supervisors filled out evaluations, but there were no consistent standards and raises were not closely tied to performance. To remedy this, Dr. Carver and her team put together a comprehensive system that became part of the management/supervision system of the organization. This system tied together annual performance reviews with goal setting, employee development, and supervisor coaching.

The system runs on an annual cycle beginning in December. The evaluation portion, which involves both employee self-appraisal and supervisor ratings, is entirely Web-based. Each employee-supervisor pair logs onto the company computer system to complete evaluation forms. These forms are focused on the match between the employee s competencies, as displayed for the year, and the organization s competency model for that position. This model, which was derived from a job analysis, is a specification of the competencies and skills needed for doing the job. When both employee and supervisor are done, a report is automatically generated that highlights areas of disagreement, and this becomes the basis for a face-to-face discussion.

Around the first of the year, each supervisor meets with each subordinate to discuss his or her performance and to agree on goals for the upcoming year. These goals specify not only what is to be accomplished but also how it is to be done, thus providing a balanced emphasis on both work quality and quantity. The Web-based system sends e-mail reminders to each supervisor at quarterly intervals to conduct required coaching sessions with subordinates to provide feedback about competency and goal progress up to that time of the year. Goals for the future of the system include linking raises each year to performance and making the salary system part of performance management. As you can see, the Wachovia system goes far beyond just completing the usual report card on every employee each year. (Spector, 2006 p.103)

Spector, P.E. (2006). Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Research and Practice (4th ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Use the following discussion questions to guide your discussion of this case study:

1. Do you think you would like working in a company with this sort of performance system? Why or why not?
2. Why would a company like Wachovia invest so much effort into performance evaluation?
3. Why are managers required to provide quarterly coaching sessions? Isn t a once-a-year system enough?
4. Do you think goal setting will increase employee motivation and performance?

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