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360 Degree Feedback: Its Role in Employee Development

The case study addresses the following issues: the functions of the feedback within the organization, with a special emphasis placed on its use for employee career development; the benefits of such feedback to the organization and the individuals involved; the mechanisms used to obtain feedback; and, finally, the pitfalls of 360 degree feedback and its implementation.

Nowack presents a useful summary of some of the reasons for the increased use of 360 degree feedback in organizations: a need for a cost-effective alternative to assessment centres; the increasing availability of assessment software capable of summarizing data from multiple sources into customized feedback reports; the need for continuous measurement of improvement efforts; the need for job-related feedback for employees affected by career plateauing; and the need to maximize employee potential in the face of technological change, competitive challenges and increased workforce diversity.

360 degree feedback: the organizational and individual perspectives the use of 360 degree feedback can be examined from two perspectives - the organizational and the individual perspective.

London and Beatty, on the other hand, suggest using an introductory strategy which involves 360 degree feedback for development for several years before using it as an input to supervisory evaluations and decisions about pay and promotion.

The literature recommends that a trained professional handles the feedback and follow through process, but for many organizations this will depend on how many managers are involved and the size of the organization.

360 degree feedback will succeed in a developmental context only where the core values of the organization are also supportive of training and development, and the organization is committed to the training and development process as a means of enhancing its competitiveness.

Recent notions of the learning organization advocate the need for open feedback systems and the need for continuous improvement.

While it is accepted generally that feedback is invaluable within organizations,especially in managing employee behaviour, much research suggests that theflow of feedback in organizations is typically constrained[1]. Numeroussuggestions have been put forward to free up feedback channels – is one such mechanism. The focus of this article is on 360 degreefeedback which is defined as a contrived method of providing a flow offeedback to employees from all directions. The article addresses the followingissues: the functions of the feedback within the organization, with a specialemphasis placed on its use for employee career development; the benefits ofsuch feedback to the organization and the individuals involved; themechanisms used to obtain feedback; and, finally, the pitfalls of 360 degreefeedback and its implementation..Although the names are different, the process is essentially the same. Theredoes not appear to be a distinct individual who founded or invented this processand, according to Moses et al.[2], the term “360 degree feedback” is misleadingas it suggests a newly discovered concept, whereas they argue that perceptionsof people have been available as long as there have been people to observe them.Their argument suggests that 360 degree feedback is a case of “old wine in newbottles”; the process has always existed within organizations but lately hasdeveloped the new label of 360 degree feedback.Whether it is old wine or new wine, the bottle is certainly new and feedback’s use by organizations is on the increase. It is estimated that Americancompanies spent $152 million on this form of feedback for developmentpurposes in 1992[3]. According to Van Veslor et al.[4], the number of feedback instruments has increased significantly in the past 15 year. 

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Posted on:2016-02-17