Original Research

Politicisation of performance appraisals

Sonia Swanepoel, Petrus A. Botha, Nancy B. Mangonyane
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 12, No 1 | a525 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v12i1.525 | © 2014 Sonia Swanepoel, Petrus A. Botha, Nancy B. Mangonyane | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 February 2013 | Published: 12 March 2014

About the author(s)

Sonia Swanepoel, Faculty of Commerce and Administration, North West University, Mafikeng Campus, South Africa
Petrus A. Botha, Faculty of Human and Social Sciences, North West University, Mafikeng Campus, South Africa
Nancy B. Mangonyane, Faculty of Commerce and dministration, North West University, Mafikeng Campus, South Africa


Orientation: Employees are a source of competitive advantage for organisations and human resource management seek to promote employee efficiency. One of the tools organisations utilise to achieve this goal is performance appraisals.

Research purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the weaknesses in performance appraisal and to determine whether it is politicised in the North West Department of Health and Social Development in South Africa.

Motivation for study: Many organisations either ignore the existence of politics in the appraisal process or assume that its impact can be minimised if they refine their appraisal instruments. Executives admit that, in appraising others, they often intentionally avoid meeting the goal of accuracy in favour of achieving goals that have more to do with exercising discretion and maintaining departmental effectiveness. Ironically, these same executives lament that the appraisals they receive often do not accurately represent their abilities and performance (Gioia & Longenecker, 1994).

Research approach, design and method: Self-administered questionnaires were used as a means of collecting data and analysis was done through the use of the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS).

Main findings: The results of the study showed that respondents believe that performance appraisals are highly politicised.

Practical/managerial implications: If used effectively, performance appraisals may improve employee productivity and efficiency as well as motivation and performance. However, if performance appraisal is perceived as unfair and political, it can diminish rather than enhance employee attitudes and performance.

Contribution: Amongst others, it is recommended that managers should consider separating assessment for development and assessment for rewards.


Performance appraisals; Politics; Employee productivity; Human resource management; Performance


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