This research will begin with the statement that performance appraisals are important to any manager because they are likely to be asked to evaluate the performance of individual members. Such an evaluation typically will be required as part of the closure process and will then be incorporated in the annual performance appraisal system of the organization. These evaluations constitute a major element of an individual’s personnel file and often form the basis for making decisions about promotions, future job assignments, merit pay increases, and other rewards. Organizations vary in the extent to which managers are actively involved in performing the appraisal process. In organizations where projects are managed within a functional organization or functional matrix, the individual’s area manager, not the project manager, is responsible for assessing performance. The area manager may solicit the project manager’s opinion of the individual's performance on a specific project; this will be factored into the individual's overall performance. For example, in a balanced matrix, the project manager and the area manager jointly evaluate an individual's performance. In organizations in which the lion’s share of the individual’s work is project related, the project manager is responsible for appraising individual performance. One new process that appears to be gaining wider acceptance is the multirater appraisal or the “360° feedback,” which involves soliciting feedback concerning team members’ performance from all the people their work affects....
Survey questionnaires, augmented by a few open-ended questions, typically are used to gather information. Then, the summary results are compared against organizational strategies, values, and business objectives. The feedback is communicated to the individual with the assistance of the company's human resources department or an outside consultant. At present, this technique is used by a growing number of firms including General Electric, AT&T, Mobil Oil, Nabisco, Hewlett-Packard, and Warner-Lambert (O'Reilly, 17 October 1994).
Usually, multisource feedback is collected for managers or supervisors, but it could be collected for any employee, with the raters depending on the employee's role in the organization. Multisource ratings are not always collected from all possible sources. For instance, sometimes only upward ratings are collected (i.e., subordinates are asked to rate their supervisor). Multisource ratings are collected through surveys using computer, telephone, in-person interviews, or paper-and-pencil questionnaires. The survey may be administered annually or more often.
Multisource feedback is growing in popularity and importance as a method for evaluating employees and providing them with input for development. A 1995 report indicated that all Fortune 500 companies used or were planning to use multisource feedback (London & Smither, 1995). A 1996 paper reported that 25% of companies use some form of upward or multisource feedback survey process (Antonioni, 1996). Four years later, another report indicated that as many as 12% to 29% of all U. S. organizations were using this method (Church, 2000). Clearly, the use of multisource feedback has not