Is 360-degree feedback little more than a passing fad?

Essay by changqingwUniversity, Master'sB-, August 2006

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Assignment 1 A Week 5- Short Answer Question

Is 360-degree feedback little more than a passing fad?

Over many decades, people have continually provided feedback to others about their behaviour and productivity, while organizations use feedback to monitor, control and make changes to improve organizational development.

In addition, for organizations to better compete in the complexities and frequently changed environment, many organizations have restructured their traditional hierarchical structure to a flexible, flattened, and horizontal structure (Hancock and Colonel, 1999). This has caused a wider span of control, therefore managers were incapable to observe the performance of a large number of individuals. This created a need for non-traditional feedback systems. Supervisors required feedback from multiple sources because they are not fully acknowledge each one of individuals' performances or behaviours.

The research has shown that with traditional feedback systems, managers and employees' self-perception is biased and they tend to overrate their own skills (Waldman and Atwater, 1998).

That would be destructive to organizations' strategic decisions of management development, coaching, and succession planning. Therefore, certain aspects of feedback have changed such as the purpose, method, and source, in which feedback has been provided.

As a result of all, many firms, organizations have expanded the idea of traditional feedback into what they called 360-degree feedback, with a 360-degree feedback system, individuals receive feedback from multiple sources (Nowack, Kenneth, 1993). These sources include supervisors, subordinates, peers or colleagues, team members, internal and external customers and suppliers, and the feedback recipients themselves. (Hancock and Colonel, 1993).

By contrast, with traditional upwards and downwards feedback, the research suggest that 360-degree feedback creates more accurate and balanced performance measures and helps overcome the typical personal and organizational bias found in single source supervisor ratings, therefore be candid about individual's strengths and weaknesses (Casioppe and Albrecht, 2000). Feedback...