Reading 1 hour
Questions 1 – 8
l Look at the sentences below and at the five extracts from a book about staff appraisals and feedback on the opposite page .
l Which new item (A, B, C ,D or E) dose each statement 1 – 8 refer to ?
l For each statement 1 – 8 , make one letter(A, B, C ,D or E) on your Answer Sheet .
l You will need to use some of these letters more than once .
0 Someone has left a competitor to join this company.
1 Genuine feedback would release resources to be used elsewhere.
2 Managers are expected to enable their staff to work effectively.
3 Experts are unlikely to facilitate a move to genuine feedback.
4 There are benefits when methods of evaluating performance have been negotiated.
5 Appraisals tend to focus on the nature of the face-to-face relationship between employees and their line managers.
6 The idea that employees are responsible for what they do seems reasonable.
7 Despite experts’ assertion, management structures prevent genuine feedback
8 An increasing amount of effort is being dedicated to the appraisal process.
Performance appraisal is on the up and up. It used to represent the one time of year when getting on with the work was put on hold while enormous quantities of management hours were spent in the earnest ritual of rating and ranking performance. Now the practice is even more frequent. This of course makes it all the more important how appraisal is conducted. Human resources professionals claim that managers should strive for objectivity and thus for feedback rather than judgement. But the simple fact of the matter is that the nature of hierarchy distorts the concept of feedback because performance measure are conceived hierarchically. Unfortunately, all too many workers suffer from the injustices that this generates.
The notion behind performance appraisal- that workers should be held accountable for their performance-is plausible. However, the evidence suggests that the premise is wrong. Contrary to assumptions appraisal is not an effective means of performance improvement- it is judgement imposed rather than feedback, a judgement imposed by the hierarchy. Useful feedback , on the other hand, would be information that told both the manager and worker how well the work system functioned, and suggested ways to make it better.
Within the production system at the car manufacturer
In many companies , performance appraisal springs from misguided as assumptions. To judge achievement, managers use date about each worker’s activity, not an evaluation of the process or system’s achievement of purpose. The result is that performance appraisal involves managers’ judgement overruling their staff’s, ignoring the true influences on performance. Thus the appraisal experience becomes a question of pleasing the boss, particularly in meetings, which is psychologically unsafe and socially driven, determining who is “in” and who is “ out”.
When judgement is replaced by feedback in the true sense, organizations will have a lot more time to devote to their customers and their business. No time will be wasted in appraisal . This requires a fundamental shift in the way we think about the organization of performance appraisals, which almost certainly will not be forthcoming from the human resources profession.
l Read the text , which describes the experience of a company that has made big changes in its office procedures
l Choose the best sentence from the opposite page to fill each of the gaps.
l For each gap 9– 14, mark one letter (A-H) on your Answer Sheet.
l Do not use any letter more than once.
l There is an example at the beginning.(0)
The Danish electronics manufacturer, Oticon, is a leader in the move towards the paperless office, In their cafeteria a huge glass pipe runs from ceiling to floor. When the mail comes in, it is immediately scanned into the computer, shredded, and thrown down the tube to the general cheers of the employees. (0) Having all mail and memos available only as computer files to be read on the screen makes it easy to dispense with large physical storage spaces for people who work at desks (9)
Changing over to the paperless office required a rapid increase in computer literacy, but rather than set up a corporate training programme they turned the problem over to employees. Eight months before the system was installed , they offered each employee a powerful personal computer for use at home in exchange for training themselves to use it. (10)
The big change was not the move from paper memos to computer messages. Oticon realised that the more radical transformation is from written to verbal communication.(11) that adds up to a large number of face-to-face exchanges, a big improvement over memos and the occasional multi-hour sit-down consultation typical of the old culture. People do not send each other memos, they talk. As the CEO puts it, “ We have jumped through the memo wall and gone right to action.”
On the eighth of August 1991 , the company left their old wood-panelled offices .(12) Since then they have cut in half the “ time to market” on new products. The following year, sales and profits grew more than ever before. (13) in fact, despite a downsizing of 15 per cent employee satisfaction is hitting record highs.
Oticon has created an organizational pattern that supports great freedom iof action for individuals and terms. They have tied it together with a minimum hierarchy.
The first clear results to show up were in the greater efficiencies generated by the fact that less time needed to be spent on management activities . (14) they also have some investment in the success of the project they choose. Oticon has succeeded in breaking the mould mould and taking a lead in non-bureaucratic organizational design.
A B C D E F G H
A This saving was possible because when people have real choice in the nature of their jobs, they commit themselves to being responsible for their areas of choice.
B They were headed for a new building and a new era in communication.
C Instead, they have large private areas on their hard disks for their correspondence.
D In spite of this, the physical office layout at Oticon is one of its most charming features.
E Over 90 per cent accepted , and they organized a club to help one another learn.
F To facilitate this, the on-site coffee bars have now become the venue for about twenty meetings a day, averaging ten minutes and 2.7 participants each.
G So, are people happy with the change”
H Only about ten documents a day, items like legal contracts, escape this treatment.