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narrative method of performance evaluation

Rick Jacobs


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The narrative method of performance evaluation is perhaps the simplest and oldest method of assessing employees. Raters are asked to provide a description, usually in writing, of the employee's performance. Often, the evaluator is given the instruction to describe an individual's strengths, weaknesses, and potential for advancement/new assignments, and to provide a plan for further development of jobā€relevant skills. While such a system of performance evaluation is simple, straightforward, and nothing more than a formalization of daily supervisory observations, it does represent a method of performance evaluation with both serious advantages and disadvantages. Advantages of this method include: (1) ratings are descriptive and offer more complete information about performance; (2) the very process of gathering the necessary information for the evaluation can result in more interaction between rater and ratee; and (3) details for appraisal feedback and performance coaching with the ratee are part of the rating process. Disadvantages include: (1) ratings may be as much a reflection of the rater's willingness to spend time on the evaluation process and/or level of verbal skills as they are related to performance level of the ratee; (2) no numeric outcome is inherent with this qualitative method; (3) there is no standardization across raters; (4) there is no guarantee that important ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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