An analysis of bias in supervisor narrative comments in performance appraisal

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26 Citations (Scopus)


This study explored supervisors’ explanations for performance ratings assigned to subordinates. It was suggested that supervisors may emphasize a different set of factors across groups in arriving at an overall evaluation that would reflect different implicit theories of performance for different ethnic groups. Operationally, these differences were predicted to be reflected as differences across groups in the factors cited by supervisors in justifying their performance ratings of subordinates. The study also examined the consistency between these assigned ratings and the written justifications. Using a sample of bank staff, supervisors’ written summaries of subordinate performance were content analyzed to identify the types of comments made across groups and the match or mismatch with overall ratings. Hypotheses received partial support.The results are interpreted in light of the literature on group differences in performance ratings, and implications for future research and practice are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1903-1933
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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