Performance management: A case study

Executive summary

There are various types of performance in the context of business and human resource management. Tactical, adaptive, task and contextual performances are performance types that any company willing to understand and improve its human resource department ought to follow. Even though performance measurement has been an ongoing activity in many business organizations, some are yet to get the right insights as to which style ought t be adopted. In this paper, the Rob Parson at Morgan Stanley case discussion is presented, and it sheds more light on the adoption of a 360-degree performance evaluation approach. Although it improves relationships, it is time-consuming and prone to inaccuracies. The case provides room for the discussion of the complexity of performance in the face of an ever-challenging business environment that requires leaders to be more sensitive to team building, communication, and stakeholder support.

Performance management: A case study


It is highly essential to understand the concept of performance considering the significant effect that it has on organizational effectiveness. Good performance can easily boost employee motivation leading to high efficiency and productivity at the workplace. Performance does not just involve how well workers do what they do in the workplace. It deals with a variety of factors and some of the time; it’s about the value created. Some employees add more value to the progress of work than their colleagues because they can perform a similar task at a higher level. Job performance is essential since the success of most business organizations rely on the performance of employees. A pool of talented performers can clearly understand an organization’s goals and pursue them with resilience and determination. Good performance does not just improve the financial position of the business but also increases the confidence that stakeholders have in the company. High-performance levels promise high returns and bring stakeholders’ trust.

Types of performance

Most businesses think that there is only one type of performance. Nonetheless, performance is a complex concept, and there are various types of performance. First, there is tactical performance which implies the effectiveness with which an organization commits to its business strategy. Tactical performance makes workers and management more focused and consistent (Sado 2014). The strength band intensity of operations increases since limited resources are directed to the fewest targets. Tactical performance may require different standards depending on the nature of a business that an organization deals with. It may involve the development of regulations and standard operating procedures which are then monitored. Tactical performance may manifest for instance when team members deliver as expected and in accordance with the goal that had been established before commencement.

Secondly, there is adaptive performance which means the effectiveness with which a business enterprise diverges from initially placed strategy. It the work environment, it manifests in the form of creativity, innovation and problem-solving skills (Jundt, Shoss and Huang 2015). Adaptive performance enables enterprises to create value in the face of complexity and in a business environment filled with uncertainty. It makes businesses thrive despite the challenges, such as that of technology, that make the characteristic of the post-modern business environment. An organization rich in adaptive performance may have its workers develop creative ideas and after that, share them with other works to improve the quality of work in the organization. If for instance customer service agents come up with a new method of welcoming customers in such a way that they feel more appreciated by the business, then it can be said that the organization is experiencing adaptive performance.

Third is task performance which majorly deals with how proficient job incumbents handle tasks that are considered part and parcel of their formal job description. It covers those activities that form the technical core of the business and plays a role by the implementation of a piece of the technological process or through the provision of the required services or materials (Díaz-Vilela et al. 2015). There are therefore two types of task performance. The first one involves activities occurring during the transformation of raw materials into finished goods and services. The second includes the events in the maintenance of the technical core through the replenishing of raw material supply. For instance, luggage handlers in airline industries are critical contributors to technical core through the transfer of luggage from the customers to the plane’s belly. On the other hand, the operations managers in the same environment contribute to the core through availing the required equipment which helps in transferring the bags.

Contextual performance is defined as the degree of engagement as exercised the incumbent when handling tasks that generally impact the effectiveness of the organization. It directly affects the psychological and social factors at play in the organization and therefore catalyzes tasks. In this context, contextual behaviors may be desirable or undesirable depending on their maintenance of a psychological and social environment which provides room for the technical core to operate in the business. In contextual performance, workers may volunteer and perform tasks that do not formally fall within their job description. They can cooperate with colleagues and adhere to organizational rues even during times that such rules may inconvenience them. Contextual performers are enthusiastic in task accomplishment and continuously defend the objectives of the organization.

Factors affecting performance in organizations

The most essential element of influence is leadership. Leadership provides room for an individual to be in a position of authority so that they inspire others to pursue and achieve desired goals. When there is faith in the leadership, employees tend to excel in their performance (Ho 2010). Confidence in leadership depicts a satisfied workshop whose loyalty for the organization cannot be doubted. Effective leadership invests in good communication strategies so that employees are well educated on the goals and objectives they need to pursue. Good leadership, however, demands a lot of knowledge from the person in the position. Leaders must have a good mastery of various leadership approaches and determine which method will yield more positive outcomes for the organization. Leaders must model subordinates through mentorship and coaching programs to improve their confidence levels.

Motivation is another factor that performance in organizations. Motivation is what catalyzes employees to work towards goal achievement (Gerhart and Fang 2015). It accounts for the level of persistence in the efforts put into attaining objectives. There are various theories of motivation which put heavy emphasis on the role of motivation on human endeavor. The two-factor theory and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs both discuss multiple factors at play in human motivation. Maslow, for instance, structures human needs from the least to the most basic (Taormina and Gao 2013). Some needs ought to be prioritized because they are determiners of productivity. There are basically two motivation factors and these are descriptive and contextual factors. Examples of contextual factors are working conditions and payment while descriptive factors include factors such as threats of competencies.

Organizational culture as a business concept implies the collection of believes values and traditions that are common to the members of an organization. Every aspect that constitutes the culture of an organization can affect various operational systems. Culture determines, for instance, the approach taken in problem-solving. Strategies that work well with a particular activity ought to form part and parcel of culture (Muda, Rafiki, and Harahap 2014. The nature of culture is a significant determiner of the manner of obtaining results. The value system influences the path every organization follows that employees believe in and adhere to. If the culture of an organization is strong enough, employee performance will be positively impacted. The strength of an organizational culture can be measured in the behavior of employees and how receptive they are to customers and how serious they take the mission, vision, goals, and objectives. When employees adhere to a strong culture, they will most likely be productive hence high performance.

Lastly, there are tools and the overall physical environment as a critical determiner of performance. Organizations need to ponder on whether employees have what they need to do what they ought to do. They need to be supplied with adequate resources and tools that enable them to perform their duties with perfection (Pradhan and Jena 2017). At the same time, the physical environment should be supportive enough especially in terms of the availability of maintenance systems which enables the excellent functioning of business systems. In considering tools, organizations must find a variety of factors such as technology in place. In the current business setting, technology has been adopted to increase the pace of work, improve accuracy and heighten productivity. Considerations must also be placed on the safety of the workplace. There ought to be resources put in place to ensure that workers are safe and their welfare is catered for. Knowledge also forms part of the tools. An organization must hire employees who have the right skills. Without skills, employees may not complete tasks with competence, and this will negatively impact performance.

The case

What is your assessment of Rob Parson’s performance? Should he be promoted?

After conducting an assessment on the company’s operations, the 360-degree culture and the personality of Rob, it would be wise not to promote him. There are a variety of talks from his colleagues within and outside the company shading more light as to why his promotion would not be good for the company. First of all, his 360-degree culture has been met with dissatisfaction since its execution put in open his compromised professional standards and volatile personality that has not pleased most of the subordinates at work. Parson has violated the policies of the organization for many times. He is in a position of leadership and should, therefore, be a model of adherence to organizational culture.

Nonetheless, his extension of the syndicate invitation cost the company 20,000 USD. Even though he has earned substantial revenue for the company, working with him is not easy for he does not exercise the patent needed from him some of the time. Finally, Rob should not be promoted because a management position requires a good team player. Rob has proved severally that he loves working as an individual.

Using the data in the case, please complete the Evaluation and Development Summary presented in Exhibit 3 of the case.

Strengths                                                                     Comments

An effective negotiator….                              He is experienced in building cordial relationships with                                                                               clients

Excellent knowledge about business………  He understands business processes and the capital                                                                            market

Ability to beat challenges and achieve heights. He raised market shares from 2%-12.2%.

Development areas

Team playing……………………                  Team playing is an essential tool in leadership and goal achievement.

Communication skills…………………                     Help in interpersonal relationships with colleagues.

Planning and organization———                   Establishes an effective feedback system.

Performance objectives for the next year: Business goals

Helping the company in the ‘one firm’ achievement by making use of the employees’ abilities and role.

To positively impact capital markets so that sales are boosted.

Professional development goals

To enhance team building skills.

To improve creativity and decision making culture

Enhance communication skills and leadership approach.

Career goals

Short term: Attain promotion into the senior management position

Long term: Increase the organization’s competitive advantage.

If you were Paul Nasr, how would you plan to conduct the appraisal conversation? What would your goals be? What issues would you raise and why, and how would you raise them?

Conducting appraisal conversation ought to follow carefully planned steps (Ewenstein, Hancock, and Komm 2016). My conversation would begin with the discussion of the performance review. After the definition of the concept, I would give them feedback about their performance and that of the company so far and determine what needs to be improved. I will remind the employees the need to stick to personal goals and their role in performance. I would then ask if they need any resources to help them meet the desired standards and then set new goals for the next season. Some of the goals I would set include getting the right lessons from the previous performance and purposing to improve on it. I would also purpose to emphasize adherence to organizational culture. Lastly, I would communicate clearly to employees about their contribution to goal achievement. Some of the issues I would raise during the conversation include the importance of mission and vision. I would restate them once again before all employees. I would also address exemplary performance and praise excellence so that members associate it with positive reinforcement.

If you were Rob Parson, how would you conduct yourself in the performance evaluation meeting? What are your goals?

I would commence the meeting with a discussion of what my plans for the future are. I would talk about what I have achieved in the past, why these achievements were significant to me and how I managed to beat the associated challenges. I would also discuss my approach to leadership and how it influences my working style. I would convince the members that I have the knowledge of the market and how it associates with my ability to gain the prominent position. I would emphasize that my understanding of the market and how I relate with various actors can help the organization in the acquisition of more shares. I would also discuss the targets concerning plans and how exactly I intend to meet the objectives as asserted by Buckingham and Goodall (2015). Some of my goals would be to improve the performance of the capital markets business, improve the company’s rankings, adherence to organizational culture and conversion n of potential clients to new clients.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a 360-feedback system? What factors also need to be considered to overcome any limitations identified?

The first advantage is that it uses an anonymous filling of questionnaires thereby improving the objectivity of the feedback received on employee performance. It enhances employees’ understanding of the significance of how they relate to people at the workplace. The feedback system enables people to understand weaknesses in leadership and improve on them. (Kanaslan and Iyem 2016). It also cultivates trust, honesty and a spirit of cooperation which are essential elements of organizational effectiveness. Finally, it creates room for employees to appreciate the opinions of their colleagues and this improves employee loyalty. One of the disadvantages of the 360 feedback is that the accuracy may be affected by relationships. An employee may dishonestly rate his colleague if they have a strained relationship (Denisi and Murphy 2017). Secondly, if the findings are different from one group to another, measuring performance becomes difficult. It is also time-consuming and requires staff training and carefully constructed survey quizzes. Also, self-rating is prone to bias and may not reflect actual performance. Since this system is time-consuming, the organization should consider conducting it say, twice or thrice a year so that it does not affect ongoing work. Employees should be encouraged to give honest feedback that reflects absolute performance standards.


In conclusion, performance and performance-related factors are key influencers of the strength of an organization’s human resource. The Rob Parson case highlights several insights on the sensitivity of performance and how it impacts organizational effectiveness. Since measuring performance needs the consideration of various factors to improve accuracy, it is vital that highly effective performance measurement approaches are put in place.



List of references

Buckingham, M. and Goodall, A., 2015. Reinventing performance management. Harvard            Business Review, 93(4), pp.40-50.

Denisi, A.S. and Murphy, K.R., 2017. Performance appraisal and performance management: 100             years of progress?. Journal of Applied Psychology, 102(3), p.421.

Díaz-Vilela, L.F., Rodríguez, N.D., Isla-Díaz, R., Díaz-Cabrera, D., Hernández-Fernaud, E. and Rosales-Sánchez, C., 2015. Relationships between Contextual and Task Performance and   Interrater Agreement: Are There Any?. PloS one, 10(10), p.e0139898.

Ewenstein, B., Hancock, B. and Komm, A., 2016. Ahead of the curve: The future of performance management. McKinsey Quarterly, 2, pp.64-73.


Gerhart, B. and Fang, M., 2015. Pay, intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, performance, and creativity in the workplace: Revisiting long-held beliefs. Annu. Rev. Organ. Psychol.    Organ. Behav., 2(1), pp.489-521.


Ho, L.A., 2010. What affects organizational performance? The linking of learning and knowledge management. Industrial Management & Data Systems, 108(9), pp.1234-1254.

Kanaslan, E.K., and Iyem, C., 2016. Is 360 Degree Feedback Appraisal an Effective Way of        Performance Evaluation?. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 6(5), pp.172-182.

Jundt, D.K., Shoss, M.K. and Huang, J.L., 2015. Individual adaptive performance in         organizations: A review. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 36(S1), pp.S53-S71.

Muda, I., Rafiki, A. and Harahap, M.R., 2014. Factors influencing employees’ performance: a      study on the Islamic Banks in Indonesia. International Journal of Business and Social   Science, 5(2).


Pradhan, R.K. and Jena, L.K., 2017. Employee performance at the workplace: Conceptual model and            empirical validation. Business Perspectives and Research, 5(1), pp.69-85.

Sado, S.Y., 2014. The Role of Tactical Plans in Achieving Organizational Growth and      Objectives:(A Case Study of Zenith Bank PLC Damaturu Branch). Mediterranean        Journal of Social Sciences, 5(17), p.59.

Taormina, R.J. and Gao, J.H., 2013. Maslow and the motivation hierarchy: Measuring       satisfaction of the needs. The American journal of psychology, 126(2), pp.155-177.