Below is a short history of periodic performance appraisals:

Early XX

During WWI W D Scott created a scale-based system of appraisal of employees employed in industry, which was later used for assessment of officers’ effectiveness.

The 20s and 30s

W D Scott’s concept was developed. A Graphic Rating Scale was created to be used for appraisal of both employees and managers. ‘Tick box’ assessments was used to assess particular qualifications.

The 40s

About 60% of American companies used appraisals in order to verify employees’ effectiveness and reward them appropriately.

The 50s

Peter Drucker published his Management by Objectives concept.

Psychologist Douglas McGregor proved the importance of involving employees in assessment and setting goals. He emphasized the fact that superiors ought to diagnose not only their employees’ weaknesses but also their strengths and potential.

The 60s

Rowe’s research conducted in the U.K. showed that managers were not convinced of carrying out periodic appraisals as, in their opinion, their results could have great impact on the employee’s further career.

The 70s

Due to numerous objections (a few of which ended in lawsuits) as to the subjectivism of periodic appraisals many companies focused on perfecting the grade scale as well as psychometric measurements.

The 80s

Jack Welch was in favour of forced ranking in GE in order to be able to diagnose and reward the top-performance group.

The 90s

McKinsey’s ”War for Talent” indicated that companies should invest in so-called “A-players”, develop so-called “B-players” and take explicit action as far as so-called “C-players” are concerned.

The 2000s – 2012

Organizations perfected and tested multifarious assessment systems based on MBO, competency model, values, etc.

2012 – onwards

Companies simplify periodic appraisal systems; focus on developing employees’ strengths and giving ongoing feedback.


  • appraisal – ocena (rozumiana bardziej w kategoriach wartość np. dla organizacji)
  • assessment – ocena (rozumiana bardziej jako pomiar)
  • particular – wymagający
  • appropriately – włąsciwie, adekwatnie
  • to involve – zaangażować
  • to emphasize – podkreślać, kłaść nacisk
  • superior – przełozony
  • strength – mocna strona, siła
  • weakness – słaba strona, słabość
  • objection – obiekcja, sprzeciw
  • lawsuit – proces sądowy, rozprawa sądowa
  • to perfect – doskonalić, dopracować
  • multifarious – różnorodny, różnoraki


After reading the text above which of the statements are true or false:

The first appraisal system was created during WWII in order to assess professional competences of recruited soldiers.

In the 60s managers were preoccupied with conducting periodic appraisal because they didn’t want their assessment to impact their employees’ career development.

The appraisal system can be based both on the competency model and MBO concept.

Nowadays companies are turning away from complicated and formal appraisal systems.

On the basis of his research Rowe suggested involving employees more in the assessment process.

According to McKinsey’s War for Talent so-called “C-players” are the best employees in an organization.

McGregor was one of the first psychologists who stated the importance of indicating the employee’s strengths during assessment.