Das Humankapital meets prof. Clive Fletcher

Clive Fletcher is the Managing Director of Personnel Assessment Ltd. He was formerly Professor of Occupational Psychology at Goldsmiths’ College, University of London, where he still holds the title of Emeritus Professor after leaving to work in in private practice. He is also Honorary Professor at Warwick Business School, University of Warwick Clive is a Chartered Occupational Psychologist and one of the relatively few psychologists to be elected to Fellowship of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and Fellowship of The Royal Society of Medicine. He is formerly chair of the occupational psychology section of the BPS. Clive has published extensively on psychological assessment in work settings. He is author of  a standard text on Performance Appraisal and on Psychological Testing.

His research interests are :

  • The influence of personality and cognitive factors in self assessment and self awareness
  • Factors affecting 360 degree feedback, performance appraisal and performance management outcomes
  • Candidate personality, impression management strategies and attitudes and their impact on behaviour in assessment centres

Davide de Palma : What is Performance Appraisal?

Clive Fletcher : It is the general name given to a set of processes whereby organizations seek to evaluate employee performance, address problems and improve that performance, and in doing so further the development of individuals and their competence. In some cases, there are direct or indirect links to organizational reward strategies – though research over a long period suggests this can be problematic. Appraisal usually involves some kind of written assessment of performance over the period reviewed, and a face to face session where the manager and his or her team member review the latter’s performance against objectives, and set objectives for the next review period, as well as considering any training and development the team member needs. Research suggests that Performance Appraisal is frequently poorly designed and/or poorly executed, with the result that is does not achieve the results the organization wants from it.

Davide de Palma : What is the Individual Psychological Assessment?

Clive Fletcher : Individual Psychological Assessment (IPA) involves the assessment of an individual (usually a middle or senior level manager) by an occupational/organizational psychologist, using a variety of psychometric tests of ability and personality along with an in-depth interview. The aim is usually to provide a profile of the individual’s strengths and weaknesses in terms of the competency profile for a particular job or level in the organization. Thus, IPAs may be used for internal promotion assessment, assessment of external candidates for jobs, or for career development purposes. Because they are time consuming they tend to be expensive and are used only for more senior roles. Typically, they result in a written assessment report that is provided to those making the selection decisions etc…

Davide de Palma : What are the differences between Performance appraisal and performance management?

Clive Fletcher : Performance Appraisal is a key element of Performance Management (PM), but on its own can be limited in what it achieves. PM is a much wider approach to managing and enhancing the performance of the organization as a whole. It usually involves setting out a clear mission statement for the organization (and perhaps a set of values), formulating a business plan which is expressed in terms of objectives and priorities, and these in turn are cascaded down the organization so that at the individual level of performance appraisal a line manager’s own objectives are clearly linked in with the wider business objectives. Also, PM should include improved communication streams within the organization, which facilitate upward feedback about goals and priorities, and an analysis of the key competencies needed for the organization to be effective, which are then used in appraisal, promotion, career development and selection.

Davide de Palma : What is 360 degree feedback?

Clive Fletcher: Variously referred to a Multi-Source, Multi-Rater (MSMR) feedback or as 360 degree feedback, this has become very widely used in the last 20 years. Typically, it is a process whereby an individual manager completes a self assessment on a range of behavioural questions relating to a sub-set of competencies. The same questions/items are then completed by a sample of the individual’s subordinates, peers and bosses (and possibly customers or external contacts). This provides a chance for the individual to get feedback on how these different groups see him/her, how they rate their performance, and whether there are any differences between them (eg peers rating the person differently from subordinates). Crucially, it allows the individual receiving feedback to compare his/her self rating with those  of their colleagues, and tells them if they are over or under rating themselves by comparison.

Davide de Palma : What are the psychometric properties of 360 degree feedback?

Clive Fletcher: Unfortunately, many organisations do not check whether the questionnaires they used in 360 feedback are actually offering good measures of the competencies they are supposed to be measuring. Consequently, the questionnaire may not be differentiating effectively between difference competencies, or may yield measures that do not differentiate effectively between different employees’ levels of effectiveness. MSMR feedback questionnaires should be checked for their ability to yield clear measures of each competency assessed and a good spread of ratings.

Davide de Palma : What are the differences between self assessment and  self awareness?

Clive Fletcher:  Self assessment is simply the individual’s assessment of him or herself on some rating scale or other measure. Self Awareness is the term given either to (a) the extent to which an individual’s self assessment of an ability or quality agrees with an objective measure of their performance (eg comparing how good they think they are on numerical reasoning with their performance on test of numerical reasoning) , or to (b) whether an individual’s self ratings – collected, for example, in the course of a 360 feedback exercise – agree with the ratings other people have given of that individual. Research tells us that, broadly, people who are self aware – that is, their self ratings are in line with how other people see them – tend to be better performers in organizations.

Davide de Palma : What are the influences in self-assessment and self-awareness?

Clive Fletcher : Too many to list here! Some of the main ones are methodological ie how you frame the questions. Others are about the personality of the person doing the self assessment – their self esteem levels, the motivational context in which they are being asked to self-assess, their degree of insight generally, and so on.

Davide de Palma : Das Humankapital, is a blog that wants to promote the development of human capital. Do you think is important to promote the development of human capital?

Clive Fletcher : Without doubt it is important to develop human capital – the future of organizations and indeed of whole countries depends on it. Releasing their employees’ capacity for innovation and creativity, and supporting the ambition and energy of the human capital they have invested in should be  the primary mission of any organization.

Ritrova le altre interviste cliccando qui



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