Using Multisource Ratings in Promotion Decisions
Martha Lappin, Ph.D.Details:
U.S. Agency for International Development
Location: McCormick & Schmick's Crystal City
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“Appraising managerial potential is best accomplished by using the collective judgment of multiple assessors, rather than a single individual” (Fleenor and Brutus, 2000). Few managers or I/O psychologists would argue with this statement. So why is there so much controversy around proposals to implement this suggestion?
It seems to go back to the ambiguity surrounding “360 feedback” and our failure to clearly articulate and align the methods and purpose of this ever more popular concept. When organizations ask themselves how they can most effectively grow and develop their workforce, they often embrace the notion that input on skills, abilities and performance from multiple sources is valuable, and sharing this input or “360 feedback” with employees will produce the desired outcome – behavior change in the desired direction.
When organizations ask themselves how they can make better promotion decisions, or in other words, do a better job predicting future success in the organization, suddenly, input from anyone other than the one or two people who supervise the target individual becomes suspect, and organizations revert back to the overly cautious and poorly substantiated “360s should only be used for development” line. Dr. Lappin will explore the reasons for this, and outline the approach her team is taking at USAID to ensure that input from multiple sources, not just a single individual, is used to make important decisions about a Foreign Service Officer’s potential for success at the next grade.
Dr. Martha Lappin holds a doctorate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Michigan State University. She spent the first 15 years of her career as a research psychologist for the U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences (ARI), where she supervised a research team and managed a research program to enhance the assessment and development of Special Forces (SF) soldiers. She was honored with a Superior Civilian Performance Award from the U.S. Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel for this work.
In 1997, Dr. Lappin left the government for the consulting world where she directed a large clinical research trial, conducted statistical analyses in large and complex survey and personnel databases, chaired an International Psychology graduate program, and designed and led leader development programs in public and private sector organizations. She also spent two years directing a large-scale, high visibility assessment of sexual harassment and sexual assault in Army training centers and operational units across the globe. The results were briefed at the highest levels of the Army and incorporated into the Army’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program.
Dr. Lappin returned to the federal government in April 2016 when she was hired by USAID to lead the Foreign Service Performance Management Redesign Initiative.