The value of subjectivity: problems and prospects for 360-degree appraisal systems

Beatrice van der Heijden, A.H.J. Nijhof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
3028 Downloads (Pure)


This article focuses on the problems and prospects of 360-degree feedback methods. The rationale behind these appraisal systems is that different evaluation perspectives add objectivity and incremental validity to the assessment of individual performance. This assumption is challenged in this article. Our research shows that there is a consistent difference in especially self- and supervisor ratings. This implies that as long as these differences are understood as the result of several effects in measuring one’s performance, the multisource assessments will lead to a false sense of security and objectivity. Instead, when the differences are understood as subjective evaluations with a value in itself, then different perceptions can be used for a better understanding between supervisors and employees of the working relations, personal performance and underlying motives for career development. Several recommendations are made for human resource management practices and future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-511
Number of pages19
JournalInternational journal of human resource management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • METIS-218669
  • IR-47781


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