Central tendency error

Central tendency error
See also


Central tendency error belongs to rating errors or to distortions of appraisal[1][2]. According to Michael G. Aamodt central tendency error is "a type of rating error in which a rater consistently rates all employees in the middle of the scale, regardless of their actual levels of performance"[3].

Reasons of occurrence[edit]

This error occurs when the evaluators are reluctant to use the extreme ends of the rating scale. Thus limiting the scope of evaluations and the possibility of objective and honest employee evaluation. Particularly susceptible to this error are five-degree scales, with exemplary extremes such as "outstanding" and "unacceptable". The effect of using such a scale is to limit the possibility of evaluation and increasing the chance that all evaluated people will be in the mid-range of the rating scale. This makes it difficult to accurately describe the effectiveness at work when determining promotions and pay increases[4].

Some evaluators, instead of a lenient or strictness assessment, give an average score to all rated people, despite their actual performance. Raters think that giving an average rating is the best way to avoid any wrong judgements. Some assessors believe that performance evaluation is a waste of time, which is why the average rating for them is the simplest solution[5]. The evaluators do not like being too strict towards anyone giving low marks. At the same time, they believe that nobody deserves the highest possible assessment[6].

Some assessment systems encourage evaluators to commit a central tendency error, require them to provide written justification when choosing an extreme assessment[7].

Effects of occurrence central tendency error[edit]

Assessment errors indicate a situation where the evaluator does not distinguish good and poor quality of work. These errors cause problems when evaluating by several people, if one evaluator is strict and the other will be assessed in the average scale of the assessment, finally it will be taken into account strict evaluation[8].

The average scores due to central tendecy error discriminate against employees who achieve high scores and protect those who have poor performance. As a result, the assessments become useless as a decision aid for promotions, training or feedback to the management[9].

Raters training[edit]

Some performance rating distortions may be corrected by rater trainings. Frank J. Landy and Jeffrey M. Conte distinguishes three types of training for raters[10]:

  • Administrative training
  • Psychometric training
  • Frame-of-reference training

Other rating errors[edit]

To the most common rating errors in the assesment employees belongs[11][12]:

  • Strictness error
  • Leniency Error
  • Halo Effect
  • Recency of events error
  • Similarity error
  • Low appraiser motivation
  • Inflationary pressures

Disadvantages of ratings errors[edit]

Central tendency error and other distortions have influance on company efficiency. It usually reduces efficiency by[13][3][14][15]:

  • Company cannot identify strengths and weaknesses of employees.
  • Demotivating effect, for example when two employees doing same work with a different efficiency and they receive the same rating.
  • Worse relationship between the manager and his subordinates.
  • Excess or lack of the bonuses for effective work.
  • Increase in renumeration costs for the company.
  • Lack of consistency with low efficiency

Footnotes[edit]

  1. DeCenzo D., Robbins S. P., Verhulst S. L., (2016),Fundamentals of Human Resource Management, Binder Ready Version, John Wiley & Sons, p. 223
  2. Lunenburg F. C., (2012), Performance Appraisal: Methods and Rating Errors, "International Journal of Scholarly Academic Intellectual Diversity", Volume 14 Number 1, Sam Houston State University, p. 7-9
  3. 3.0 3.1 Aamodt M. G., (2015), Industrial/Organizational Psychology: An Applied Approach, Cengage Learning, Boston, p. 259
  4. DeCenzo D., Robbins S. P., Verhulst S. L., (2016),Fundamentals of Human Resource Management, Binder Ready Version, John Wiley & Sons, p. 224
  5. Kumar D. Bhattacharyya, (2011), Performance Management Systems and Strategies, Pearson Education India, New Delhi, p. 76
  6. Lunenburg F. C., (2012), Performance Appraisal: Methods and Rating Errors, "International Journal of Scholarly Academic Intellectual Diversity", Volume 14 Number 1, Sam Houston State University, p. 8
  7. Landy F. J., Conte J. M., (2010), Work in the 21st Century: An Introduction to Industrial and Organizational Psychology, John Wiley & Sons, Malden, p. 257
  8. Levi-Jakšić M., (2012), Proceedings of the XIII International Symposium SymOrg 2012: Innovative Management and Business Performance, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, p. 849
  9. Jones J. W., Steffy B. D., Bray D. W., (1991), Applying Psychology in Business: The Handbook for Managers and Human Resource Professionals, Lexington Books, Douglas Weston, p. 327
  10. Landy F. J., Conte J. M., (2010), Work in the 21st Century: An Introduction to Industrial and Organizational Psychology, John Wiley & Sons, Malden, p. 258-259
  11. Lunenburg F. C., (2012), Performance Appraisal: Methods and Rating Errors, "International Journal of Scholarly Academic Intellectual Diversity", Volume 14 Number 1, Sam Houston State University, p. 7
  12. DeCenzo D., Robbins S. P., Verhulst S. L., (2016),Fundamentals of Human Resource Management, Binder Ready Version, John Wiley & Sons p. 223
  13. Landy F. J., Conte J. M., (2010), Work in the 21st Century: An Introduction to Industrial and Organizational Psychology, John Wiley & Sons, Malden, p. 257
  14. Jones J. W., Steffy B. D., Bray D. W., (1991), Applying Psychology in Business: The Handbook for Managers and Human Resource Professionals, Lexington Books, Douglas Weston, p. 327-329
  15. Kumar D. Bhattacharyya, (2011), Performance Management Systems and Strategies, Pearson Education India, New Delhi, p. 76

References[edit]

Author: Fryderyk Olchawa