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Antecedents and Consequences of Rater Goals in the Performance Appraisal Process Open Access

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Rater goals are the underlying motivations that raters possess when making performance ratings, such as a desire to motivate, to be fair, or to identify performance strengths or weaknesses. Previous research has indicated that raters hold varying goals when making performance appraisal ratings and that these goals impact the ratings they provide. Thus, it is important to gain a better understanding of why raters may develop certain goals. The purpose of the current study was to investigate potential antecedents and consequences of rater goals. In particular, this study examined how characteristics of the target being rated impact rater goals and how specific rater goals impact performance ratings within a peer rating context. First, the research examined how characteristics of the target impact the rater’s goals. Characteristics of the target that were examined included target performance and organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs). Both high levels of target performance and manifestation of OCBs were found to have a positive impact on rater motivation goals (i.e., the rater aims to motivate the target). Additionally, fairness goals were not significantly related to target performance, suggesting that raters do not take target performance into account when assigning fairness goals. Second, the research examined how rater goals impact the performance ratings that those raters provide. Motivation goals were found to positively impact performance ratings. In sum, the current research provides support for the notion that characteristics of the target being rated impact rater goals and that the rater’s goals impact the performance ratings he or she provides. While we are only beginning to understand the nature of rater goals in the performance appraisal process, this research helps to further our understanding of the role of rater goals, including both their antecedents and consequences.

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