Performance Management Definition

Last Updated: 04 Jul 2021
Essay type: Definition Essay
Pages: 7 Views: 84
Table of contents


"A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable. " From The Wisdom of Teams published by Harvard Business School Press in 1993.

By this widely used definition, an effective team is small, usually having no more than 15 members, and often between 5 and 10. It benefits from the diversity of its membership by drawing on the variety of skills, knowledge, experience and perspectives that all members bring to the team.

Order custom essay Performance Management Definition with free plagiarism report

feat icon 450+ experts on 30 subjects feat icon Starting from 3 hours delivery
Get Essay Help

The reason that the team exists (its mission or charge) is clearly described, understood and accepted by all members and becomes the touchstone against which priorities are established, conflicts are resolved, problems are identified and solved and decisions are made. The performance goals of the team are understood to apply to every member of the team, and accountability for accomplishing those goals is shared. The special contribution that a team makes to an organisation is the pooling of the collective creativity, skills, knowledge and experience of its members.

This benefit is only realised in a climate of open communication based on trust, mutual respect, and commitment to a common purpose. Team members commit to an approach to working together which includes specific guidelines or norms (see below), developed by team members, to help them to communicate ideas and concerns, give one another feedback, conduct meetings, solve problems and make decisions.

Much of the work that teams do is conducted in meetings at which work processes, group effectiveness, and outputs are discussed; problems are analysed and identified; and decisions related to future actions, changes, etc. are made. The meeting provides a forum and structure within which a team may work. Natural Work Group: "A group of employees and their [performance manager] who produce a product or service. " (TQM Teams Q & A: Performance Management/Employee Recognition commissioned by the Human Resource Quality Council of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1993.) The structure of a natural work group is a traditional hierarchical one in which the performance manager is ultimately responsible for the performance of his or her staff.

Employees are part of the group because they work in the same unit or department. Another name for a natural work group is a functional group, because the performance manager and employees make a product or deliver a service together. Authority and accountability are not shared equally, and the specific definition of a team given above may not apply in all respects to a natural work group.

Cross-functional Team:

A group of people brought together from different functional areas to redesign a process or product or to make decisions or recommendations about a process or a product.

A cross-functional team is different from a task force, because it adopts the principles of teamwork defined above, and because its charge may be either short-term or long-term. Membership will come from a number of areas within the department or organisation, but may also include suppliers or customers of the organisation. Members of Marks and Spencer may represent different levels of the organisation and different functional areas, but while they are participating on the cross-functional team, they share responsibility and authority for the way the team works together and the accomplishments of the team.

The Time Data Gathering Team, IFIS Enhancement Team, and Staffing Process Team are examples of cross-functional teams at UCSD. The degree of independent authority a cross-functional team has varies, depending on its charge. Cross-functional teams are often charged with the responsibility to implement the decisions they make and the changes they recommend.

Self-directed Work Team:

A team made up of a group of employees who share responsibility for a complete product or process, or accomplishment of a significant part of a process. The self-directed work team literally directs its own work and manages its own work performance.

The membership may be made up of employees from the same level or from different levels of the organisation. A manager or leader may also be a part of the team, however the role of the manager or leader is usually to provide guidance and support and to be a liaison to the organisation and other teams, rather than to control and authorise work. In this sense, the manager or leader facilitates work performance rather than directing it.


The people or groups who benefit from the services or products, which the organisation provides.

External Customers:

Customers from outside of the organisation.

External customers in the University include students, parents, patients, researchers, corporations, and the general public.

Internal Customers:

Customers within the organisation. Internal customers in the University include faculty, staff, and student employees. Departments like Human Resources, Physical Plant Services, Mail Services, the Storehouse, as well as help desks and many other internal support staff and groups serve primarily internal customers. The success of service to external customers is dependent upon effective service to internal customers.


An organisational philosophy of commitment to provide the best possible products or services in response to the needs and expectations of internal and external customers. Organisations that adopt a quality philosophy typically restructure using a team approaches and commit to continuous process improvement (see below).

Continuous Process Improvement:

An ongoing system of identifying or anticipating problems or areas in need of improvement in technical work processes, customer service, and team interpersonal effectiveness in order to perfect the quality of the products or services supported or provided.

The principle of continuous process improvement is based on the belief that even excellent products and services can be made better by improving the processes that make the products possible.


Guidelines for the way that team members will interact with one another. Norms are developed by team members, and typically include statements about how they will manage their time, conduct meetings, protect and encourage ideas, listen, confirm understanding, manage conflict, make decisions and arrive at a consensus. Most successful teams establish norms in order to create and protect an atmosphere of open communication and trust.

It is invaluable to have team norms in place before difficulties in interpersonal or meeting processes arise. The norms become the basis for giving feedback constructively.

Summary of the Performance Management Process

The performance management process begins with analysis and description of the job. The performance manager identifies essential functions in the job description and the strategic mission and goals of the department or organisational unit. Standards of minimum acceptable performance are developed for the position with the employee.

Additionally, standards for performance, which exceeds expectations, may be set to encourage the employee to strive for even better results. Throughout the appraisal period (typically one year), the performance manager observes and provides behavioural feedback on the performance of the employee, focusing on helping the employee to achieve successful performance. At the end of the appraisal period, and in collaboration with the employee, the performance manager prepares, writes, delivers and then produces a final copy of the written performance appraisal.

At any point in the process, the employee and performance manager may identify needs and create a plan for employee education, training or development in job- or career-related areas. The issues related to performance management of teams and team members arise out of the variety of reporting relationships and degree of independent responsibility that teams exercise, as well as the need to reinforce team values and efforts without undercutting individual responsibility. Adaptations of the performance management process with teams in mind may be made which are consistent with University policy and procedures.

By following the steps outlined in this Guide to Performance Management, you will find that the performance management process fosters improved communication with your employees. You will also achieve better results for your organisational unit or department.

Staff Appraisal Concern for Competence

"Competence-based" appraisal involves managers defining required elements of competence for the job or group of jobs e. g. all jobs in Marks and Spencer and then comparing the employee's ability against these.

An employing organisation, as part of its review of mission and declaration of what it does best (its core competencies - after Peters and Waterman), may define generic core competencies that the firm wants to see all organisational members displaying and striving towards. Staff appraisal schemes based on such cultural imperatives, tend to generalise on the competence statements as these must cover widely different jobs e. g. all jobs or those in an IT or marketing function. We can also find instances where schemes incorporate flexibility - enabling the appraiser at least to state the extent to which "the competence" is relevant to the job.

The design of such staff appraisal schemes reveals how managers, and human resource managers, in particular seek to determine required behaviour in the organisation. The schemes present and circulate organisational values against which the behaviour of employees can be monitored in ways that are considered objective (objectified) but which in essence are subjective, unilateral and managerial.

Appraisal Surveying customer opinion is commonplace in marketing and sales in Marks and Spencer. On many occasions we return home on an aeroplane from Torremolinos and complete the end-of-holiday questionnaire.

The same is true of the end of course questionnaire about the structure and pace of the course and the approach and skills of "the trainer". The trainer is expected to take note of the thumbs up and thumbs down of the feedback and to adjust their approach next time. In a commercial training situation, the customer feedback may lead to the trainer not being reengage the next time the course runs. For the end of holiday questionnaire, feedback on particular holiday resort representatives may be collated and get back to the reps concerned via their manager.

The sales and marketing aim is to canvas the extent to which the customer is delighted (or otherwise) by the quality of service they receive and thus how they perceive the supplier. All in all the survey is a quality assurance device. The supplier is continuously confronted with customer experience, expectations and concerns. Interest in such feedback has developed into a mechanism to formally gather and return appraisal feedback (hence 360i?? appraisal) from employees and other "stakeholders" to managers themselves. Basically, the feedback messages relate to "how well we see you managing us and what we think about it".

Thus appraisal in Marks and Spencer ideas takes staff appraisal one-step further. Rather than primarily focusing one-to-one between supervisor and employee, the emphasis is on a "full circle" survey. The appraisal (survey feedback) formally requires "stakeholders", team members, customers - all those who interface with the processes of performance - to give their assessment. The purpose is, underpinned by a belief that benefits arise from such "quality analysis" and that managers should receive direct data from upward and laterals sources on their performance.

This "open" feedback (opinions of others), it is argued will highlight how he/she is perceived in terms of performance in the role. So the spotlight is on the manager - and (the proposition) only good can come of it. Of course, in a more general sense, the survey feedback can be on "the team's" performance - as seen by other teams plus internal and external clients. It can be on the organisation as a whole or just one function - say - the accounts department. This is general survey feedback appraisal tends to focus on feedback.

Cite this Page

Performance Management Definition. (2018, Jul 14). Retrieved from

Don't let plagiarism ruin your grade

Run a free check or have your essay done for you

plagiarism ruin image

We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Save time and let our verified experts help you.

Hire writer