Nonlinear and Noncompensatory Processes in Performance Evaluation

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Anecdotal experience suggests that such common judgment tasks as performance evaluation typically evoke nonlinear and noncompensatory information processing strategies. Yet, the simple linear model is typically used to model judges' policies. Two performance evaluation studies using the policy capturing (“paper people”) paradigm are reported here. In the first study, nursing supervisors evaluated profiles of registered nurse and licensed vocational nurse performance. In the second study, faculty members evaluated profiles of nontenured faculty scholarly productivity. Conclusions drawn from these studies were (a) most judges appeared to use nonlinear judgment strategies, (b) for many judges, the nonlinearity was compatible with a noncompensatory judgment strategy, and (c) regression methods are capable of detecting nonlinearity in a series of judgments, at least in the performance evaluation context. Implications of these results for work in performance appraisal are discussed.

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Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, v. 44, issue 1, p. 97-122