How a company can attempt to identify and reduce appraisal bias

Performance upraise is supposed to be objectives and fair and all decision should be based on established organizational policies and strategies. However, in the recent past, performance appraisal has been marred by bias and cronyism. This paper discusses how organization can identify and reduce appraisal bias.

Rater bias

Rater bias is the key source of appraisal bias. Therefore, it is important to have in place [proper measures of identifying and reducing bias. One of the most effective ways of identifying and reducing appraisal bias include choosing the right rater and reviewers. This means choosing people who are objective driven as opposed to subjective rater. For example, using behaviorally anchored rating scale (BARS) such as the behavioral observation scale (BOS) which can reduce subjectivity and errors when conducting performance reprisal (Smith, 2001, pp. 337-358).

Appraisal policies

An organization needs to have in place performance appraisal polices and procedures that assure anonymity during rating and appraisal. Performance appraisal should be done in anonymity to reduce the bias is scoring, cronyism, and improve confidentiality in the appraisal (Roberts, 2003, pp. 89-98)

Using multisource assessment

Multisource assessment can be another effective way of identifying and reducing appraisal bias. For example, combining the 360-degree feedback method, the multi-rater assessment approach as well as the three-dimensional appraisal technique can help the performance appraisal team identify and reduce bias as tools elicit specific, objective as well as constructive feedback.

Rater accountability

The rater should be held accountable for biased decision and scoring by reviewing their scoring and asking them to explain the rationale behind their scoring. This can be done especially for the lowest and highest scores and even for the skewed ratings.

Identifying and reducing bias errors

The performance appraisal team must he trained on how to identify errors can occur when a rater bases his scores on opinions from the other employees. For example, first-impression bias, positive or negative halo bias, similar-to-me bias contributes to bias errors. It is also important to note that discriminatory biases ca hamper the effective of any performance appraisal. It is therefore important to have in place fairness safeguards to help the rater and the appraisal team from making invalid responses and feedbacks (Rarick, & Baxter, 1986, pp. 36-39).


The effectiveness of any performance appraisal is based on its premises of fairness, and objectivity. Therefore, an organization must be ready to go to any extent to identify and eliminate bias through ensuring the raters are not subjective in their scoring. It is also advisable to use multiple performance appraisal system to compensate for the weaknesses and limitations of the other techniques.


Rarick, C. & Baxter, G. (1986). Behaviorally anchored rating scale (Bars): An effective performance appraisal approach. Sam Advanced Management Journal, winter, 36-39

Roberts, G.E. (2003). Employee Performance Appraisal System Participation: a Technique that Works. Public Personnel Management, 30 (1), 89-98

Smith, R. (2001). Favoritism, Bias, and error in performance ratings of scientists and engineers: the effects of power, status, and numbers. Sex Roles, 45 (5-6), 337-358


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