This study examines the long-standing debate among scholars and practitioners regarding the effectiveness of the performance appraisal (PA) process as a useful tool to manage individual and organizational performance (Glover, 1996; Gruman & Saks, 2011; Kondrasuk, 2012; Light, 2010; Pulakos & O’Leary, 2011; Thomas & Bretz, 1994). To further this discussion, the relationship between employees’ reactions to the PA process and perceptions of engagement in the workplace is examined.

A survey of 466 respondents finds there to be a significant positive relationship between PA reactions and employee engagement. Other significant findings of the study include: 1) high correlations among Keeping and Levy’s (2000) PA reaction first-order factors, 2) a significant correlation between PA ratings and employee engagement, and 3) a significant correlation between PA frequency and employee engagement. The implications of these findings suggest that an organization’s ability to create, implement, and manage its PA process will affect employee engagement and, ultimately,

organizational productivity. Given employees’ tendencies to view the PA process en masse and the complexities of the PA process, it is suggested that a forward-looking developmental process, similar to Gilley and Boughton’s (1996) model, be substituted for the traditional, backward-looking PA process. Finally, limitations of the study are discussed along with ideas for future research.

Date of publication

Spring 4-25-2017

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Jerry W. Gilley, Ed.D.; Ann Gilley, Ph.D.; Paul Roberts, Ph.D.; James M. Wilkerson, Ph.D.


Doctor of Philosophy in Human Resource Development