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“MHRM 6600—Week 6”

by Hakeem IBRAHIM

posted in Human Resources Management

360- Degree Feedback System

Organizational and individual leaders and members do receive feedback on their performances but mostly in an anonymous manner from all the departments or constituencies they serve to minimize feedback rating biases. This is due to the general perspectives that, feedback is invaluable, resulting into typical constrain of flow of feedback (information) in organizational system. To free up information flow channels in this situation, 360-degree feedback is identified as a crucial mechanism.

In one developmental study (Aguinis, 2013), 360-degree feedback system is a preferred tool when information about performances of those at the supervisory levels and their roles is to be gathered. According to (Garavan, Morley, and Flynn, 1997, & Ghorpade, 2000) studies which revealed that, performance feedback system known as 360-degree feedback has gained wide coverage and popularity in the corporate world and that, the number of 360-degree feedback instruments has increased significantly within the last 15 years. This is due to the following facts:

  • Organizations require cost effective alternative to assessment
  • There is need for continuous measurement of improvement effort, and
  • The need for job-related feedback for employees affected by career plateau, and so forth.

360-degree feedback is used to measure or examine areas where there are large differences between self perception and other peoples’ perceptions. It is most helpful when used for developmental purposes only and not for administration purposes (Aguinis, 2013). This is because, honesty is more likely recorded when used for individual improvement rather punishment. 360-degree feedback system is usually ideal for individuals with supervisory roles, but can be used for all positions in an organization.

Merits and Demerits of 360-Degree Feedback over Traditional Performance Appraisal

Aguinis (2013) mentioned the various organizational and/or individual importance of 360-degree feedback system as follows – there is ease of providing information about senior officers through 360-degree feedback system, there is also reduction possibility of rating errors because, information is from more sources, both supervisors and managers’ expectations become well known to other employees, there is increased commitments to improve performances when employees are aware of others thought about their performances.

However, certain disadvantages, risks, and hindrances exist from implementing 360-degree feedback system as mentioned by Aguinis (2013). These include – employees’ feeling might be hurt by negative and unconstructive feedback comments, system can only elicit positive result when individuals feel comfortable, and believe on honest and fair rating treatment, when information is provided by fewer raters, anonymity is affected and can lead to distorted information, 360-degree feedback system also require continuous or repeated administration, thereby labeled as 720-degree feedback system due to its complexity.


360-degree feedback, also known as, multisource feedback is an ideal mechanism when obtaining other peoples’ perspectives about individual performances, more importantly, senior officers. This type of performance review program is aimed at, not only better understanding of employees’ strengths and weaknesses but it also measures employee behavior and competencies.

Certain merits and demerits of using 360-degree feedback system also existed for users to be prepared based on likely effects as it relates to their organizational structures and available resources.


Aguinis, H. (2013). Performance management (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, HJ: Prentice Hall.

Garavan, T. N., Morley, M., & Flynn, M. (1997). 360-degree feedback: its role in employee development. The Journal of Management Development, 16(2), 134-147.

Ghorpade, J. (2000). Managing five paradoxes of 360-degree feedback. The Academy of Management Executive, 14(1), 140-150.

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