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Title:Accountability in human resources systems: The impression management and performance-directed functions of goal-setting in the performance evaluation process
Author(s):Frink, Dwight David
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Ferris, Gerald R.
Department / Program:Labor and Employment Relations
Discipline:Labor and Employment Relations
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Business Administration, Management
Psychology, Industrial
Sociology, Industrial and Labor Relations
Abstract:Accountability, the condition in which one will likely need to defend decisions or actions, is a common but seldom researched topic in organizational studies. This study purports to investigate the effects of accountability in human resources systems, using the evaluation of performance as a context. Performance evaluation is the fundamental accountability mechanism in organizations, and is often a primary function of the organization's human resources department. Performance evaluations are likely to become impression management events when there are rewards or punishments associated with the evaluation outcome. Additionally, goal setting is often used in conjunction with performance evaluations, with the intention of continual development.
The integration of theoretical perspectives from accountability, performance evaluation, impression management, and goal setting resulted in the proposition that goals may be used for two purposes: an impression-management function and a performance-directed function. One implication is that people will set high goals when they feel those to whom they answer will think differently of them because of their goals. In addition, it was suggested that this occurs because people actually approach decisions and tasks according to their perceptions of accountability conditions.
A laboratory experiment and a field study were used to investigate these notions, and results indicate that those in both studies approached tasks differently according to their perceptions of accountability conditions. Accountability was operationalized both by manipulating conditions and by measurement of perceptions, and multiple criteria were included to more closely replicate naturally occurring conditions. There was convergence across the studies concerning the effects of accountability on goals and attentiveness.
Issue Date:1994
Rights Information:Copyright 1994 Frink, Dwight David
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9503190
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9503190

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