Plan may harm young managers

Government plans to introduce 360-degree feedback for all senior civil
servants in an effort to improve leadership could backfire, experts have
warned.

The proposal is contained in a wholesale reform of Whitehall personnel
policies.

The scheme is to be put in place for the top 150 civil servants immediately
and for all senior mandarins by the end of 2001.

Patricia Hind, head of the MBA programme at Ashridge Management College,
said her research, released this month, shows that younger managers could be
damaged by 360-degree feedback. "Better communication is a good thing but
a 360-degree instrument is not necessarily the best way of giving that
feedback," she said.

"This is particularly so for younger managers if they have not had
chance to display skills the feedback seeks to appraise."

She said older managers often achieve good appraisals simply because their
greater experience creates a "halo effect".

The assessment takes into account the views of junior staff, peers, line
manager and customers. Research by Roffey Park Management Institute last year
found firms are ditching the tool.

www.cabinet-office.gov.uk

www.ashridge.ac.uk

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