The utility of performance review systems : a total quality management perspective

Liao, Ying-Ying and Soltani, Ebrahim and Iqbal, Abdullah and van der Meer, Robert (2024) The utility of performance review systems : a total quality management perspective. Strategic Change, 33 (4). pp. 287-310. ISSN 1086-1718 (

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Scholars and practitioners alike have argued that performance review is prone to destructive effects and negative outcomes in progressive work organizations with a total quality management (TQM) orientation. Despite its pervasive use and significant consequences at individual, team, and organizational levels across contemporary workplaces, it has remained inadequately explored for its current operational systems and their role in helping employees achieve job mastery and enabling organizations to attain desired quality outcomes. To address this lacuna, this study aims to explore how performance review systems can align with continuous quality improvement in contemporary workplaces that espouse a culture of continuous learning and quality improvement. Given the exploratory and broad scope of the research, it adopts a multiple case study design which offers benefits both in terms of process and outcomes. The findings are indicative of two different performance review systems with very different implications for managing employees and achieving quality outcomes in line with TQM: tactical system with a focus on employee obedience to rigid top-down control system for achieving conformance quality measures, and a dynamic system with a focus on employee ownership of the quality process for achieving desired quality.