Performance Management – Annotated Bibliography

Selected books, research articles, and popular literature for those seeking deeper knowledge

Providing Effective Reviews/Feedback

How to make feedback feel normal

The author explains how to fight defensiveness during the performance review and introduces strategies for an effective feedback session with employees.

Grenny, J. (2016) Harvard Business Review.

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How to give feedback to people who cry, yell, or get defensive

This article provides practical advice on conducting performance reviews, particularly when employees do not handle the feedback well or react emotionally.

Su, A. (2016). Harvard Business Review.

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How to give negative feedback over email

This easy-to-read article offers tactful tips you can apply when giving negative feedback over e-mail.

Glei, J. K. (2016). Harvard Business Review.

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Why you shouldn’t label people “low performers”

This articles explains why the categories that we use to make sense of others can limit our ability to help others achieve their full potential at work. Familiar workplace examples are used to illuminate the phenomenon.

Quinn. R. W. (2016) Harvard Business Review.

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The effects of feedback interventions on performance: a historical review, a meta- analysis, and a preliminary feedback intervention theory

One of the classic empirical reviews of feedback interventions. This meta-analysis shows that feedback intervention improves performance and sometimes has a negative effect, suggesting that feedback interventions are double-edged swords if not used properly. It presents detailed take-home messages for leaders who strive to provide effective feedback interventions.

Kluger, A. N., & DeNisi, A. (1996). Psychological bulletin, 119(2), 254.

Feedback orientation, feedback culture, and the longitudinal performance management process

Instead of viewing feedback in isolation, this review paper introduces feedback as part of a longitudinal performance management process. The authors adopt a person-environment interaction view of the feedback process over time and provide a model showing the sequential stages of a performance management process. The process includes the role of feedback, feedback orientation, feedback culture, and critical events.

London, M., & Smither, J. W. (2002). Human Resource Management Review, 12(1), 81-100.


Goal Setting

The key to lasting behavioral change: Think goals, not tactics

This article provides advice for personal behavioral change that you can share with others to aid in their goal setting and motivation. Several strategies are provided to help promote employee productivity.

Saunders. G. E. (2014). Harvard Business Review.

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When you give your team a goal, make it a range

This article emphasizes two important elements for successful goal setting: challenge and attainability.

Martin. S. (2014). Harvard Business Review.

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Switch: How to change when change is hard

This book explains how to bring about change in organizations and how to motivate others through rational and emotional persuasion. “Key Takeaways” strategies are covered in some detail.

Heath, C., & Heath, D. (2010). Broadway Books.

The power of habit: Why we do what we do in life and business

Developing purposeful habits can lead to constructive changes in individual lives as well as in organizations. In this book, the importance of establishing good habits and how we can use habits to achieve our goals are explained through accessible examples.

Duhigg, C. (2012). Random House.

Building a practically useful theory of goal setting and task motivation. A 35-year odyssey.

The authors summarize 35 years of empirical research on goal-setting theory. The current review includes core findings, the four mechanisms of how goals affect performance, the roles of moderators and mediators, and practical applications of this knowledge.

Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (2002). American psychologist, 57(9), 705.

New developments in goal setting and task performance

This recent book comprehensively reviews a range of goal setting research from 1990 to today, consisting of 37 chapters, including goal commitment, goal orientation and strategies, multiple goal pursuit, long-term effects of goal setting, goals and negotiation, and goal setting in teams.

E. A., & Latham, G. P. (Eds.). (2013). Routledge.


What the Performance Literature Says

Performance management

This book chapter provides a comprehensive review of a performance management processes that includes goal setting, feedback, coaching, performance evaluation, and reward. The chapter also introduces concepts such as contextual performance, counterproductive work behavior, team performance, the role of technology, cross-cultural issues, and justice.

Smither, J. W., & London, M. (2012). Kozlowski, Steve (Ed..), The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Psychology, 1, 285-329. Oxford University Press.

Personnel psychology: Performance evaluation and pay for performance

The authors review the literature on performance evaluation and performance improvement, and discuss whether pay-for-performance (PFP) linkages are beneficial. A review of various PFP systems is followed by suggestions for performance improvement.

Rynes, S. L., Gerhart, B., & Parks, L. (2005). Annual Reviews of Psychology, 56, 571-600.

Getting rid of performance ratings: Genius or folly? A debate

This article addresses the difficulties of performance appraisals. Despite the long history of performance management, frustration with performance appraisal processes is common. This article summarizes the debates among researchers and practitioners on whether to eliminate performance ratings. Instead of giving a fixed answer, the paper provides the opinions of each side, the pros and cons of performance ratings styles, and guidelines for future consideration.

Adler, S., Campion, M., Colquitt, A., Grubb, A., Murphy, K., Ollander-Krane, R., & Pulakos, E. D. (2016). Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 9(02), 219-252.

Explaining the weak relationship between job performance and ratings of job performance

The author explains reasons for the discrepancy between employee performance and supervisor ratings. In the article, he reveals that intentional distortions are a key reason why supervisor ratings fail to accurately assess employee performance. He calls for systematic efforts to remove the negative consequences of giving honest performance ratings. He also mentions the drawbacks of a forced distribution rating system, i.e., “Rank and Yank.” For fuller exposure to the debate, the commentaries and reaction to this article provide excellent resources for further consideration.

Murphy, K. R. (2008). Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 1(2), 148-160.

Designing a Performance Management System

The performance management revolution

This articles provides a succinct easy-to-read overview of the history of performance management as well as the challenges companies have struggled with. By showing how these struggles have been overcome and managed, the article helps establish better performance evaluation strategies. It is always better to learn from previous mistakes, check the current status, and ameliorate from there.

Cappelli. P. & Tavis. A. (2016). Harvard Business Review.

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How to establish a performance improvement plan

In this article, the Society for Human Resource Management discusses how to implement a performance improvement plan in six steps.

The HR Knowledge Center (2015). Society for Human Resource Management.

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The case against long-term incentive plans

The article elaborates upon the insights on incentive plans from Professor Alexander Pepper at the London School of Economics. More specifically, the reasons why we should abandon long-term incentive plans are explored.

Beck. M. (2016) Harvard Business Review.

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Let’s not kill performance evaluations yet

Acknowledging some of the current complaints about performance evaluations, this article re-emphasizes their advantages.

Goler, L., Gale, J., & Grant, A. (2016) Harvard Business Review.

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Is the annual performance review dead?

Wilkie explores General Electric (GE)’s decision to eliminate the annual performance review and why other companies may be following suit.

Wilkie, D. (2015). Society for Human Resource Management.

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‘Rank-and-Yank’: That’s not how it’s done

The former CEO of General Electric (GE) states that the term ‘rank-and-yank’ is not accurate, and discusses how performance appraisal methods are effective within the institutional environment.

Welch. J. (2013).

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