what is 360 feedback

Multi Rate Systems & 360 Degree Feedback Part-1

Our performance at work is influenced by our own level of expertise, experience, motivation, nature of the work, opportunities given by the organization and equally importantly by the social milieu in which we work. In order to grow and develop we recognize that feedback is essential so that we can improve our functioning along the lines that the organization desires. Very often this feedback is not available to us in a constructive manner. We also hesitate to ask for feedback for a variety of reasons. It could be because of a variety of reasons one, we generally associate all feedback with negatives, two, we do not know whom to ask and trust and three, most importantly we fear that it will somehow disturb the ideal image that we have built of ourselves over the years. If any, the only ever time we may get any kind of a feedback of this nature is during the annual appraisals.

Today, organizations use several methods of providing feedback. One of the methods organizations are using to help us correct our often incomplete perceptions of ourselves and how others see us is the multi- rater feedback, sometimes also known as the 360 degree feedback.

Before we go into the process and mechanics of the multi-rater system it may be just of interest to see the origins of the whole process. The origins of multi-rater feedback or 360 degree feedback can be traced back, like most management practices, to military and wars. The US army was the first to introduce multi- rater feedback during World-War I while the Germans are credited for 360 degree feedback as they added subordinates to the feedback circle during the World War II. The first known adoption in a business organization was in the Esso Research and Engineering Company in 1950s.

Multi-rater feedback systems are considered more objective because they capture the perspective from several different stakeholders therefore reducing the impact of perception bias. The multi-rater feedback can be used for meeting any of the following objectives
a. Leadership potential identification and development
b. Performance reviews and appraisals
c. Career Development and Succession Planning
d. Drawing up Competency Development Plans for employees
e. Team Building and Culture Development


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