Appraising the Secretaries at Sweetwater University


Review the Case application: APPRAISING THE SECRETARIES AT SWEETWATER U at the end of Chapter 9 of your textbook. Review the three questions at the end of the case. Think about how you might answer those questions. Now, answer these questions:

Do you think that the experts ‘recommendations will be sufficient to get most of the administrators to fill out the rating forms properly? Why? Why not? What additional actions (if any) do you think will be necessary?

Do you think that Vice President Winchester would be better off dropping graphic rating forms, substituting instead one of the other techniques we discussed in this chapter, such as a ranking method? Why?

What performance appraisal system would you develop for the secretaries if you were Rob Winchester? Defend your answer.

Sample paper

Appraising the Secretaries at Sweetwater University

The experts’ recommendations are sufficient to encourage the administrators to fill out the forms with correct details about the performance of the secretaries. The second form, Appendix II, is more detailed and precise. For instance, instead of merely rating performance as “excellent” or “poor”, the form allows administrators to assess a range of performance indicators such as team work, communication skills, organizational know-how, and other aspects. In addition, since the new ratings will not be tied to salary increments, the administrators will feel more at ease to give accurate ratings. It will be necessary to provide training both to the administrators and the secretaries about the new performance rating system. In order for the new system to be effective, both the administrators and the secretaries must thoroughly understand how it works. This will ensure that they fully embrace the new system.

It is also necessary to establish an appropriate and effective way of reviewing the secretaries’ salaries. First, Sweetwater University should ensure that it provides wages to all the secretaries. This involves paying an amount equal to what other institutions within the industry pay. Sweetwater University can use benchmarking programs to establish the industry average pay. In order to give motivation to the workforce, performance-based salary reviews should also be employed. Secretaries who give satisfactory performance under the new rating system should be rewarded by receiving a pay increase.

Question 2

The Vice President can still do away with graphic rating scales and employ other techniques such as ranking method. Certain ranking methods can be used instead of using the graphic rating forms, for example, using a BARS system or management by objectives (MBO) method. BARS stands for behaviorally anchored rating scales. In this rating system, the administrators should understand each of the secretaries’ tasks, and the specific behaviors that the secretaries are expected to harbor (Deb, 2006). The major difference in using the BARS system is that it requires administrators or supervisors to gauge employees’ performance based on specific behaviors rather than on a whole range of behaviors that may be applicable in any position within the organization. The BARS system would be better to the graphic rating scales since it eliminates the subjectivity common in graphic rating scales. BARS provide more accurate ratings compared to graphic rating scales on employee behavior and performance. In addition, the secretaries would be aware of the actual behaviors they are supposed to display under the bars system.

The Vice President can drop the graphic rating scales for other methods such as Management by Objectives (MBO). In this method, the employees and their superiors come together and jointly develop goals and expected outcomes (Deb, 2006). The objectives and outcomes established are then used to gauge employee performance and to give appraisals. In this method, the objectives are aligned to quantitative measures of performance such as quality of products produced by employees (number of defects). This method can be suitable since employees are also involved in determining the performance objectives and may thus be more willing to accept the method.

Question 3

If I were Rob Winchester, I would use the management by Management by Objectives method. This method would be better since it involves even the employees in developing the objectives. This means that the secretaries will be well aware of what is expected of them. This method also makes the employees to be personally committed towards goal achievement. By using this method, the administrators would be less likely to give inaccurate performance rankings.


Deb, T. (2006). Strategic approach to human resource management: Concept, tools and   application. New Delhi: Atlantic.