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Forced Ranking: Boon or Bane?

CASE FLYER, HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
ET Cases, 4 pages
AUTHOR(S) : Vandana Jayakumar and Dr. Nagendra V. Chowdary

Case Preview

Forced Ranking: Boon or Bane?

 

Expected Learning Outcomes

• Understanding the concept of performance evaluation and analyzing various Performance Management Systems (PMSs)
• Debating on the fallout of forced ranking on human resources in an organization

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Performance Appraisals: The Mechanics and the Metaphors

1. Each one of you has gained enrolment into your respective business schools after having cleared a demanding entrance test, and ranked based on  percentile system. Do you think such a system is an apt measure of performance?

2. Even in business schools (may be in your business school too), GPA system/CGPA system of grading has largely been adopted. Do you think this system is an apt measuring tool to assess the performance levels of the degree seeking participants?

3. What matters to you the most – the performance or the performance measurement?

4. ...................

Forced Ranking: The Beginning and the Beginning of an End?

1. What do you understand by a Forced Ranking System? Can you highlight the merits and demerits of such a system?

2. The accompanying article highlights the introduction of forced ranking as a Performance Management System at Yahoo!, by its new CEO Marissa Mayer. The article also outlines the understandable resistance towards such a system. What are your views on such a system?

3. Although the concept/practice of Forced Ranking System was introduced at GE by Jack Welch, during late 1980s, not all companies (including Fortune 500 companies) have adopted the practice. Why do you think, one of GE’s best practices and undoubtedly a game changer in Performance Management Systems, was not adopted by all the companies?

4. ..............

Teaching Note Preview

Forced Ranking: Boon or Bane?

 

Synopsis

This case flyer facilitates a discussion on the concept of performance appraisal in general and also helps to critically evaluate the forced ranking system as a performance management system. It helps discuss the various types of performance management systems (such as 360o evaluation, annual appraisal, etc.) and helps identify the main objectives of a good performance management system. Discussing the case of Yahoo! which introduced forced ranking as a performance management system in 2013, the case flyer enables a debate on the pros and cons of ‘forced ranking’. While this was a successful practice at GE where the system was introduced in the late 1980s, why does this not find acceptance with most companies? Since the case flyer discusses performance appraisal in its various dimensions, it finds use in teaching the concept of ‘performance evaluation’ in Organizational Behavior course.

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • • Understanding the concept of performance evaluation and analyzing various Performance Management Systems (PMSs)
  • • Debating on the fallout of forced ranking on human resources in an organization

 

Positioning and Setting

The case flyer can be used in the following course

  • a) Human Resource Management – Performance Management & Appraisal
  • b) Concept of ‘performance evaluation’ in Organizational Behavior course

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Suggested Orchestration

Before the Case Flyer Discussion in the Classroom

a) Before the classroom discussion, students were asked to read the book chapters – “Getting Started” and “Getting the Mechanics Right” from the book, Forced Ranking: Making Performance Management Work by Dick Grote.

b) The students were also asked to read the concept of ‘vitality curve’ from Jack Welch’s book, Jack: Straight from the Gut.

c) The students were asked to discuss with their parents or any of their seniors about the way their performance was assessed at their respective organizations.

d) Most importantly, the students were encouraged to analyze all the questions given in the case flyer (either individually or in learning teams or appropriate discussion forums) for them to participate effectively and enrich the learning outcomes.

During the Case Flyer Discussion in the Classroom

The discussion on the case flyer was conducted under two broad related topics: ...........

The flow of questions to be discussed in the classroom has been elaborated in Annexure (TN)-I: The Board Plan

I. Performance Appraisals: The Mechanics and the Metaphors

• To begin the classroom discussion on performance appraisal, the participants discussed the performance evaluation method that was used to assess their performance to get an admission into the B-school.

• The participants also debated on the GPA/CGPA (grading system) adopted in B-schools.

• Having warmed up to the concept of performance appraisal, the participants were asked to share the performance evaluation methods of their seniors (an exercise that was suggested to be undertaken by the participants before the classroom discussion, as most of the participants were unlikely to have experienced the same themselves).

• This led to a discussion on the various types of performance appraisal methods used by various companies which in-turn helped in identifying the reasons behind different companies using different performance appraisal methods and the main objectives of a performance appraisal method.

• .............

Annexure

Annexure (TN)-I: Board Plan

$3.66
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Product code: HRM-4-0015, HRM-4-0015A

Abstract

This case flyer enables a discussion on the topic of 'Forced Ranking System' as propounded by the legendary Jack Welch at GE during late 1980s. Considered as a mixed measure of Performance Management Systems (PMS), the case flyer suggests that a great deal of precaution is essential before implementing any such system. The case flyer revolves around the introduction of forced ranking system as a performance management system at Yahoo! by Marissa Mayer, its new CEO. In coherence with the accompanying article1, the case flyer discusses the repercussions of forced ranking system in an organization and debates if forced ranking system even truly evaluates human resources as it is believed that employee performance does not follow a bell curve. The case flyer finds application in teaching the concept of 'performance evaluation' in Organizational Behavior Course.



Pedagogical Objectives

  • To understand the concept of performance evaluation and to analyze various Performance Management Systems (PMSs)
  • To debate on the fallout of forced ranking on human resources in an organization


1 Joshua Brustein, 'Yahoo's Latest HR Disaster: Ranking Workers on A Curve', The Economic Times, November 15th 2013



This Case Pack Includes:
- Abstract
- Case Flyer
- Analysis
$3.66
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