Handling paradoxical tensions through conventions. The case of performance appraisal

Arjan Kozica and Julia Brandl (2015)

In: German Journal of Research in Human Resource Management 29(1), pp. 49-68.



“In this paper, we investigate how conventions enable organisational actors to cope with paradoxical tensions in performance appraisal systems. Building on a case study of a performance appraisal system reform in a public sector organisation, we analyse how this organisation enableds superiors to take into account both accountability and professional logic. When new appraisal rules required superiors to rank their employees according to their qualifications but also to show collegiate solidarity, superiors negotiated an organisation-wide understanding of the rules that enabled them to address both logics simultaneously. The study underlines the importance of collective understandings for individual responses to paradoxical tensions and reveals how performance appraisal systems can be operated according to different logics.”