Leadership and control

Authored by: Craig Marsh

The Routledge Companion to Performance Management and Control

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138913547
eBook ISBN: 9781315691374
Adobe ISBN:


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Experience and research suggests that the narrative of the strong organisational leader who is able to manipulate directly the behaviour of employees is alive and well. An important part of the toolkit of the organisational leader is the performance management system. HR Best Practice dictates that performance appraisal directs and controls behaviour in a way that is consistent with the company’s strategic goals; employees are rated according to their contribution to their subset of those goals, and are often encouraged, through competencies or value-laden feedback mechanisms, to align their behaviour, and even their thoughts, to the leader’s will. This chapter will present case material that further explores the achievements and limitations of such organisational structures of control. We will argue that the role of operational, or first-line, as opposed to executive, leadership in any system of behavioural control is still largely undervalued, and that organisations tend to neglect the importance of questions of morality, fairness and justice in ensuring that performance management systems actually have the effect they are intended to have.

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