Academic Interview: Bård Kuvaas
In 2017, the Performance Magazine editorial team interviewed Bård Kuvaas, Professor – Department of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour at the BI Norwegian School of Management, Norway. His thoughts and views on Performance Management are detailed below.
”The main challenges of Performance Management in practice are due to the fact that the process is time consuming and that people haven’t focused enough on the development of performance.”
- Which were the 2016 key trends in Performance Management, from your point of view?
Last year’s key trends in Performance Management were centered around the adoption of a less (forced) ranking process, the acceptance of a less formal setting and the increase in feedback episodes.
- What are your thoughts on the integration of Performance Management at the organizational, departmental and employee level?
I would prefer not to answer this question as I do not have any particular thoughts on this matter.
- Which will be the major changes in managing performance, in the future?
I hope that some of the major changes in managing performance in the future will include: less predefined feedback sessions, feedback based on individual employee’s needs, less SMART goals and more purpose oriented goals, as well as more forward oriented performance discussions.
- What aspects of Performance Management should be explored more through research?
I would like researchers to pay more attention to and to spend more time researching the possible alternatives to the traditional Performance Management of today.
- Which organizations would you recommend to be looked at, due to their particular approach to managing performance, and their subsequent results?
I believe that the Southwest Airlines should be more closely analyzed, because of their many results in the field of Performance Management, and because of the fact that most of these results are a ‘reaction’ to the particular approach they have adopted.
- Which of the existing trends, topics or particular aspects within Performance Management have lost their relevance and/or importance, from your point of view?
I find that the past traditional Performance Management has not had any particular relevance, except perhaps for providing weak justifications for poor administrative decisions (e.g. for pay, promotion etc).
- Which are the main challenges of Performance Management in practice, today?
The main challenges of Performance Management in practice are due to the fact that the process is time consuming and that people haven’t focused enough on the development of performance. One other challenge I would like to mention is the conflict of interest between the administrative and developmental purpose.
- What should be improved in the use of Performance Management tools and processes?
I think that there are many things that need to be improved. A way to start would be to ask line managers and employees how useful they think the existing Performance Management system is in developing employee performance through surveys or focus groups.
- What would you consider as a best practice in Performance Management?
Some best practices in Performance Management can result from less predefined feedback sessions, feedback based on individual employee’s needs with respect to timing and constructive feedback, less SMART goals and more purpose oriented goals, as well as more forward oriented performance discussions.
- Which aspects of Performance Management should be emphasized during educational programs?
The aspects of Performance Management that need to be emphasized during educational programs are those aspects that are based on empirical research, rather than the typical normative aspects that don’t take basic research on employee motivation into account.
- What are the limits that prevent practitioners from achieving higher levels of proficiency in Performance Management?
Some practitioners might not be able to achieve higher levels of proficiency in Performance Management because of their uncritical copying of other organizations, and their lack of basic knowledge about organizational behavior and human (work) psychology.