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What Are “Rating Errors”?

Rating errors are mistakes in judgment that result from allowing extraneous factors to influence our decisions about the quality of someone’s job performance. For example, consider the guilt-by-association error: The employees that Samantha hangs around with are poor performers and have bad work habits. As a result, her boss rates Samantha’s performance low without taking into account the fact that, in spite of her poor taste in friends, the quality of her work is actually quite high. That’s a rating error.

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Besides the unusual rating error of guilt by association, there are ten more common rating errors that show up when managers complete performance appraisal on their subordinates. Figure provides a definition of each of these rating errors and an example of how it might show up in a performance appraisal.

To avoid rating errors, review the examples in Figure every time you complete a performance appraisal. If you have committed a rating error, probably just reviewing the list will be sufficient to make the error stand out.