Support Staff in Performance Management at School

Introduction

Background of the research

Human resource forms a very important part of any workforce. According to (Abdullah, Rose & Kumar, 2007), employees are the most important assert that any organization can ever have. Success of an organization always depends on the quality of the workforce. This research was focused on the support staff at Bessemer Grange primary school. Although the support staffs do not form part of the teaching staff, their effort within the organization will translate to the performance of the school. The support staffs play a pivotal role in ensuring that the school runs according to the program. It is therefore important that they give their best in all that their undertakings. Performance appraisal has become very popular in the recent past. Most of the institutions in various industries have come up with employees’ performance appraisal system where employees work is measured against the set objective. The main aim of this is to ensure that various tasks within an organization are accomplished within the desired time. Performance appraisal eliminates cases where various tasks will go unaccomplished because some individuals were reluctant in performing their duties.

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The world is changing very fast due to technological advancements, and with this are various changes in human resource management. As technology improves, tasks performed by human resource are continuously reducing. These tasks are now performed by machines. The shift from human intensive workplace to capital intensive workplace does not necessarily mean that human resource has lost its place in the workplace. As Alt and Lieberman (2010) puts it, human resource is indispensible, and the more the world gets sophisticated, the more there will be need to have human resource to manage the machines. However, this scholar appreciates that there has been a massive transformation from what human resource was and what it currently is in the contemporary society. For this reason therefore, there is every need to ensure that the human resource that is available gives the best quality in the activities assigned and that they meet the set targets.

The perception of performance management and appraisal among support staff is very important. According to Bahari (2009), performance management and appraisal is a system whose time has come. Human resource management cannot ignore this system if it plans to reap the best out of its workforce. However, it is also very important to shape the perception of the employees towards this system. When the employees have a negative impression towards performance appraisal system, the system may fail to achieve its goal because the employees will be demoralized. They will view the system as one that brings oppression to them. The targets set by the system for the employees will not be viewed as being beneficial both to the firm and the employees, but as a means to oppress them. They will get demoralized in their duties, and this may result in underperformance. As a result, the system may fail to achieve its intended goal. This research focuses on the perception of performance management and appraisal among support staff at Bessemer Grange primary school.

Problem Statement

The world is changing very fast, and with these changes come a number of changes in the human resource sector. According to Bolvako (2011), performance management and appraisal among staff is becoming an important tool through which human resource management can maximize the output and quality of the employees. This system has proven very effective in various firms and departments not only in this country, but also in many other firms across the world. It is therefore, a big concern that employees around the world is yet to embrace this system. Most of the trade unions around the world have come strongly against performance appraisal systems. They consider it a mechanism through which the management exploits them by overworking employees. They consider this system as a tool for oppression. As a result of this, they get demoralized the moment this system is implemented. This negatively impacts against the firm. When there is the negative perception of the employees towards the system, they will try as much as possible to ensure that the system fails. This research is therefore focused on analyzing the perception of performance management and appraisal among support staff at B.G primary school and how this perception affects them in their performance.

Justification of the Research

According to Bowden (2009), the perception of performance appraisal among the staff is very pivotal in the general success of the firm. As was stated above, employees are yet to appreciate the importance of performance appraisal as a tool to enhance their performance. This research is set to uncover some of the misconceptions and misgivings employees do have towards performance appraisal. This research is focused on uncovering and demystifying some of the myths that have been created about performance appraisal. This research will be conducted in B.G primary school because of the size of their support staff.

From this population, and from the secondary sources of information, the researcher hopes to investigate some of the fears the support staff of this school have towards performance management and appraisal. Through this research, the researcher hopes to investigate the cause of their fear, and how this shapes their perception towards this system. This research will be helpful not only to management units, but to the employees as well. To the management, this research will help in pointing some of the misconceptions employees do have towards performance management and appraisal. This way, it becomes easier for the management to address these issues first before implementing the system within the firm. This will minimize the possible rebellion that may come from the employees. To the employees, this research will help them understand the importance of performance appraisal in improving their performance and advancing their career.

Research Objectives

In a research process, it is always important to set clear goals that are to be achieved in order to have a clear focus on the research. Setting research objectives helps define the path of the research. It becomes easier to determine whether or not the expected results have been achieved by the end of the result or not, and the degree of the success. It helps determine the path the research should take in order to have the best results that would meet the expectations of all the stakeholders. The following are the objectives that the researcher seeks to achieve by the end of this research.

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  • To determine the perception of performance management and appraisal among the support staff at Bessemer Grange primary school.
  • To determine the understanding of performance management and appraisal among employees at Bessemer Grange primary school.
  • To examine how performance appraisal has been effective or otherwise within this institution.
  • To examine the extent to which the management of this institution and the support staff have come to embrace performance management and appraisal.

Research Question

According to Brown (2005), conducting a research is like taking a path to a place unknown. When a researcher sets forth to conduct a research on a particular topic, he or she may have a rough idea of what the ultimate result would be. However, it is always a big challenge to determine the ultimate result of the research. In every research, a research question always acts as the guideline to the researcher. In most of the occasions, a researcher will come across a lot of information, most of which may be interesting, but may be irrelevant to the research at hand. Research question therefore would therefore spell out the nature of resources that the researcher should look for the data. The following are some of the research questions that the researcher developed for this research.

  1. Do the support staffs understand the performance management and appraisal system?
  2. How does the appraisal process impact the support staffs’ motivation?
  3. Does the performance appraisal system enhance or hamper career development?
  4. What improvements do the support would like to see made in the performance management and appraisal system?

Importance of the Topic

Undertaking a research is a costly venture. A research needs to commit finance and dedicate time in order to come up with credible results from the research. According to the resource-based view of an organization, a competitive advantage can be achieved if the resources that enhance such advantage are rare, sustainable and non-imitable. Thus, an organization can achieve a competitive advantage if its culture conforms to the above criteria. Since the performance appraisal system used in an organization plays an integral role in determining the type and value of the organization’s culture, it is important that all employees understand and accept the appraisal process. Evaluating employees’ perception of the performance management and appraisal system will, thus, help in assessing the effectiveness of the appraisal system and how it can be improved.

The study’s topic is suitable for a master’s level research because its scope calls for extensive investigation of the research problem. The various aspects of the problem can only be investigated by employing a multi-dimensional approach, which allows the researcher to combine a variety of skills and theory in his study. Thus, it not only enables a master’s student to apply the knowledge gained in class, but also facilitates acquisition of practical research skills.

The research questions are underpinned by two academic issues namely, the expected quality of education and the staffs’ ability to deliver the expected quality. Even though the support staffs might not be directly involved in teaching, their contributions in the learning process enhance the performance of the students and the school as a whole. Thus, performance appraisal helps to determine the extent to which the support staffs contributes to achieving quality education at B.G Primary School.

Scopes of the Study

In every research, it is always very important to define the scope of the research. When an individual sets forth to conduct a research, there are always high expectations from various quarters, especially if the research is on a sensitive topic. It is important that one defines the scope of the research in order to regulate such expectations. Some expectations may not possibly be achieved by the research. By stating the scope of the research, the researcher will be defining the level beyond which the research may not hold considerable truth. In this research, the focus was on Bessemer Grange primary school. The choice of the support staffs at B.G primary school for this research was based on the fact that the school is large enough and has a considerable high number of the support staff. The school has various departments for the support staff, and it is easy to measure performance of the employees. The choice was also based on the fact that the school is near enough and therefore the cost of conducting the research will be reduced. This school is located in London. For this research to be applicable, the environment in which it is applied should have resemblance to the environment under the study. The research may therefore, not be applicable to an environment that is very different, both socially and economically, to that experienced in London.

Literature Review

Performance management and appraisal has attracted attention of many scholars. Although a relatively new system in human resource management, this tool has proven to be very effective, making it relevant to conduct research on how effective it is in increasing employee’s performance. Scholars agree that understanding the purpose of performance management helps in setting guidelines that facilitates the process of designing performance appraisal system that leads to better performance. According to Brown (2005), performance management and appraisal provides information on the effectiveness of an organization and its employees. For instance identifying the weaknesses of the support staffs in schools can help in developing training programs to improve their skills (AMA, 2003). Brown (2005) asserts that appropriate performance appraisal system can help in motivating employees. Besides, it enables an organization to “link employees’ pay with perceptions of their performance”. In general, employees whose performance is perceived to be high tend to demand higher pay.

Performance appraisal is considered a means through which teachers and support staff’s objectives are aligned to the goals of the school as a whole (Cadogan & Lee, 2009). Both the support staff and the teaching staff play a pivotal role in ensuring an overall success of an organization. Performance appraisal is therefore very important in ensuring that each individual employee delivers within the organization. An appropriate performance appraisal system should reveal the results of various program activities in schools and how the results support the school programs. Thus, performance management enables school authorities to identify programs that work and those that do not work. Accountability among support staffs in schools can be enhanced if the staffs have a clear understanding of the performance management process (Bryman, Bell & Teevan, 2009).

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The support staffs are likely to understand and appreciate the performance management process if there is effective communication among stakeholders in the schools. The management has a responsibility of ensuring that employees understand the need for performance management and appraisal. This communication is important because it helps dispel the feeling that performance appraisal is meant to oppress them. The communication should be made in a way that will ensure that employees understand that the system is meant to ensure that everyone within the firm is active. As Cheng (2010) says, this will make them feel that the system is meant to ensure to increase their productivity within the firm by eliminating cases where some members avoid their duties.

According to Decramer, Christiaen and Vanderstraeten (2008) an effective performance management system is characterized by the following features. First, the performance management system should be aligned to other systems and strategies of the organization or school. The system should be set to be in line with the overall objectives of the firm. Second, the leaders should be committed to the performance management process. Success in an organization starts with the management. Commitment of the employees will always be determine by the commitment of the employees. When the management is committed to undertaking their duties and implementing performance appraisal system, employees will feel that they have an obligation to adapt to this system. Third, there should be a culture that considers performance management a means of “identifying and improving good performance and not a burden that is used to chastise poor performers” (Bank Negara Malaysia, 2011). Finally, there should be involvement of all stakeholders, continuous monitoring, and evaluation of feedback as well as learning from results. When the employees understand these characteristics, the organization will be able to identify the desired change that will lead to better performance (Ch’ng, Chong & Nakesvari, 2010). This will result in an overall success of the firm within the industry.

According to Brown (2005), primary schools in England are provided with information about the meaning as well as the aim of the performance management process. Information on the objectives of performance management and how such objectives should be formulated is also provided to them. The impacts of performance management and appraisal on teachers and support staffs are well known to schools’ authorities (Cho, 2001). However, there is asymmetry of information about the various aspects of performance management among support staffs. One reason for the asymmetry of information is failure to involve the support staffs in the performance management process (Cohen, Manion & Morrison, 2007). The support staff should be actively involved in various activities within the firm. They should be made to feel part of the system and that they are valued within the firm. This will make them embrace the system, a fact that will result in an overall success of the firm. Coates (2006) says that involving employees in various policy developments within the firm will make them own the system. They will feel that they were responsible for the development of the system. This will make them feel that they have a responsibility in ensuring that the policies they develop works as appropriately as is planned.

Different employees always have different perception towards performance management and appraisal. According to Decramer, Christiaen and Vanderstraeten (2008) employees have mixed perceptions about the role of performance management. While some teaching and non-teaching staffs believe that performance appraisal improves their performance, others disagree. Employees who receive positive feedback about their performance tend to be highly motivated compared to their colleagues who receive negative feedback (Cohen, Manion & Morrison, 2010). Those who receive positive feedback will always strive to perform beyond their current capacity. They will feel that they have ability to go beyond their current limits. Those who receive negative feedback will be demoralized. They will feel that they lack the capacity to deliver a satisfactory work. They will develop a feeling that they lack the capacity to perform. Thus, the employees whose motivation is enhanced by the performance appraisal process perceive the process to be a means of enhancing productivity. Their perception towards performance appraisal will therefore be positive.

Performance appraisal system should be developed in a way that will motivate every employee within the organization. According to Evers (2011), employees are very important assets within a firm. Their role within an organization will always determine success or failure of the organization. This scholar appreciates the fact that in the contemporary world, there is an increasing need to audit activities of every individual employee. There is need to ensure that there is accountability in every department within an organization. This helps in minimizing cases where people shy away from duties that should always be performed by them. Performance appraisal is therefore, a very appropriate tool in auditing activities of every employee.

It is however, very important that employee understands the need to have the system. As Gary and Bryant (2008) notes, the management should start by ensuring that they have close relationship with the employees. The management should create an environment where there is a free communication between employees and the management (ISM, 2008). This would help develop trust within the organization. The employees will develop a feeling that the management cares for them, and that it cannot develop policies that are meant to frustrate them. This way, the management will always find it easy to express itself to the employees. It will be easy to inform them that there is a change in the management structure, and that a new system meant to increase their productivity is to be introduced. Golafshani (2003) says that this is the best way through which performance management and appraisal system can be introduced within an organization.

According to Hochschild (1983), before implementing performance appraisal within an organization, it is always important to understand the nature of the labor within the firm. Basically, this nature will be the determination of the level of education and gender of the employee. This scholar says that on the basis of gender, one should be very careful when introducing performance appraisal and management to women. Women often feel intimidated when they are told that their performance will be audited. As compared to men, women are always more reluctant to be ready to accept working under strict instruction, with clear deadlines to be achieved within a specific period of time. They always feel intimidated, and therefore tend to underperform than when allowed to work without strict instructions. However, this does not mean that performance management and appraisal cannot be applied on them.

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According to Homburg and Stock (2005), when dealing with women, the management should be clear on performance appraisal system. They should ensure that the female employees do not feel intimidated by the process. They should be made to understand that the process is meant to improve their efficiency and develop their careers. This way, they will feel comfortable when their activities are audited. The second group is the individuals with lower level of knowledge. Individuals who have advanced levels of learning will understand what performance appraisal are to an organization (ISM, 2008). They know that this system has been on practice in human resource management for sometime in various countries and in various industries. When they are informed that the system is to be applied within the institution, they will be comfortable with this fact.

On the other hand, when dealing with individuals whose level of education is minimal, care should be taken to ensure that they do not develop a misconception of the system. They should not be allowed to have a wrong impression of what this system is meant for within the organization. This starts with making them understand what performance appraisal means. As Heshisiues & Ballard (2006) says, chances can be that such an individual do not know what performance appraisal is. The management should start by first making the employees know what performance appraisal is. Then they should be made to know that this system does not mean that there will be increased supervision within the firm, and neither does it mean that there will be a drastic increase in tasks that employees will be assigned. The management will have to explain to them that what this means is that all employees will be expected to meet a certain target within the firm within a specified time (Decramer, Christiaen & Vanderstraeten, 2008).

This way, these employees will feel comfortable with this system. They will feel that the system supports the entire firm, and that it is meant to bring success and not frustration within the workforce. Done this way, Houghton (2001) says that perception of employees towards performance management and appraisal will be positive. This is the case with the support staff. According to Hong and Ismail (2011), majority of the support staff does not have advanced level of education as compared to the teaching staff. Cleaners, gardeners, messengers and cooks do not have advanced level of education that can make them understand performance appraisal and its importance within the firm.

Employees work well when they are motivated and made to work under their own supervision. According to Hong and Waheed (2011), motivation is one of the most important tools that can help management ensure that employees give their best when they are assigned to specific tasks. When motivated, employees will feel that they have a responsibility to perform assigned tasks to the best of their capacity. Depending on the perception created among the employees, performance appraisal can always be determined as a source of motivation or demonization amongst employees. Idrus (2011) says that when performance appraisal is considered as a way through which employees are given freedom to supervise themselves, and that the management will only follow up to determine their performance, employees will get motivated (ILO, 2007). However, when they are made to feel that this is a strict system where the management will have a close and very strict supervision of all the activities of the employees, then they may get demoralized. They may develop a feeling that the management does not trust them and that explains the need to have strict supervision.

This research is a social science research. It is always important to ensure that philosophical issues are taken into consideration. The philosophy of social-research describes the nature of knowledge or epistemology, causality, logic as well as understanding of the social world (Engel, Blackwell & Miniard, 1995). In the context of social research, the philosophy of science enables the researcher to explore the fundamental considerations underpinning the “nature of proof, evidence, causality and understanding of the knowledge about social life” (DHFS, 2011). The philosophy of social research further concerns itself with issues such as the place of ethics and values in knowledge. Thus, the philosophy provides a framework for choosing the appropriate approach to social research.

Justification for choosing certain Approaches for Social Research

The choice of the approach to adopt in social research is guided by six factors which include the following. The first factor is the research questions. The research questions define the exact problem that is being investigated (Erickcek, Houseman & Kalleberg, 2002). The problem being investigated, thus, determines the approach to be adopted. For instance, if the quantitative aspect of the problem is the focus of the study, a quantitative approach will be adopted. A qualitative approach on the other hand, will be adopted if the research questions focus on the qualitative aspects of the problem. The second factor is concerned with the scope or the scale of the study. In some cases the researcher might only be “interested in making standardized systematic comparisons” (Fleming & Søborg, 2010). However, in some cases, the researcher might be interested in conducting a detailed study of the phenomenon or situation. A qualitative approach for instance, adopts a holistic perspective of the phenomenon under study. It considers the phenomenon under study as a complex structure that is greater than its constituent parts. A quantitative approach on the other hand tends to focus on details such as cause and effects associated with the phenomenon under study (Ghani, Som & Rehman, 2011). Thus, the researcher will only choose the approach that is appropriate for the scope of his or her study.

The existing literature is the third factor that determines the approach to be adopted in social research. In most cases, researchers review the approaches adopted by previous researchers to study the research topic (Gima & Micheal, 1998). In this context, the extent to which the research wishes to align his study with the standard approaches associated with his topic will determine the choice of approach. The perceived standard approaches associated with a given topic will be adopted if the researcher believes that such approaches are effective. However, the researcher can adopt a different approach if he believes that the standard approaches are ineffective (Haron, Ismail & Razak, 2011). A different approach can also be adopted if the researcher believes that a different approach will facilitate comparison of his findings with those of other researchers.

Practical consideration is the fourth factor that determines the choice of approach in social research. The practical considerations include resources such as money, time and personnel (Healey & Prus, 2009). They also include technical issues such as the researcher’s familiarity with the research topic, access to data and samples. For instance, a quantitative approach will not be adopted if numerical data about the topic cannot be obtained. A qualitative approach on the other hand might not be effective if the researcher cannot reach the respondents in order to obtain primary data through interviews and focus group discussions. The fifth factor is the expected knowledge payoff (Ismail, Mohamed & Sulaiman, 2010). An approach that is likely to generate more useful knowledge will always be adopted. Finally, some researchers tend to have preference for one approach to others. This preference is attributed to paradigm as well as philosophical issues about the expected quality of social research.

Philosophical and Practical Rationale Underpinning Research

Positivism focuses on the importance of adopting a scientific method that is characterized with objectivity (Israel & Hay, 2006). In this case, the researcher concentrates in collecting facts and establishing the relationships among them. Besides, statistical techniques are often used to analyze quantitative data in order to obtain quantifiable conclusions that can be used for generalization. Positivism is, thus, related to quantitative approach which is mainly concerned with analyses of numerical data in order to arrive at conclusions (Johansson, 2008). The rationale of positivism is that it attempts to produce valid and empirical research findings.

According to interpretivism, facts are considered to be the outcome of human interactions (Kotler & Keller, 2006). Facts are generated through shared understandings as well as meanings, and such facts are unpredictable. Thus, interpretivists consider the “less or unquantifiable and subjective interpretations, reasoning and feelings of humans as the most relevant line of enquiry” (Kotler, 2003). Thus, interpretivism is related to the qualitative approach which focuses on human interpretations of social phenomenon. The rational of interpretivism is that it enables the researcher to gain a better insight on the qualitative aspect of the phenomenon.

Post-positivism is concerned with meanings as well as creation of knowledge that is able to change the world. Consequently, it considers research as a broad rather than a specialized subject (Kotler & Armstrong, 2006). It considers both theory and facts to be important in understanding a phenomenon. Thus, it is related to the mixed methodology approach which combines both quantitative and qualitative approaches. The rationale of post-positivism approach is that it enables the researcher to check the findings of one study against another (Krishnan, 2010). For example, findings of qualitative research can be checked against the findings of quantitative research. Besides, qualitative research always facilitates quantitative research and vice-versa.

Ethical Considerations

Social research is guided by ethical principles that define best practice in research. Any research work that does not conform to the standard ethical principles is, thus, considered unethical. Unethical research is not acceptable because it might be of low quality or it might lead to violation of the rights of the participants. Consequently, a researcher must identify the ways in which his study can raise ethical issues. Additionally, the researcher must find ways of dealing with the ethical issues that are likely to be raised by his study. The current study is likely to raise ethical issues in the following ways.

According to the principle of respect for persons, participants in social research “should be respected as autonomous agents” capable of making independent decisions. The independent decisions made by the participants should be respected by the researcher. Participants with diminished autonomy such as children should be given special considerations. Thus, the current study will be unethical if the targeted participants are forced to participate. It will also be unethical if information is obtained directly or indirectly from the participants without their permission. Additionally, using the information provided by the participants for any purpose other than that for which the participants have given consent will amount to unethical practice.

According to the principle of beneficence, the participants should not be harmed while participating in the study (Kheng, 2010). Thus, the current study will be unethical if it exposes the participants to harm. For example, misuse of information provided by the participants might amount to unnecessary inversion of their privacy. The principle of beneficence also asserts that, the research findings should provide tangible benefits to the concerned stakeholders and the society as a whole (Keller & Lehmann, 2006). Consequently, the current study will be unethical if it has no scientific merit. This can occur if the study fails to meet its objectives as outlined in the research questions.

The principle of “justice asserts that the benefits accruing from a research should be shared in a fair manner” (Keller, 2009). The distribution of the benefits should be guided by merit, the contributions of each person, and individual needs. Thus, the current study will be unethical if its benefits are not fairly distributed. This is based on the fact that the findings of a research can only be beneficial if they are made available to those who need them most.

How to deal with the Ethical Issues

In order to respect the participants as autonomous agents, the following steps will be taken. First, undue intrusion will be avoided by adopting appropriate research design (Israel & Hay, 2006). For example, interview questions will be properly structured to avoid asking irrelevant questions. The study will make more use of available secondary data, especially if informed consent had been granted. Collection of too much information will be avoided by selecting only the data that is relevant for the study. Adoption of a positive attitude will help to avoid harming the participants during data collection.

Second, informed consent will be obtained from the participants before any data is collected from them (Johansson, 2008). This will involve ensuring that participants are fully informed of their role in the study, the potential risk they might be exposed to and the limit of their participation in the study. The participants will be made aware of their right to withdraw from the study at any point. The permission of the participants will be sought if the information obtained from them is to be used for a different purpose other than that for which they had given consent.

In order to protect the participants from any harm, the following steps will be taken. The privacy of the participants will be protected by guaranteeing them confidentiality over the information provided (Ahmad, Basir & Kitchen, 2010). The participants will be assured that the identifying information given will not be accessed by unauthorized persons. Besides, access to information provided by the participants will be limited to the researcher only in order to prevent their misuse. The principle of anonymity will be adopted to ensure that the participants remain anonymous during the study (Alboreca, 1998). By ensuring that the conclusions of the study are backed by valid findings, the usefulness of the research will be enhanced. Objectivity will be upheld during the study. Besides, conflicting interests will be avoided in order to enhance the integrity of the findings. Professional integrity will be exercised without favor or even fear. Thus, producing misleading results will be avoided. Generating reliable findings will make the research beneficial to the society.

Finally, distribution of the research findings will be guided by the principle of justice (Jonesa, Buschb & Dacinc, 2003). The research findings will be made available to the relevant stakeholders such as the University’s library and interested participants.

Methodology

Introduction

This chapter focuses on various aspects of research development. It includes methods of data collection, its analysis and presentation procedures. Every research project applies a certain research method to achieve its objectives depending on its goals. The methods used to conduct research in this project compared closely with the methods proposed in the project proposal (Anderson, 2004). This was so because the project proposal had been proven to be workable. In research, design deals primarily with aims, uses, purposes, intentions, and plans within the practical constraints of time, location, money, and availability of staff (Hakim, 2000). In this study, respondents were briefed in advance. This was necessary to ensure that respondents were prepared psychologically for the task ahead. This would also help in ensuring that response was given in time to allow timely analysis.

The officials of the firm under the study were given relevant notice by the researcher. The study population was also amicably informed in order to get prepared for the study. Briefing was important because it could enhance reliability of the study. It is also ethical to inform people before researching on them (Badenhorst, 2007). The findings were also made public to the researched as one way of ensuring morality in the study. Furthermore, the researcher observed researcher-researched ethics by keeping away from criticism. This chapter also focuses on the literature review as one of the methods used in collection of secondary sources of information. It gives the reason why literature review was used as a method to collect data. The chapter gives an overview of the purpose of collecting and analyzing data and the basic questions used to gather the desired responses. Alternative methods of data collection are very important in research for they avail to the researcher a number of ways through which data can be collected.

The chapter brings back the research hypotheses. This is important because it is at this stage that the researcher goes into the field to gather information. It is therefore necessary that the research hypotheses are brought to focus because they would be the guiding light in the process of gathering data (Baily, 1996). The researcher would be trying to confirm the hypotheses. In order to eliminate criticism, this chapter clearly states the scope of the study. There are limits beyond which this research may not hold because of the method used in data collection and analysis. It is therefore important that limitations are clearly stated to make it clear to readers of this material how far this research reveals what it purports to.

Since the main method of data collection was primary source, the questionnaire was the main instrument used to collect data. This chapter brings out the questionnaire format, reasons for choosing this format, its advantages and disadvantages. In a research process, sampling is very important because certain population can be too big to facilitate a study of the whole population (Bell, 2001). This chapter discusses sampling theories, importance of research design, methods of sampling-giving their advantages and disadvantages, and the determination of the sample size. Also discussed in this chapter is the data analysis technique. In so doing, the researcher hopes to bring to focus the channel through which data would be collected. This is not only meant to bring clarity to this research but also help young researchers who will be interested in furthering research in this field to know the steps necessary to reach the desired results in a given research. The researcher has ensured that the methodology is not only important to the professionals in this sector, but also to other related sectors.

Purpose of collecting and analyzing data

From the literature review, the researcher gathered considerable amount of information about this field. Many of the reports that exist in this field are very resourceful as individuals of high integrity did them. The manner in which they were done also passes as good enough to be used in various aspects of research. However, this is a different research. It must be in a position to develop its own arguments based on data collected from primary sources. This does not rule out the importance of secondary sources of data.

To ensure originality in any research, there is need to use primary data. The purpose of collecting data was to help facilitate analysis that would lead to giving answers that are desired in this research (Pointer, 1991). The objective of this research was to respond to some of the questions that other scholars had not responded to through the existing literature. To be in a position to respond to these questions, there would be need to collect data. After successful collection of data, analysis would be very important. When taken from the field, data is considered raw and therefore cannot be of much help to the target audience. For this reason, it is important to analyze data to produce the desired result that would be useful to various individuals.

Role of literature review in data collection requirements

Literature review plays a vital role in data collection process. As noted above, research in this field has been going on for some time now. Every field of study has some relevant previous bodies of literature that other researchers had conducted before. This information is very important to a researcher. As Wisker (2008) observes, in the process of gathering data, the first source that any researcher should not assume is the secondary sources of information. It is important to note that the studies were done after careful collection and analysis of relevant data. When taking literature review as part of the sources of data, it is important to note that they are secondary sources. Unlike the data that would be collected from the fields which is raw, literature provides data that is already processed.

According to Wickham (1999), literature review plays an important role in determining how data collection would be done. Because the bodies of literature provide information that is already synthesized, and with clear steps that were taken to reach the results, the researcher may consider taking an approach used by one of the researchers that may lead to generation of required answers. Alternatively, the researcher may consider integrating a number of methods employed by different previous researchers to come up with his or her own technique that incorporates all the desirable concepts used by the available literature. According to Kothari (2004), a good research project should not purport to be basing its arguments from the scratch. It is important that a researcher engages closely with the works of previous researchers from an early stage of data collection. With this, the researcher would be informing the consumers of this document that there was an effort from the earliest stage of the dissertation that closely compares the works of other researchers, and how they relate to the current research. This would not only enhance the validity of the report, but also demonstrate that the research seeks to develop the works of previous researches (Pointer, 1991).

Quantitative research method

Quantitative research is a kind of study that utilizes figures to arrive at certain conclusions (Hakim, 2000). In this regard, the research will take the form of a survey, whereby the researcher identifies the sample and posts questionnaires to them. In this research, there was need to compare the relationship between variables in order to establish cause and effect. The researcher was interested in knowing the perception of performance management and appraisal among support staff at Bessemer Grange primary school. This demanded for a method that would be objective and able statistically to generalize the findings. Quantitative method was found to be the most appropriate method to use in this research.

Quantitative research involves systematic empirical study of a phenomenon by use of statistical tools. Its main objective is always to employ mathematical theories and models in developing its generalization (Anderson, 2004). Therefore, quantitative method would help in this research. It would enable the researcher test the hypotheses put forth for validity and allow the use of a sample as a representation of the entire population. It would help the researcher to the perception of employees towards performance appraisal affects their productivity within the firm under study. It would unearth the role of performance management and appraisal system at B.G primary school. It is a fact that organizational readiness for change is always dictated by employees’ readiness for change. Quantitative research will therefore help in determining the degree to which employees would be willing to change in they are exposed to performance management and appraisal.

Although qualitative methods was traditionally used in social science and would be appropriate in this research, it is not able to give empirical support for research hypothesis. Qualitative methods explain why a given pattern of events has taken place the way they have (Vogt, 2007). On the other hand, quantitative methods explains what and when of a phenomena. Ethnographic research and phenomenology as approaches of qualitative research would have been appropriate. Ethnography would help in investigation of culture of the British society, and within our firm under study in specific (Denzin & Lincoln 2011). Phenomenology would have helped investigate realities of the firm; and how it affected its operation. However, because the process may not empirically support the hypotheses put forward to help guide the research, it was not emphasized in this research. Due to these reasons qualitative method was minimally employed in the research and the researcher opted for quantitative research.

Scope of Data Collection

Primary data for this research was collected from the support staff of the firm under the study, in its London branch. This data was collected with the help of a questionnaire. The scope of data collection was limited to the support staff. This was because of the time that was available for the research. Because most of the employees were British nationals, they clearly understood the social structure of the British society and therefore, were in a position to respond appropriately to questions regarding this society. They also understood how this affected the performance of the firm under the study. The level of accuracy needed in this research would be achieved within this scope. Secondary data was gathered from existing literature about performance management and appraisal in the United Kingdom as a country, and how it is applied in the firm under the study, as our specific field of study.

Format for the questionnaire

Questionnaire design

There were two key methods used to gather information in this dissertation. The first one was through a questionnaire, which was physically delivered to the staff of the firm under our study at its facility in London. This questionnaire is attached to this document at the appendix section (Appendix I). The questionnaire sought to capture various attitudes of support staff members of the firm under the study regarding their opinions on the performance management and appraisal in the firm within which they work. The second source of information used for the research was literature on various aspects of performance management and appraisal. The focus of the literature review was to find information on the application of motivation techniques within the workplace and also to determine the current state of research in relation to the topic. The questionnaire had four parts.

The first part sought to capture the background information of respondents. The second part dealt with the demography and gender of the respondents. This was to ascertain the prevalence of views in various categories in order to ensure that if any differences came about, then they would be captured in their demographic space. The third part dealt with academic credentials and work experience of the respondents. The motivation for this section came from the understanding that different sections of population respond differently to issues, based on age and academic credentials. The fourth part delved into the specific issues relating to the firm under the study as an institution under our investigation, starting from the understanding of the concept of performance management and appraisal, and how it has been relevant in changing the perception of employees towards positive change within an organization.

The questionnaire also employed a mix of open and closed ended questions to capture different aspects of issues studied. Open ended questions were used because they give respondents more time to figure out their opinions, which would make them volunteer more information related to feelings, outlooks and comprehension of the subject (Murray, 2006). This would allow a researcher to understand the position of respondents as regards to feelings.

Open ended questions minimize some errors that could have been created in the course of research. Respondents rarely forget answers if given an opportunity to respond freely. Furthermore, respondents cannot ignore some questions because they must go through all of them. Open ended questions generate data that can be used in data analysis by other researchers. In other words, they allow secondary data analysis. On the other hand, closed-ended questions are analyzed easily. That is why they were used in this study (Taylor, 2005).

Each response can be coded for statistical interpretation. Nonetheless, closed-ended questions are compatible with computer analysis package. The technique is more specific meaning that its answers are consistent in all conditions. This aspect is impossible with open-ended questions because each respondent is allowed to use his or her own words. Finally, closed-ended questions take less time to administer unlike open-ended questions, which are detailed hence time consuming.

The questionnaire was sent to respondents using drop and pick method. The researcher arrived at this decision after considering time and resources. The method is time consuming, but very effective. Furthermore, the method allows respondents to reflect on the questions and answer them accurately (Andrzej, & Buchaman, 2007).

Moreover, the method is not affected by the respondent’s level of literacy. One big advantage of the technique is that there is interaction between the researcher and the researched. This means that respondent’s reactions are easily captured. Reactions are important because they give more information regarding the feelings of respondents.

The literature collected provided information regarding various theories related to performance management and appraisal, which is spread across the last century. The body of literature availed a number of theories dealing with sampling and sample designs in the business world and performance issues in the context of human resource development in this industry.

The firm under the study fits well within this parameter. Finally, the literature provided information on the state of research on the field. Various researchers have conducted studies on various elements of performance appraisal and its effects on motivation (Kumar, 2004). This gave the study a sound academic backing and a strong basis for drawing comparisons and conclusions.

The use of the questionnaire made it possible to capture issues that are unique to this school. This is because there was no accessible literature with required degree of relevance to the subject matter of this school, in its facility in London. The targeted staff responded to the questionnaires, which were physically delivered to them. The availability of staff influenced the choice of this method because this firm operates throughout the day and therefore it is not possible at any one time to find all of them in one place. Physical delivery of the questionnaire increased the accuracy of data collected as there was interactivity (Leedy, 2010). After collection, the data went through analysis, culminating the observations and conclusions discussed in chapter four and five respectively.

Sampling method used for this survey

There are some factors that should be put into consideration when choosing the right method of sampling in any given research project. In this research, precision was needed. The best method that would lead to the desired results was simple random sampling (Calabrese, 2006). As stated above, this method is simple to use and it is appropriate when one intends to use data quantitatively. The researcher settled on this method because the research population had a general similarity, and therefore, there was no need to classify them into subgroups. Every member of the sample was to be given equal opportunity to participate in the research. Simple random sampling was appropriate because it eliminated all forms of bias in the sample selection process.

Reasons for choosing the sampling method

In this dissertation, the researcher had a clearly defined study population. The population of the study was limited to employees of the firm under the study in its facility in London. Simple random sampling method was the best choice, as it would appropriately fit in our quantitative research. This method was also appropriate because it would enable the researcher get the data within the limited time that was available (Cramer, 2003). As this research is intended to help other researchers, this method allowed the researcher to express and explain the systematic method used in data collection. Because it does not involve complex mathematical equations, it was much easier to articulate the steps to anyone consuming the paper.

Determination of the sample size

As stated above, in a study, there is always a need to have a sample population. This population will be a representative of the entire population. The selection of this sample must therefore be designed in a way that would give the expected results. Generally, there are two constraints that would help in the determination of the sample size: time and financial resources (Hughes, 1997). Time is very important in determining the sample size. If a researcher has a lot of time to conduct the research, it would be appropriate to consider using a larger sample size. However, in case the time available for the same is limited, then the researcher would be forced to limit the sample size to be in a position to conduct the entire research process successfully. Another constrain is the available finance for the research (Krathwohl, 2004). The process of collecting data and its subsequent analysis can be very expensive. For this reason, a researcher would determine the sample size based on the available finance. In this research the sample size was chosen based on the two constrains given above and the five factors stated below.

Besides the above general constrains, five other factors should be considered when choosing sample size. The factors are as stated below:

  1. The variability of the population under study: There are instances where the items under study exhibit differences in characteristics, making it very difficult to choose a representative sample. Barzun (2004) explains that in cases where the study population does not exhibit serious difference in characteristic, it would be recommended that a researcher use a smaller sample as a representative of the entire population. However, if the study exhibits many differences, then it would be appropriate to use a larger sample as a representative. The researcher would be forced to look for all the varying attributes and include each of them in the sample (Taylor, 2005). In this research, it was noted that there was no big difference in character of the people under the study.
  2. Confidence level: In every research, there is a given level of confidence desired of any research. Hoyle (2002) asserts that this precision will determine the sample size to be used in the study. In most researches, a confidence level 95 per cent is always recommended. Depending on the sensitivity on the issue under investigation, the percentage can be more or less than this standard value. In this research, it was necessary to produce a report that has standard level of precision. The sample population chosen was able to provide this.
  3. Margin of error: When a sample is taken to be a representative of the population, the result would not always be an exact value. There will always be a variation between the actual value of the population, and the value given by the sample. The aim of every researcher is to ensure that the difference between the actual value of the population and the value given by the sample taken are as close as possible. The larger the sample size, the smaller the gap between the value of the population and that of the sample (Baily, 1994). By taking into consideration all constrains, a researcher would determine the sample size that would give a value close enough to the value of the population. Employees of the firm under the study gave closely related answers, depending on their gender. The researcher was therefore convinced that the sample size chosen would produce a value that has minimal difference with the value of the population.
  4. Population proportion: When a researcher sets to conduct a study in a given field, there are always characteristics that would be considered desirable for the research. According to Bak (2004), not all items in the population have the desirable characteristics that would enable success in the research. The researcher would hence be tasked with the duty of determining the proportion of the population that has characteristics that are desired in the study. This may not be easy because it may demand interaction between the researcher and the entire population of the study to determine the proportion with the desired attributes. It may be costly in terms of time and other resources. In this research, it was easier to determine the population proportion that would provide the desirable results for the study.
  5. Population size: The total number of items in the study would always determine the sample size. Bouma (2000) says that it is always desirable to have a sample size that would properly represent the population. A large population would demand for a larger sample size, and vice versa. In social science, it is always recommended that the sample size be about five percent of the population. This percentage would be higher if the population is smaller. Conversely, it would be smaller if the population were too large (Goddard, 2001). The population for this study includes all the 300 employees of the firm under the study in London, but only 50 were engaged in the data collection.

Methods of data analysis

Data analysis refers to the process of transforming raw data into refined useful information that can be of use to people. Glatthorn (2005) advises that before settling on a method of data analysis, it is important to the approach to be taken by the research. The research can take quantitative, qualitative or categorical approach. This research took a quantitative approach. Depending on the type and accuracy needed, data analysis can take a simple descriptive form, or a more complex statistical inferencing (Creswell, 2009). The technique used in the analysis can be univariate analysis, bivariate analysis or multivariate analysis. In selecting the appropriate method, a researcher should ensure that assumptions relating to the method are satisfied (Dunleavy, 2003).

In relation to the quantitative analysis, Miller (1991) argued that the most commonly used sets of statistics include mean, frequencies, standard deviation, median and percentages. The researcher will code and enter the quantitative data into Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS version 20). Using SPSS, the researcher will use cross tabulation to present the information. The tabulation would help give a clear picture of the perception of performance management and appraisal among the support staff in the institution under study. The researcher will also use descriptive statistics such as mean, standard deviation, percentage and frequencies to describe the properties of the target population. Further, the researcher will use tables, figures, and charts to present the findings of the study. Correlation analysis would be important to make this a success. Inferential statistics like chi-square tests help to test whether the observed relationships between the variables are genuine or due to chance. The statistical significance level used in the research is 0.05 indicating whether the observed association occurred by chance in 5 out of 100 results (Rowntree 1991). Chi-square is the most widely used measure of association in social science research, being suitable for use on nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio data (Walsh 1990).

Reliability and validity of the method

Validity means appropriateness, applicability and truthfulness of a study. It is the ability of research instruments to produce results that are in agreement with theoretical and conceptual values (Tanke 2000). In this study, internal validity was ensured through checking the representativeness of the sample. The researcher ensured that the sample used captured all important characters at the firm under the study as the target institution, and the British society, especially the society in and around London city, as the immediate environment of our study. During data collection process and in analysis, the researcher steered away from any form of bias. All the respondents were picked randomly, without any preference. Moreover, the response received from the employees of the firm under the study, and other stakeholders were assigned a similar weight, depending on their category. This ensured that data which was collected was not in any way, influenced by the opinion of the researcher.

External validity was ensured through triangulation that is, the researcher used more than one technique in collecting data. This was necessary to ensure that bias from one end is countered effectively by other techniques. As Delving (2006) says, respondents are human beings with weaknesses when it comes to giving views freely. They would always exaggerate or underrate things when they make statements. Working with this in mind, the researcher designed a formula to moderate data gathered from the field to balance off the two extremes. The researcher found literature review to be very important in this part because the opinions they have are already moderated. External validity was also guaranteed by asking respondents to give their views. This would give them freedom of some sort, to provide information based on their own experience and views.

Reliability means that the study is consistent and lacks any ambiguity. It is the ability to trust something to provide information that addresses the issue at hand. Dane (1990) explains that it is related to the accuracy of instruments that is, how accurate the measuring device is in measuring what it claims to measure. In this study, it was achieved through increasing verifiability of the perspective and using statistical tools to verify reliability. The researcher adopted the principles of coherence, openness and discourse in order to guarantee reliability.

Data Analysis

Introduction

Chapter 3 discussed the methodology of this dissertation. In the methodology section, the researcher outlined the steps taken during data collection. It was made clear that data was collected through questionnaires, which were distributed, to the support staff of Bessemer Grange primary school. In total, the researcher distributed 50 questionnaires to the employees. Although both the teaching staff and the support staff’s responses were equally necessary in drawing conclusion, support staffs were given focus in this research because they were constantly in touch with the management, and therefore were in a position to provide more information concerning performance management and appraisal.

In the previous chapter, the researcher briefly explained the purpose of data analysis, which this chapter seeks to achieve. The preceding chapter also talked about the role of literature review. This chapter will involve analysis of the primary data. As explained in the preceding chapter, this research used quantitative research methods. Quantitative research involves systematic empirical study of a phenomenon by use of statistical tools. Its main objective is always to employ mathematical theories and models in developing its generalization. As explained above, the researcher took a sample of the total population. This sample was used as a representative of the entire population, and it is the data collected from the sample that the researcher wishes to analyze in this chapter.

Data analysis refers to the process of transforming raw data into refined useful information that can be of use to people. It is through the analysis that the researcher would be in a position to confirm or refute the hypotheses developed in previous chapters. A research’s success would be determined by how well the analysis is conducted. As explained elaborately in the previous chapter, depending on the type and accuracy needed, data analysis can take a simple descriptive form, or a more complex statistical inference. The researcher can also choose to take univariate, bivariate or multivariate approach to data analysis. In so doing, it is very important that the researcher ensure that the assumptions relating to the method are met. In analyzing data, a researcher should choose the best statistical tool that would best lead to the desired answer.

This would enable tabulation; it will be easy to determine the perception of the support staff towards performance management and appraisal (Poole, 2004). The result would then be presented in tables, figures, and charts. This chapter would thus focus on analyzing the data collected and testing the research hypotheses. It would also answer the research questions that were developed along with the hypotheses. The next chapter would then draw conclusions from the results found in this chapter. It would closely compare the findings of this research to those of existing bodies of literature to determine the variation and the implication of this variation.

Chapter objectives this chapter

This chapter is concerned with the analysis of the primary data. The primary data was collected from the support staff at B.G primary school. The following are the specific objectives of the chapter.

This chapter seeks to ascertain the truth behind the four hypotheses developed in the research proposal. Upon completion of this chapter, the following hypotheses would be confirmed or would be nullified through a comprehensive data analysis.

H1o. There is no direct relationship between performance appraisal and employees performance within a given firm.

This is the first and the fundamental hypothesis that brought the need to conduct the research. This research seeks to determine the relationship between performance appraisal and employees’ performance. If confirmed to be true, it would render this research not necessary.

H1a. There is direct relationship between performance appraisal and employees performance within a given firm.

This is the alternative hypothesis to the above hypothesis. This research hopes to confirm it, as it would necessitate further research to determine the extent of this relationship and reasons for it.

H2o. Performance appraisal is not closely related to the motivation of employees within the firm.

Employee motivation is a sign of better performance. If the above hypothesis were confirmed to be true, then it would be confirming the first null hypothesis above.

H2a. Performance appraisal is closely related to the motivation of employees within the firm.

Confirming this hypothesis would be confirming the first alternative hypothesis above. It would call for further research to determine reasons for this.

H3o. The possibility of employees’ career development does not heavily depend on the ability of the management to develop a well thought out performance management and appraisal.

Employees’ career development is directly related to growth and prosperity of a business unit. Confirming the above hypothesis would substantiate the first null hypothesis of this research.

H3a. The possibility of employees’ career development does heavily depend on the ability a well thought out performance management and appraisal.

Confirming this hypothesis would be a validation to the first alternative hypothesis of this research. It would necessitate further research.

H4o. The ability of the management to successfully implement performance management and appraisal system does not depend on their closeness to the employees.

Through education, employees are always better positioned to serve customers (Gusti, 2011). If the above hypothesis were confirmed, then this would be a justification of the first null hypothesis of this research.

H4a. The ability of the management to successfully implement performance management and appraisal system does depend on their closeness to the employees.

This hypothesis would be justifying the first alternative hypothesis of this research. Of interest would be to determine the reason behind this and the effect created by it.

This chapter also seeks to answer the following research questions developed in the research proposal and the first chapter of this research. The questions are as below:

Do the support staffs understand the performance management appraisal system?

This question was meant to determine the level of understanding of performance management appraisal among employees. By responding to this question, an avenue for research would be opened to investigate the general understanding of performance appraisal among employees.

Does the performance appraisal system enhance or hamper career development?

This question was meant to bring to focus the impact of performance appraisal system on career development of the employees. As the research would be investigating the experience employees have had with performance appraisal as posted in the above question, of interest would also be the conduct of employees. This way, it would be possible to compare the two variables and determine the relationship between them.

Assumptions

In any research, there is always the need to hold some assumptions. In pure science research, the researchers would always hold some factors constant. This would enable them conduct the research under different conditions before coming up with a solid report. However, social science comes with one main complication. Social science deals with people. Unlike the specimen used by pure scientists that can be manipulated to suite the need of the research in the laboratory, it is practically impossible to manipulate human beings. For this reason therefore, it would force social scientist to study human being under its normal characteristics. Because research may require some special conditions, which the researcher may not be able to create, it would force the researcher to make some assumptions that would fit the desired conditions.

In this research, there are some assumptions, which were made specifically to suit various conditions that the researcher considered necessary. Some of these assumptions include the following.

  1. The leadership of United Kingdom is guided by common law as stipulated in the country’s constitution.

The researcher developed this assumption after realizing the strong influence the government has towards the normal operation of business institutions. When conducting a research therefore, it would be wise to develop an assumption that would relate to the leadership of the country. Being a secular state, the above aspect about the government was considered appropriate.

  1. The labor laws that govern industrial practices within this country clearly define the relationship that exists between employer and employees.

One of the most important aspects of the external environment is the legal front. No firm can operate in an environment that is not keenly guided by law. The British society is guided by various principles of law found in the English common law and it would be appropriate to include this aspect in developing the research findings.

  1. The management of Bessemer Grange primary school introduced performance appraisal system due to the growing relevance of the system in the labor market.

This assumption was developed due to the strong desire to determine reasons behind the introduction of the system within the firm. To avoid speculation in this study, the researcher developed this assumption as a guiding light in finding reasons for the hypothesis that relates to this assumption

  1. The management of Bessemer Grange decided to use performance management ad appraisal system because it believed that the approach was very effective.

This study focused on the perception of employees towards performance appraisal system among employees at B.G primary school. It was of interest therefore, to determine the role of the management in this. This assumption was meant to justify the fact that if there was misdemeanor on the side of the support staff, then the management felt that there was a need to fix it.

Significance level

After the researcher has set the hypothesis, he or she would proceed to test validity of null hypothesis (H0) against that of alternative hypothesis (Ha) at a specified level of significance. This significance level is always given as a percentage. The significance level adopted would determine the confidence with which an experiment rejects or accepts a null hypothesis. At 5 percent significance level, it means that the research is 95 percent accurate. If the significance level is considerably large (say at 50 percent), the accuracy of the results is reduced. At 50 percent, it would imply that chances that the results of the research are inaccurate are just as much as chances that it is true. Such a result cannot therefore be relied upon.

In this study, the researcher adopted 5 per cent as the level of significance for this study.

  1. Two tailed test.

While testing hypothesis, the researcher can choose the two tailed or one tailed approach. The two-tailed approach would reject the null hypothesis in case the sample statistics is significantly lower or higher than the population parameter that was hypothesized. The researcher adopted the two-tailed test because of the need to reject the null hypothesis.

The research questions and hypotheses’ data

Analysis of research questions

Conducting a research is like setting on a journey whose destination is not very clear to the traveler. Research is a path whose destination is unknown. However, it is important to note that despite this, there should be a proper plan on how the research would be conducted. A guide should be developed that would help in reaching the desired result in the research process. In a research, research questions and hypotheses are very important guides in developing a desired solution from the field. Hypotheses would always be developed from the research questions. Those hypotheses are always possible response to the research question.

The research questions are the core of any research process. In case it is poorly developed, the entire research process would lose focus and the possible result that may come out of the research may not hold any meaningful truth. The researcher would be seeking answer to these questions.

Having taken the above considerations, the researcher developed questions below. The two main questions were purposely set to meet the above concern raised about performance appraisal within Bessemer Grange primary school. This study seeks to gather and analyze data that would help explain the relevance of performance appraisal among employees. It does not seek to find reasons why the British society of lives the way it does. However, the researcher is conscious of the fact that the British society has direct effect on the performance and policies developed by the institutions within the country. The questions were thus set to reflect this. The following two questions were formulated. Having confirmed from the literature review that there is a considerable difference between employees who understand what performance appraisal is and those who do not, the researcher developed this question to bring to focus, the effect of implementing the system among those who have little or no understanding of the system.

Do the support staffs understand the performance management appraisal system?

This question was very critical to this research. It would help explain the relationship between the behavior of the support staff and their motivation when performance appraisal system is applied. The researcher was keen never to deviate from the research topic. Although the researcher appreciated that the culture and social structure of Britain is rich and worth reporting on, this research was limited to the concerns of the performance appraisal among employees.

This question was reflected on the questionnaire that was sent to the employees. The result was entered into the SPSS sheet and the data on the table below was found. From the data, it was evident that of the 50 respondents, 44 of them stated that they were aware of performance appraisal system. 87.5 percent of the respondents strongly believe that they have very strong understanding of what employee performance appraisal is, and how it affects them within the firm. In the study, 12.5 percent felt otherwise. The accompanying pie chart demonstrates this.

Do you understand performance appraisal system?

Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent
Yes 44 87.5 87.5
No 6 12.5 100.0
Total 50 100.0
Do you understand performance appraisal system?
Source: Analysis of survey data.

The next research question was developed to know how the support staffs felt concerning the effect of performance appraisal on their career.

Does the performance appraisal system enhance or hamper career development?

Based on a scale of 1-5, where one is very poor and 5 is very good, below is how the support staff responded to the above question.

Impact of performance appraisal on career development

Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent
Very poor 1 3.0 3.0
Poor 10 30.3 33.3
Average 10 30.3 63.6
Good 8 24.2 87.9
Very good 4 12.1 100.0
Total 33 100.0
Impact of performance appraisal on career development
Source: Analysis of survey data.

As shown in the output above, most of the respondents felt that the impact of performance appraisal to their career development was fair. 29 percent of the respondents felt that the impact was good, while 8.8 percent felt that the impact was very good.

The questionnaire also focused on the experience of the employees based on gender. In order to test whether there is a significant difference in the experience of female employees of Bessemer Grange primary school in London by virtue of their gender, a chi-square of equal proportions was applied using SPSS. Table 3 below shows the findings.

Table 3. Source: Analysis of survey data.

How was the experience
Gender Observed N Expected N Residual
Female Poor 2 12.5 -10.5
Fair 7 12.5 -5.5
Good 29 12.5 16.5
Excellent 12 12.5 -.5
Total 50
Table 4. Test Statistics.
Gender How was the experience
Female Chi-square 33.040b
df 3
Asymp. Sig. .000

Source: Analysis of survey data.

From Table 4 above, it can be observed that the value of the chi square statistic is 33.040 and its corresponding p value is 0.000<0.05. Since the p value is less than 0.05, it can be concluded that there is a significant difference in the experience of female employees of Bessemer Grange, by virtue of their gender. It shows that female employees felt more uneasy towards performance appraisal within the firm. They feared that they might fail to deliver when the system is implemented. This reduced their performance within the firm.

Testing the research hypotheses

Every research in social science attempts to prove that specific phenomena occurred for specific reasons. Conducting a research is like a walk in the desert without a guiding map to show clear directions that should be taken in order to reach the desired direction. Care should be taken by every researcher when conducting a research to ensure that he or she does not wonder off the focus of the study just by the sheer wonder of the research in question. A path should clearly be set, upon which the research would take on reaching the desired solution.

Research hypotheses always provide solution to this. Hypothesis is a proposition made by the researcher about the research upon which the research would try to determine if it is true or otherwise. It is kind of a proposal or a guess that the findings of a particular research would be in a particular way. A research would always have two hypotheses for every single desired result. There is always the null hypothesis and alternate hypothesis. The null hypothesis would always refute the claim by saying that the proposition does not hold. On the other hand, alternative hypothesis would always try to affirm that the proposition set by the researcher holds. A test would always be conducted on the null hypothesis with an aim of rejecting it. By rejecting a null hypothesis, the research would be accepting the alternative hypothesis. It is always every researchers desire to reject a null hypothesis because when a research accepts a null hypothesis, it would render the whole research unnecessary. It would be rejecting the proposition made by the researcher, a fact that would render the research null and void.

In analyzing the research hypotheses, the researcher would always set the significance level, always expressed as a percentage. This percentage would be the limit within which the researcher would accept a null hypothesis. If the limit were surpassed, it would be said that there is significant difference and therefore a null hypothesis is rejected. Setting the percentage too high would be increasing the chances of confirming a given hypothesis, but it would reduce the accuracy of the research. Setting this percentage too low would increase chances of rejecting the hypothesis and increases chances of accuracy. In most of the social sciences research, 5 percent is always acceptable as the standard significance level. As earlier stated in the assumptions above, this study takes 5 percent as its significance level.

The researcher would test this hypothesis by analyzing the data gathered from the support staff. In total, there were 50 respondents.

Below are the four null hypotheses that the researcher wishes to test and reject in order to accept the alternative hypothesis, which would help in validating this research:

H1o. There is no direct relationship between performance appraisal and employees performance within a given firm.

This is the main hypothesis of this research whose rejection would validate the need for this research. By accepting this hypothesis, it would be a clear sign that the research confirms that there is no significant relationship between performance appraisal and employees performance within the firm. The researcher wishes to reject this hypothesis.

It can be observed from the table and the pie chart below that 91.7% of the employees felt that there was close relationship between performance appraisal and employee’s performance within a firm. In the study, 91.7% stated that their performance was affected in one way or the other, with implementation of performance appraisal system. Only 8.3% stated that they are not affected by the performance appraisal system.

Is there any relationship between performance appraisal and your performance within the workplace?

Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent
Yes 46 91.7 91.7
No 4 8.3 100.0
Total 50 100.0

Graphical presentation.

Is there any relationship between performance appraisal and your performance within the workplace?
Source: Analysis of survey data.

This leaves the researcher with the alternative hypothesis, which states as below.

H1a. There is no direct relationship between performance appraisal and employees performance within a given firm.

Upon rejection of the above null hypothesis, its alternate hypothesis would automatically be accepted. The null hypothesis has been rejected by a wide margin. The researcher has therefore proved, from the data gathered from the population sample that there is direct relationship between performance appraisal and employees performance within a firm. Having confirmed this hypothesis by a wide margin, the researcher consequently confirms that there is need to conduct the research that seeks to investigate perception of performance management and appraisal system among employees, with focus on the support staff at Bessemer Grange primary school. This opens door for the researcher to test other supportive hypotheses, which would further help in confirming this hypothesis.

The next hypothesis was formulated to determine if there was relationship between the performance appraisal and employees motivation based on gender of the respondents.

H2o. Performance appraisal is not closely related to the motivation of employees within the firm.

From the graph below, it can be observed that 67.5% of the male employees’ performance appraisal was good for their motivation, while 76.4% of the female employees stated that performance appraisal had a fair impact to their motivation. This means that men feel more comfortable with performance appraisal than female employees.

Bar Chart
Figure 6. Source: Developed from the findings of this research.

In order to test whether there is a significant relationship between performance appraisal and employees’ motivation, chi-square for equal proportions was applied using SPSS and the findings are shown in Table 8 below.

Table 8. Source: Analysis of survey data.

Performance appraisal and motivation
Observed N Expected N Residual
Poor 2 70.3 -54.3
Fair 25 70.3 70.8
Good 20 70.3 38.8
Very good 3 70.3 -55.3
Total 50

Table 9. Source: Analysis of survey data.

Test Statistics
Level of motivation as an employee of the firm
Chi-square 177.975a
df 3
Asymp. Sig. .000
a. 0 cells (.0%) have expected frequencies less than 5. The minimum expected cell frequency is 70.3.

From Table 9 above, it can be observed that the value of the chi square statistic is 177.975 and its corresponding p value is 0.000<0.05. Since the p value is less than 0.05, the null hypothesis can be rejected and hence concluded that performance appraisal is closely related to the motivation of employees within the firm.

H2a. Performance appraisal is closely related to the motivation of employees within the firm.

By rejecting the null hypothesis above, the alternate hypothesis would be accepted. It therefore comes out very strongly that a close relationship between performance appraisal and motivation of employees, especially among those who have understanding of the need for performance appraisal. As was previously hinted in the review of literatures in chapter two, it is now clear that the management has a role in the motivation of their support staff.

The hypothesis below was developed to ascertain the difference role of performance management and appraisal in the development of employees’ career.

H3o. The possibility of employees’ career development does not heavily depend on the ability of the management to develop a well thought out performance management and appraisal.

To help in testing the above hypothesis, the researcher used the results from the respondents. The research covered 50 respondents of this school at its facility in London.

The researcher conducted a correlation analysis using the SPSS and the output below was generated.

Correlations

Employee career development depends on performance appraisal How does this system influence possibility of career development
Employee career development depends on performance appraisal Pearson Correlation 1 -.013
Sig. (2-tailed) . .943
N 34 34
How does this system influence possibility of career development Pearson Correlation -.013 1
Sig. (2-tailed) .943 .
N 34 34

Source: Analysis of survey data

Using Pearson Correlation analysis, the data above demonstrates that the possibility of proper career development among employees may depend on how well structured the performance appraisal is.

To validate further the above findings, chi-square test for equal proportions was applied using SPSS and the findings are presented in Table below.

Table 10. Source: Analysis of survey data.

Noticeable relationship between performance appraisal and career development
Observed N Expected N Residual
Yes 37 25 12
No 13 25 -12
Total 50

Table 11. Source: Analysis of survey data.

Test Statistics
Noticeable relationship between performance appraisal and the career development
Chi-square 12.253a
df 1
Asymp. Sig. .000
a. 0 cells (.0%) have expected frequencies less than 5. The minimum expected cell frequency is 12.

From Table 11 above, it can be observed that the value of the chi square statistic is 12.253 and its corresponding p value is 0.000<0.05. Since the p value is less than 0.05, the null hypothesis can be rejected and would therefore be concluded that the possibility of employees’ career development does heavily depend on the ability a well thought out performance management and appraisal.

By rejecting the above null hypothesis, this would help validate the first alternative hypothesis.

The findings would be a confirmation of the alternative hypothesis below.

H3a. The possibility of employees’ career development does heavily depend on the ability a well thought out performance management and appraisal.

This hypothesis tries to emphasize the fact that there is need to conduct the research to ascertain the relationship between career development and performance appraisal, and how performance appraisal shapes the perception of employees.

Following the analysis of the literature review, one major factor that was coming out clearly as the determinant of the perception of employees towards performance appraisal was their level of knowledge about performance appraisal. It was coming out clearly that the level of knowledge the employees had towards performance appraisal had strong influence on how they would perceive performance appraisal. It was also noted that the closeness of the management towards employees played a major role in the implementation of performance appraisal within the firm. The researcher set to test the null hypothesis below.

H4o. The ability of the management to successfully implement performance management and appraisal system does not depend on their closeness to the employees.

From the table and pie chart below, majority of the respondents (70.8%) noted that closeness of management to employees had positive effect on the ability of the management to successfully implement performance management and appraisal. Only 20.8 percent felt that that it has negative effect while 8.3 percent stated that it does not matter.

Does closeness of management to employees affect implementation of performance appraisal?

Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent
Positively 36 70.8 70.8
Negatively 10 20.8 91.7
Does not matter 4 8.3 100.0
Total 50 100.0
Does closeness of management to employees affect implementation of performance appraisal?
Source: Analysis of survey data.

The null hypothesis is rejected and it is concluded that the ability of the management to successfully implement performance management and appraisal system does depend on their closeness to the employees. This therefore means that the alternative hypothesis below was accepted.

H4a. The ability of the management to successfully implement performance management and appraisal system does depend on their closeness to the employees.

Confirmation of this hypothesis not only supports the main hypothesis (the first hypothesis) of this research, but also gives more clarification on the relevance of performance management and appraisal in the current competitive world. It points out at some of the factors that would facilitate successful implementation of performance management and appraisal system within an institution such as B.G primary school in London.

Sensitivity Analysis

In every research findings, the correctness is always very important because an action may be taken upon the findings and recommendations of a given research. In case the result deviates from the truth by a considerable wide margin, it can result into serious consequences, especially if the action taken is of great impact. However, it is worth appreciating that human being is prone to making errors in a number of occasions. This error can be in the process of input of the data or its analysis. Whichever point it may arise from, the consequences of such errors may be adverse if action were to be taken upon its recommendation. Sensitivity analysis is therefore important in mitigating such errors in a report. It helps in determining how robust a given research is.

In this study, the researcher appreciates the fact that such errors may occur. For this reason, there is need to develop measures that would help validate this research.

In this research, the main aim was to determine the perception of performance management and appraisal among support staff at Bessemer Grange primary school. Reliability and Validity studies below help further explain how this research ensured that it maintained correctness of the findings.

Reliability

Reliability means appropriateness, applicability, and truthfulness of a study. It refers to the ability of research instruments to produce results that are in agreement with theoretical and conceptual values. The consistency of the measure, the probability of obtaining the same results again if the measure was to be replicated is referred as reliability. It is the relationship between the true underlying score and the observable score. Internal consistency is also important for the survey since it indicates the extent to which the items in the measurement are related to each other. The most commonly used index of internal consistency is Cronbach’s alpha coefficient. This index ranges from zero to one, where a reliability of zero means no relationship, and reliability of one indicates a perfect and positive relationship. Since the reliability declines as the length of the question increases, the questions would be designed to be straight to the point. The idea behind internal consistency procedures is that questions measuring the same phenomenon should produce similar results. In internal consistency reliability estimation, single measurement instrument is administered to a group of people on one occasion to estimate reliability. The overall consistency of the employees’ questionnaire in this research was 0.7 indicating that the questionnaire was reliable. Table 16 below shows the findings of reliability analysis.

Table 16: Reliability Analysis.

Data Crohnbach Alpha
Employees 0.71

It would therefore be true to emphasize that the researcher ensured high level of validity in this research.

Summary

This chapter has focused on comprehensive analysis of the primary data gathered from the employees of Bessemer Grange primary school. After a successful collection of data, the next stage is always the analysis of the gathered data. Data in its raw form may not be useful unless it is processed into useful information. Following the above comprehensive analysis, it comes out clearly that the perception of performance management and appraisal among support staff at Bessemer Grange primary school is influenced by a number of factors. The ability of the employees to embrace performance appraisal will depend on their knowledge about the same, and the closeness of the management to them. As such, the management has a very important role to play when implementing performance appraisal system. First, it must develop a close relationship with the employees in order to build trust. It should then find a way through which it can create awareness of this system among the employees of this firm.

Conclusion

The above discussion has brought a clear understanding of performance management and appraisal. The world is changing very fast, and with this come various changes in the field of human resource management. As technology advances, the need for human labor reduces in equal level. Most firms currently prefer capital intensive than labor intensive working environment. However, this does not mean that human labor is or will be rendered irrelevant in the near future. The more technology advances further, there more the need to have human labor to operate the machines and to do other tasks created due to the presence of the machines will rise. However, it is important to note that in the current society, there is need to have a clearly defined role of every employee in every department. There is need to ensure that all employees understand their role within the firm, and that their duties are aligned to the goals and objectives of the organization. They have to be aware that the organization looks upon them to achieve its objectives within the set time frame.

Performance management and appraisal therefore, plays an important role in ensuring that there is success in duties performed by every employee. As witnessed in the literature review, human being is a very complex creature that needs a lot of effort in order to manage. It is witnessed that when left to act in its own free will, a human being will always tend to take the easy way out in performing assigned tasks. This involves deliberately avoiding tasks that is assigned or doing them in a shoddy manner. This therefore demands a close watch by the concerned authorities. The authorities have the responsibility to ensure that employees work within expectations. The management must devise a way through which every employee will ensure that it meets the set targets. Performance management and appraisal provides the best strategy through which managements can achieve this.

Performance management and appraisal has increasingly become popular in the recent past. As stated above, there is needed to ensure that employees’ performance is closely audited. Auditing of employees performance has become an important aspect of human resource management. There is need to ensure that what employees does is closely evaluated to ensure that they deliver their services as is expected. As stated above, this does not meant that this is a tool that enhances close supervision of employees. In the contrary, the tool gives employees more freedom in their work. The management will reduce the level of their supervision on employees because they shall be informed of what they are expected to achieve. Each employee would have the liberty of choosing how he or she intends to accomplish the assigned task within specified time. Their performance will be audited after a given period of time in order to determine whether or not their performance is at par with the expectation of the firm.

It is a fact that motivation plays an important role in employees’ performance. Employees who are motivated in their respective areas of duty will perform better than those who lack this motivation. Motivating employees come in various ways. It is clear from the discussion above, that the management plays an important role in employee motivation. This can be in form of appreciating their duties. When the management appreciates what employees does, they will feel motivated, and therefore will be determined to give better results than the previous one. They will struggle to impress the authority in their actions. This way, they will continue to offer their services in the best way they possibly can. When implementing performance management and appraisal system, one of the biggest questions that the management should determine its answer is how the new system will impact on the motivation of the employees. It is important to determine if the system will act as a motivating factor or a demoralizing factor.

Whether the system will be considered a motivating factor or a demoralizing factor will always depend on the perception of the employees towards the system. As discussed above, the way employees perceive any new policy within an organization will always determine how well they will embrace the system or not. When employees embrace the system, chances are always high that the system will receive a positive perception from employees. Employees will feel that the system is one that brings a positive differential change. When the employees fail to embrace the technology, then they will develop a feeling that human resource management is coming with new approaches to frustrate their duties within the firm. This will make them withdrawn to themselves. They will feel demoralized because of the feeling that the management does not have full trust on them. This feeling can bring a total failure on the system, and contrary to what it was meant for, the system may bring underperformance amongst employees. The result analysis from Bessemer Grange primary school brings this picture in a clearer manner.

The support staffs at Bessemer Grange primary school play an important role in ensuring that the school runs within the expectations. As noted in the discussion above, they are as important as the teaching staff. Their role in ensuring that the school achieves its objectives is unquestionable. The management must therefore, ensure that these employees work within the expectations of the organization. Implementing performance appraisal among employees of this institution has a direct impact on the performance of the employees. Based on the analysis of the primary research gathered from the employees, it is clear that performance management and appraisal plays an important role in enhancing performance of employees. It is clear that performance appraisal helps in ensuring that every individual employee works within the expectation of the organization.

Perception of performance management and appraisal among support staff at this school was depends on the level of awareness they have towards the system, and their academic achievements. The analysis showed that employees who have higher academic qualifications tend to have a higher understanding of what performance appraisal is and therefore will easily embrace it. Those with lower academic qualification may find this system strange, and meant to tighten supervision. The level of awareness created by the management among employees may also determine the level of acceptance of the system. Application of performance management and appraisal within a firm is increasingly becoming important. The management should therefore come up with appropriate strategies that would ensure that the system is accepted within the firm. The following are some of the recommendations that should be considered by this management.

Recommendations

Given the current events in the field of human resource management, the authorities at Bessemer Grange primary school may have limited choice but to fully introduce performance appraisal within the firm. However, the following recommendations would be important to ensure smooth implementation of the system.

  • The management of Bessemer Grange primary school should ensure that the support staffs have a deep understanding of what performance management and appraisal is. This will help in ensuring that there is very minimal resistance from the employees towards performance appraisal. This will also improve their perception towards performance appraisal.
  • The management should create a close relationship with the support staff. There should be a sense of trust between employees and the management within this firm. This trust will make it easy for the management to explain to the employees the need for performance appraisal within the firm.
  • It is important for the management of this institution to ensure that employees take the system as a motivating factor, and not a demoralizing factor. Employees should view this system as a way through which they can constantly beat their own targets, and meet higher targets in all the activities they do.
  • The system should be packaged in a way that the support staff will consider it as a career development mechanism. Employees should consider performance appraisal as a means through which they can advance their careers in various fields.
  • The management of Bessemer Grange primary school should develop an environment that will foster free communication among all the stakeholders. This way, it becomes possible for the employees to inquire about performance appraisal in case they have little understanding of what it is. This will help dispel any misconceptions they might have towards the system.

Implementing the above recommendations will help in ensuring that the perception of performance management and appraisal among support staff of Bessemer Grange primary school is always positive.

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