360-Degree Assessments: Are They the Right Tool for the U.S. Military?
RAND NATIONAL DEFENSE RESEARCH INST SANTA MONICA CA
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360-degree assessments 360s in which employees receive feedback from supervisors, subordinates, and peers have become popular personnel management tools. The most common use of 360s is as a feedback and development tool, and many civilian organizations have embraced 360s as one of several ways to develop their workforce. Likewise, the military has also begun exploring the use of 360s as a way to contribute to personnel development, most commonly for officers in leadership positions. In spite of their popularity, however, 360s are not a panacea. Even when used for development purposes, the use of 360s can face legitimate criticism. Given that 360s can be time consuming to complete and their effectiveness can vary, some worry that their use could be a significant waste of resources. Moreover, experts also caution that, when used in a way in which the results will ultimately impact high-stakes career outcomes such as promotions, 360s can lead to distrust and have the potential to do more harm than good. Although many of these arguments against using 360s are legitimate, some could be mitigated with careful attention to the design of the 360. Others, however, should lead users to think carefully about when it is worthwhile to implement 360s and when it is not.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations
- Military Forces and Organizations