The purpose of this study was to explore the performance appraisal experience of 14 mid-level women in student affairs administration at four-year colleges and universities in Northern Illinois using a qualitative research approach involving personal interviews. Previous research on career development and advancement of mid-level women in student affairs administration addresses issues of morale and worklife satisfaction, mobility, issues related to role, professional development, and mentoring. This dissertation examines the performance appraisal experiences of these women and contributes a new perspective related to career development and advancement. Further, this study utilizes the leader-member exchange (LMX) theory (Graen, 1976) as an analytical lens.
The emergent themes from the data analyses reveal five major conclusions, which include: (1) the stated purposes for performance appraisal are not clear or well-known; (2) women value performance appraisal when the process is structured, focused on professional development and advancement, and supervisors provide constructive feedback; (3) when the appraisal process is more structured and formalized, women have the opportunity to have meaningful dialogue with their supervisor and introduce discussion about career development and advancement; (4) career development and advancement are linked to the formality of the appraisal process and the relationship these women have with their supervisor; and (5) the participants felt strongly that institutions and supervisors should be more cognizant of the timing of appraisals and making the process ongoing, ensuring that the appraisal process is future-oriented and focused on professional development, providing training for supervisors and subordinates engaged in the appraisal process, and creating an appraisal document that is specific to a department or individual's job responsibilities.
The results of this study suggest that performance appraisal can be a useful tool to position mid-level women for career development and advancement. The hypothesis of the leader-member exchange theory may also be supported. The critical elements for utilizing LMX to gauge career development and advancement opportunities are understanding the quality of the existing relationship in the supervisor-subordinate dyad and creating dialogue or a conversation of exchange in the dyad during the appraisal process. Results of this study inform those who administer performance appraisals for mid-level administrators in student affairs and reinforce the value of this resource to the career development and advancement of these administrators.
|Advisor:||Williams, Terry E.|
|School:||Loyola University Chicago|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||DAI-A 70/07, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Womens studies, School administration, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Career development, Leader-member exchange, Mid-level, Performance appraisal, Student affairs, Women|
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