Performance appraisal practices in nonprofit organisations in Australia

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Ramasamy, Ancy (2015) Performance appraisal practices in nonprofit organisations in Australia. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


This study sets out to examine performance appraisal practices (PA) in nonprofit organisations (NPOs) in Australia. The study draws together various theoretical approaches – namely institutional theory (DiMaggio & Powell 1983), the HR strength theory (Bowen & Ostroff 2004), the contingency and configuration approaches (Delery & Doty 1996), the process-based perspective on fit (García-Carbonell, Martin-Alcazar & Sanchez-Gardey 2014), and the values (Burchielli 2006) and justice literature (Bies 2001; Folger, Konovsky & Cropanzano 1992; Greenberg 1986) – to construct an integrated approach to PA in the nonprofit sector. The research questions were formulated based on this integrated approach, and relate to an investigation into the impact of the external environment on NPOs’ PA practices; the relationship between NPOs’ core values and their PA practices; the horizontal and vertical integration of PA practices in NPOs; and employees’ justice perceptions toward PA in NPOs. To address the research questions, a qualitative case study design was adopted. Two case study organisations – a community welfare agency (Dogood) and a trade union (Employee Rights Union) – were selected. Multiple sources of evidence, namely documentary evidence, semistructured interviews, focus groups and observational evidence and field notes, were used. Data was also collected from multiple groups of individuals, namely senior managers, line managers and employees. The sample size for each case study organisation consisted of twenty-one respondents in the case of Dogood, and twelve respondents in the case of ERU. Thematic analysis was undertaken. Several rigour strategies were adopted by this study, namely data triangulation, the establishment of a case study database, peer debriefing, amongst others. The empirical findings indicate how external environmental forces influence the content and process of PA. They also show how NPOs are unable to align their PA practices with their core values, organisational strategy and other HRM practices due to the weakness of the PA and ‘values’ messages communicated by NPOs. Finally, findings highlight the mixed justice perceptions of nonprofit employees towards PA. In conclusion, this study makes a key contribution to theory and management practice by acknowledging the importance of giving context and meaning to HRM, and proposing a pragmatic and an inclusive way of thinking about PA in the nonprofit sector.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1503 Business and Management
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > College of Business
Keywords nonprofit sector, employees, HRM, SHRM, strategic human resources management, organisational strategy, organisational justice, planning development review system, PDR, public-benefit NPO, Dogwood, member-benefit NPO, ERU, Employee Rights Union, Australia
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