Foucault’s Perspective of Performance Appraisal in Public Administration

Amélia Ferreira-da-Silva, José Manuel Pereira, Alice Lopes, Carla Magalhães, Ricardo Moreira


The main purpose of performance appraisal in organizations is, or should be, to improve the engagement, learning process and progress of the employees and to align individual with team and organizational performance. However, performance appraisal can also be interpreted as an instrument of normalization, discipline and surveillance. This study thus aims to explore and discuss the complex schema of intrinsic and extrinsic objectives of performance appraisal system of the Portuguese public organizations (SIADAP - Performance Evaluation Integrated System). We have developed an exploratory and qualitative case study to capture appraisers and appraises perceptions. The data were analyzed in light of foucauldian theories. According to the qualitative data, namely the discourses of the appraisers and their subordinates, the SIADAP is seen as an instrument of control and dominance that aims to introduce political rationalities, limiting the career progression of the employees. Though some key points of Foucault’s perspective were identified, foucauldian framework revealed some limitations to capture all the complexity inherent to performance appraisal. This study opens new perspectives about the SIADAP and can be of major importance as far as political reflection about performance appraisal in public organizations is concerned.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2015.v6n2p375

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This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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