An Organizational Communication Study of the U.S. Army's OERS "Support Form" : A Type of MBO Performance Appraisal
Spratt, Darrell L.
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
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As of 1 November 1979, the U.S. Army instituted a new performance appraisal technique which includes a participative objective-setting procedure. This new performance appraisal technique has the function of encouraging two-way, performance-focused communication between the senior and subordinate. The appearance of this "innovative" appraisal system coincides with the U.S. Army's increasing interest in the behavioral sciences and organizational communication principles. The subject of this study is the Officer Evaluation Reporting Systems (OERS) and particularly the Support Form (DA Form 67-8-1). This OERS Support Form is structured around the concept of management by objectives, a contemporary approach to management communication based on the behavioral sciences. The new OERS formalizes the requirement for the subordinate to define his job and identify his major performance objectives. The subordinate meets this requirement by putting his job description and objectives in writing on the Support Form. These comments are the basis for performance counseling with his superior throughout the rating period and when a formal evaluation is prepared. The Support Form, the subject of this study, serves as a concrete and contemporary example of human communication and management theory being implemented in the U.S. Army. This mutual goal-setting approach is extremely new and untested in the Army organization. This thesis is an organizational communication analysis of the usefulness and suitability of management by objectives and the OERS Support Form for the Army.