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Evolution of 360-Degree Feedback

360 feedback evolution

Companies today are required to be more efficient, economical, and personalized than ever before. This means that performance management technology must also evolve rapidly to meet these ever-changing demands. As trust in cloud 360 feedback evolves, performance management has the ability to enhance the communication and performance in a variety of organizations. Vision Metrics provides the simplified setup, analysis, and administrative processes to provide a flawless feedback experience.

For companies to remain lean, employees are expected to work harder and perform at greater proficiency (Grey, 2005). Furthermore, a rising global nature leads organizations to be more complex and widely dispersed (Neilson and Wulf, 2012). There are higher expectations and a greater disconnect between managers, in terms of geographical distance and possible oversight. Additionally, many companies have evolved from a flat, top-down organizational structure where a traditional supervision span of control is no longer feasible (Hollenbeck, 1997). This transformation from an “autocratic to humanistic” management style has brought a new emphasis on involvement in the participative process in all levels of an organization (Meyer, 1991).

The systems were traditionally offered as software to be installed within companies (on-premise), but since 2003 a strong shift in the small to medium business market has seen the adoption of online, web or now cloud-based services. These services are often referred to as SaaS (Software as a Service) model in which you subscribe to a service without the need to install or own the software.

CEB Inc. research states that the number of direct reports compiled by managers has doubled from five to ten annual reports from 1980 to the mid-2000’s (Neilon and Wulf, 2012). This is critical because as managers are held to higher expectations for performance reviews, they are not actually aware of how their subordinates perform when management is not around (Fleenor et al. 2008). Therefore, employees deem a comprehensive performance review trustworthy since it is evaluated by those most involved in the daily performance.

The evolving workplace dynamics have contributed to the ubiquity of 360-degree feedback in organizations. In the 1970’s the multisource feedback became prevalent and it is just now beginning to gain acceptance in Asian countries (Fleenor et al. 2008). One of the most important aspects according to Levy is that employees generally like it (Levy, 2010). As employees appreciate the system, they are motivated to provide more accurate feedback and to take their own personal results into consideration.

Attention and awareness in the field has brought appreciation to 360-degree feedback generating more conclusive research. However, there is still a substantial amount of research to be done in the field of multisource feedback, as it is a newer feedback platform in the human resources field. As organizations evolve to become more globalized, the cultural bias may intensify and draw more attention to the reliability of the data. For now, however, the research draws favourable attention to 360-degree feedback its developmental impact on organizations.


Grey, C. (2005). A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book about Studying Organizations. London: Sage.

Fleenor, J., Taylor, S., Chappelow, C. (2008). Leveraging the impact of 360-degree feedback. Center for Creative Leadership.

Hollenbeck, J. (1997) Personnel Psychology. Volume 50, Issue 1.

Levy, Paul E. Industrial/Organizational Psychology: Understanding the Workplace. 3rd ed. New York: Worth, 2010. 113-29. Print.

Meyer, J. P., & Allen, N. J. (1991). A three-component conceptualization of organizational commitment. Human Resource Management Review, 1, 61-89.

Neilson, G. L., Wulf, J. (2012). How Many Direct Reports?” Rev. of Harvard Business Review, by Gary L. Neilson and Julie Wulf. Harvard Business Review Apr. 2012: n. pag. Harvard Business Review. May 2012


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