Implementation of the Performance Appraisal Provisions of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978

Gao ID: 112289 May 13, 1980

The discussion concerned the implementation of performance appraisal provisions of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. While performance measurement, as used in the Federal Government, generally refers to the performance of groups, performance appraisal refers mainly to an individual's performance. The Act provides for the linking of performance measurement systems to performance appraisal systems. However, the simplicity of the quantitative aspects of performance measurement systems may cause appraisers to give more weight to job elements that can be counted than equally critical elements that require more judgment. Even an accurate, valid performance measurement system can fall into disrepair, if it is not used for basic management practices such as planning, budgeting, performance appraisal, and position management. GAO has a number of efforts planned and underway to review performance appraisal systems, and they have been tied into the implementation activities of affected agencies. Since implementation of reform for senior executives is required first, the initial efforts address Senior Executive Service systems. GAO plans to assess the agencies' ability to address the problems which inevitably occur in the implementation process. However, early work indicates that agencies are making serious attempts at implementing workable systems.

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