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Assessing approaches to appraisal: A comparison of performance appraisal practices and consequences for hospital nurses in the Czech Republic and Germany

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

The plethora of research on performance appraisal (PA) is heavily concerned with micro-level issues in relation to the PA process. There is a need for a wider perspective which takes the influence of distal factors stemming from the national institutional context into account (DeNisi and Murphy, 2017). To address this gap, this thesis adopts an institutional perspective to assess PA practices in public hospitals and how it affects nurses – a key occupational group in healthcare - in the Czech Republic and Germany. This research contributes to the PA literature by investigating how national institutions shape the character and consequences of PA.
The research adopts a mixed-method comparative case-study design which allows for an in-depth and nuanced understanding of nurses’ PA. In total, 107 semi-structured interviews were conducted. The first research phase constituted interviews with national stakeholders (e.g. representatives from trade unions, nursing and employer associations). In the second phase, detailed fieldwork was conducted in two hospitals in each country. This included the collection of documentary evidence, interviews (e.g. with general nurses, nursing managers, hospital management, works councillors) and a survey amongst general nursing staff (n=500).
The findings of the case-study analysis confirm distinct national approaches to PA. In Germany, PA can be identified to be predominantly ‘developmental’ and ‘nurturing’ whereas in the Czech Republic, PA tends to be orientated towards ‘judgement’ with elements of ‘control’. The research identifies key national institutions which led to these variations: in Germany, the influential works council and in the Czech Republic external accreditation requirements. Although national models of PA can be permissive to variation, a clear tendency in each country was ascertained. The nature of PA was found to have implications for how nurses perceive and react to PA. When faced with more ‘judgemental’ and ‘controlling’ types of PA, nurses became discontented with the process. When predominantly ‘developmental’ in nature, PA had positive connotations for nurses.
Original languageEnglish
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Award date2018

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