A New Look at the Supervisor Role in Performance Management

  • Montana L. Drawbaugh
  • Jane R. WilliamsEmail author
  • Erzhuo (Ernie) Wang


Supervisors and employees hold consistently negative impressions of the performance management (PM) process in most organizations. In this chapter, we propose that some of the uneven outcomes related to this important human resource process may be due to factors related to the supervisor; ones they may not even be aware of. We review the extant literature on some factors related to the supervisor: implicit person theory (IPT) and commitment to performance management. In addition, we review some relatively new research, which examines the role of the supervisor in providing feedback in the PM process. Specifically, we integrate the growing evidence that supervisors who report an incremental IPT are more likely to engage in positive PM behaviors such as providing support, giving elaborative feedback, and initiating more coaching behaviors. Moreover, employees of these supervisors report more positive perceptions of these processes. We also introduce a new construct, commitment to performance management, and develop theory about how considering affective, normative, and continuous commitment toward performance management may predict differential PM behaviors that supervisors initiate. For instance, supervisors who are affectively committed (e.g. really believe in the value and importance of PM) are much more likely to engage in the best practices associated with PM than supervisors who are continuously committed (e.g., only completing PM practices because there would be a cost to not participate). Finally, we review some recently published research that focuses on the actual content of the feedback and conversation exchanged between supervisors and employees (Meinecke et al. J Leadersh Org Stud 24:230, 2017; Meinecke et al. J Appl Psychol 102:1054, 2017; Schaerer et al. Organ Behav Hum Decis Process 144:171:2018). Moreover, we integrate these findings within the frameworks of IPT and commitment to performance management and identify some potentially interesting new streams of research.


Performance Management Supervisor Implicit Person Theory Entity Incremental Commitment to Performance Management Relationship Oriented Task Oriented Transparency Illusions 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Montana L. Drawbaugh
    • 1
  • Jane R. Williams
    • 1
    Email author
  • Erzhuo (Ernie) Wang
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyIndiana University Purdue University IndianapolisIndianapolisUSA
  2. 2.School of ManagementUniversity of BuffaloBuffaloUSA

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