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Title: Between-individual comparisons in performance evaluation : a perspective from prospect theory
Authors: Wong, Ellick Kin Fai
Kwong, Jessica Y. Y.
Keywords: Performance evaluation
Prospect theory
Issue Date: 2005
Citation: Journal of applied psychology, v. 90, no. 2, March 2005, p. 284-294
Abstract: This paper examines how between-individual comparisons influence performance evaluations in rating tasks. We demonstrated a systematic change in the perceived difference across ratees as a result of changing the way performance information is expressed. Study 1 found that perceived performance difference between two individuals was greater when their objective performance levels were presented with small numbers (e.g., absence rates of 2% vs. 5%) than when they were presented with large numbers (e.g., attendance rates of 98% vs. 95%). Extending this finding to situations involving trade-offs between multiple performance attributes across ratees, Study 2 showed that the relative preference for one ratee over another actually reversed when the presentation format of the performance information changed. We draw upon prospect theory (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979; Tversky & Kahneman, 1981) to offer a theoretical framework describing the between-individual comparison aspect of performance evaluation.
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