Forced distribution performance evaluation systems: Advantages, disadvantages and keys to implementation

  • Stewart S
  • Gruys M
  • Storm M
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T here has been some controversy over the recent adoption of forced distribution per-formance evaluation systems by many large global corporations. A plethora of terms exist which essentially describe the same type of relative per-formance ratings, that is, a performance evaluation system that is used to rate and rank employees. Some of these terms include: forced distribution, forced ranking systems, bell curve, group ordering, or normal distribution. The term 'forced distribu-tion' will be used throughout this paper. Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric (GE), pioneered the idea of forced distributions in cor-porate America due to his belief that the bottom 10% of the workforce should be removed every year. Estimates suggest that up to 20% of all US business organizations and up to 25% of Fortune 500 firms use some type of forced distribution performance evaluation system

Author-supplied keywords

  • Forced distribution
  • Human resource management
  • Legal risks
  • Performance appraisal
  • Performance management
  • Performance system

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  • Susan M. Stewart

  • Melissa L. Gruys

  • Maria Storm

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