Elmore R. Alexander III and Ronnie D. Wilkins (1982), “Performance
rating validity: the relationship of objective and subjective measures
of performance," Group and Organization Studies, 7,
Many previous studies have attempted to predict successful job performance, where job performance was based on subjective measures. Typically, these subjective measures were 'performance ratings' by the worker's immediate supervisor. But are these performance ratings valid indicators of job performance? Alexander and Wilkins reviewed prior research. Although performance ratings were related to actual performance in a number of laboratory experiments, this might have been an artifact the research design. In most of these studies, all things except performance were controlled; this, there was no other basis for the ratings than performance. Alexander and Wiklins suggested that the interaction between a worker and supervisor may be an important variable that was excluded from these studies. It is important them, to test the
validity of subjective ratings in a field setting. They did this, using data on 130 vocational rehabilitation counselors from 23 different groups. Objective measures of output on this job are provided quarterly to the supervisors by the state of Tennessee. the correlations between the subjective ratings and the objective measures were positive, but low
(over four criteria, r2 ran from 0.01 to 0.08). This study suggests then, that subjective ratings of performance may be suspect.