For over a decade, we have collected 360 data on men, women, individual contributors, managers, and executives. We have looked at age, how long the rater has known the learner, how often the rater has worked with the learner, confidentiality, the various rater groups (self, boss, direct reports, peers, and customers). Additionally, we have examined how sure raters are of their ratings, what competencies are most overused, and what they find difficult to rate. During this same period we have collected criterion ratings: independent ratings of current and long-term performance (two years out), ratings of potential, stock options, profit measures, and promotion (also two years out). Here, we present our findings about which/actors seem to affect rater accuracy in relating to various criterion variables of importance in organizations.
What Has the Least Effect on Rater Accuracy?
Gender research has typically found few significant differences in performance. Women may have to perform slightly better to get to the same level as men and are more participative and attuned to others. Men do slightly better at common business problem-solving skills. Rating biases (women rating women higher and vice-versa) are small to nonexistent. This is not to say that there are no differences or no biases. (For a review of the preceding research, see Lombardo & Eichinger, 2002.) Many of the so-called differences come from popular surveys and analyses that fail to take into account the type of job and function the male or female is performing. For example, HR jobs typically call for higher interpersonal skills, and more women are in these roles: many line jobs are male-dominated and allow for lower levels of interpersonal skill; therefore, men and women will exhibit different levels of interpersonal skill. Studies that look at men and women in the same companies, in the same jobs, at the same level, with the same amount of managerial experience, find that effectiveness is about equal. Our findings (typically found in scientific research as well) are:
1. Gender is not related to promotion or performance overall or by level.
2. Men and women are not rated differently.
3. Males and females do not rate their gender higher (or lower) than the other.
4. Rating agreement between genders is high: 84% of the competencies were rated the same.
5. Female and male raters agree far more with each other than with the person rated, regardless of gender. They are rating the person, not the person's gender. Both women and men are rated higher by both genders on certain competencies. Women are rated higher on interpersonal skills such as compassion and patience, and on operating skills such as planning. Men are rated higher on some problem-solving, business skills such as strategic agility and technical learning, and on command (crisis) skills. Much of this reflects job differences, with far more women in staff jobs and men in line jobs.
6. There are a few differences, with women rating women higher on team building and motivating others, and on some of the other operating skills like organizing and...
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