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Positivism and social construction


Positivism and social construction ism stem from philosophies of knowledge and
disciplines that literally have shaped various practices and research in the last centuries.
Positivism theories are based on assumptions that conclusive decisions on world view can be
made through examination of evidence, our senses and empirical research. Social construction

MBA Week 3 Reply 2
ism world view argues that a set of social interactions that exist between certain people can be
fully understood through examination of various factors that contribute, shape or influence
circumstances. Positivism draws its foundation on quantitative and empirical data that most
positivists’ researcher s believe are reliable (Fletcher and Baldry 2000).
Three hundred Sixty Degree Feedback organizations systems are very popular in some
businesses but have limited application in public health entities (Swain 2004). This feedback
system is very effective in boosting employee morale, performance, organizational culture and
the other organizational target outcomes. The City of Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) has
succeeded in implementing the system for several years. MHD succeeded in perfecting the 360
degrees performance and feedback appraisal systems by involving its entire staff at all levels
during the introduction and subsequent development and implementation of the system. Unlike
other organizations like FAO that failed to implement the system successfully in the first
instance due to lack of goodwill from its employees, MHD realized that the contribution of its
employees was crucial to the success of the exercise (Swain 2004).
The linkage between performance and feedback can be related to the differences in the
behaviors of the leaders against their subordinates especially in an environment where the
leaders practice authoritarian leadership style. The differences affect the effectiveness of the
feedback systems.
The factors determining employee willingness to embrace feedback systems are many
and varied. Utilizing mixed methods of research various factors were identified such as positive
management impression of the whole concept of the feedback system, employees’ involvement,
fairness and accuracy in performance appraisal systems (Fletcher and Baldry 2000). Case

MBA Week 3 Reply 3
method of re-searching on a limited number of companies and thoroughly studying them in
depth provides a deeper insight as advocated by the proponents of positivism. Social
construction ism favors a single case study that focuses on specific organization. The major
misgiving is that, case method requires more time to gather additional data collection that may
take a longer time (Easterby-Smith, Thorpe & Jackson 2012). But according to Ellinger et al
(2003) job performance and successful appraisal systems augur well with managerial coaching.
Employees develop self-awareness and gain clear understanding of their expectations and
responsibilities through systematic feedback from their managers. The objective of the feedback
systems besides assessing training needs provides a systematic method of uniform
communication (Lee and Akhtar 1996).
To conclude, various research methods can be applied when evaluating the effectiveness
of feedback systems. Feedback from customers can be utilized to identify the problem areas or
strengths to generate ideas in order to improve the services. MHD succeeded in perfecting the
360 degrees performance and feedback appraisal systems by involving its employees at all levels
during the development and implementation of the 360 degrees feedback system while FAO
failed to implement a successful feedback system due to non inclusion of its employees in its
introductory stages (Lee and Akhtar 1996). Employees develop self-awareness and gain clear
understanding of their expectations and responsibilities through systematic participation in the
entire process.

MBA Week 3 Reply 4


Ellinger, A. D., Ellinger, A. E., & Keller, S. B., 2003, Supervisory coaching behavior,
employee satisfaction, and warehouse employee performance: A dyadic
perspective in the distribution industry. Human Resource Development Quarterly,
14(4), 435-458.
Fletcher, C. and Baldry, C., 2000, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology,
Volume 73, Issue3 pgs 303 – 319, September.
Easterby-Smith, M., Thorpe, R. & Jackson, P., 2012, Management research. 4th ed.
London: SAGE Publications.
Lee, J. & Akhtar, S., 1996, Determinants of employee willingness to use feedback for
performance improvement: cultural and organizational interpretational, International
Journal of Human Resource Management, 7 (4), pp. 878-890

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