360-Degree Evaluation in Business


Control, supervision, feedback, and evaluation are critical aspects of communication between managers and employees. An effectively provided evaluation is a factor of influence in ensuring employee productivity and achieving the company’s goals. This paper studies one of the methods for evaluating employees’ performance – 360-degree evaluation. The paper explores what a 360-degree assessment is, its goals, stages of conduct, essential characteristics, and advantages and disadvantages, including potential positive and negative impacts. First, it is necessary to consider the general goals of assessments in the workplace to understand the value of the method.

Evaluation and Feedback in Management

Employees’ performance evaluation and providing them with feedback is an integral part of communication between personnel and managers in any organization. Evaluation and feedback imply the assessment of the employee’s actions in the performance of work duties and contribution to the achievement of the organizational goals (Karkoulian et al., 2019). They help workers understand their responsibilities, strengthen productivity and motivation, and increase workplace commitment (Park & Choi, 2020). For managers, the evaluation serves as the basis for decisions, particularly about the possible dismissal of an employee, providing opportunities for training, or advice for better performance of duties (Church et al., 2018). However, managers need to be careful in providing feedback and evaluation since, given negatively, they can lead to a deterioration in the employee’s work. Managers can apply different processes to evaluate personnel working in the organization.

Definition of 360-Degree Evaluation

One of the ways to conduct an assessment is the 360-degree approach. It involves collecting feedback on a specific employee from people in the working environment for self-awareness and self-development of this employee (Church et al., 2018). Managers, colleagues, employees with self-assessment, and even suppliers and customers can act as evaluators (Karkoulian et al., 2019). This method is significantly different from other ways of evaluation and has its goals.

360-Degree Evaluation Goals

Providing feedback from multiple sources as part of a 360-degree approach is essential. In this way, evaluations should be more honest and free of bias (El Haddad et al., 2018). Employees gain insight into the behavior and skills they need to perform their duties successfully. Feedback from colleagues and customers helps understand what tasks workers do well and what competencies need to be developed. The evaluation occurs in several stages to collect all necessary data.

360-Degree Evaluation Process

Conducting an assessment of this type requires time and considerable effort. Some researchers identify three critical steps in the process: collecting feedback from evaluators, creating a report based on them, and creating a development plan for the evaluated employee (Fleenor, 2019). The model proposed in the study by Church et al. (2018) is broader and covers several more critical stages. The whole process is as follows:

In the first stage – design and development – managers define the goals of the evaluation and participants and develop the appropriate tools for its implementation. During the administration phase, ensuring efficient data collection processes is essential. Managers should establish contacts with evaluators, send them the required tools, and receive the data. The third stage includes analyzing the obtained information and creating a report summarizing all observations. In the next step, the manager selects the feedback delivery method for the evaluated employee and makes sure that the information is correctly understood. The fifth step is based on the feedback received and involves planning the appropriate actions. The information provides directions for employee development or a basis for managers to make decisions. The final stage assesses the impact of the evaluation and the change or progress it caused.

360-Degree Feedback Characteristics

The feedback provided as part of the 360-degree evaluation approach must be credible to have a positive impact and achieve its goals. To meet the credibility criterion, Fleenor (2019), in his study, highlighted the crucial feedback characteristics:

  • Accuracy requires that the information collection process, including the distribution and completion of reports, be error-free.
  • Clarity suggests that the instructions for evaluation should be accurate and understandable, which is possible through the training of evaluators.
  • Timeliness characteristics are necessary to control the regularity of the assessment and quick results delivery.
  • Rater characteristics include creating a reliable tool that will ensure data quality.
  • Reliability implies the trustworthiness and training of participants and the use of proven methods for data analysis.
  • Awareness involves informing all participants about the evaluation and understanding by the manager of the characteristics of employees in feedback acceptance for ethical delivery.
  • Acceptance requires participation from the evaluated employees – their willingness to accept feedback, the ability to select evaluators they trust, and their desire to change.

360-Degree Evaluation Advantages

Using the 360-degree evaluation has several advantages due to its features. The application of a multi-source assessment gives an idea of a person’s reputation based on previous achievements or failures. As a result, this method helps make assumptions about the future behavior of the evaluated employee, which is valuable for the manager (Miao et al., 2018). Involving multiple parties in an evaluation helps to consider more points of view, which means including more details in the analysis that one evaluator may not have noticed and providing results’ validity (Miao et al., 2018). Moreover, the 360-degree assessment is focused on fairness and justice, overcoming subjectivity (Karkoulian et al., 2019). Thus, applying the method helps to consider various opinions and give a fair assessment, which leads to a significant positive impact.

360-Degree Evaluation Potential Positive Impact

The correctly applied 360-degree evaluation method contributes to the employee’s professional development and the organization’s prosperity. The assessment can include any person regardless of position – including leaders, strengthening their skills (Fleenor, 2019). A study by Karkoulian et al. (2019) found that 360-degree evaluation promotes employee engagement and commitment to work. As a result, it encourages innovative thinking and contributes to organizations’ success (Karkoulian et al., 2019). Honest feedback and recognition of the employee’s achievements within the assessment can reduce the likelihood of dismissal and support loyalty to an employer.

Many studies also claim that such a multi-source assessment leads to openness and trust in the organization. According to El Haddad et al. (2018) research, 360-degree assessment, in addition to ensuring equity, also contributes to the company’s sustainability. The reason is that employees who better understand their strengths and weaknesses and are oriented toward development demonstrate better performance. Therefore, the correct application of the 360-degree approach leads to a significant positive effect, but it is essential to be aware of the potential risks.

360-Degree Evaluation Disadvantages

Managers who want to apply a 360-degree approach in their organization must consider its shortcomings. Conducting a 360-degree evaluation is a complex and multi-step process that requires attention to many details – preparing tools, involving employees, analyzing data, correctly delivering feedback to an employee, and creating a development plan (Church et al., 2019). Moreover, it is only one measure of the complexity necessary to support the organization’s effectiveness. Therefore, the evaluation may not meet the high expectations of the company that implements it. If the multi-source evaluation is performed incorrectly, it can negatively affect employees.

360-Degree Evaluation Potential Negative Impact

Conducting a 360-degree assessment carries risks, which can lead to negative consequences. With a careless approach to the process, evaluation can lead to the undesired effect – demotivating the employees and their neglect of duties (Karkoulian et al., 2019). For this reason, managers need to pay attention to how they deliver feedback and discuss it considering an employee’s personality. In particular, it is essential to balance the evaluation’s negative and positive aspects (Adler et al., 2012). Another potential adverse effect is wasting time in case of the wrong approach. Even without proper preparation, conducting a multi-source assessment will be difficult and time-consuming for the manager and evaluators. Before evaluating, it is crucial to consider the potential risks and consequences to avoid errors.


Thus, this paper explores the 360-degree approach to evaluating work performance. It involves collecting feedback from several people in the work environment of the assessed employee. This method aims to provide honest and objective information about a person’s strengths and weaknesses for further professional development. The process of conducting the 360-degree evaluation is complex, involves several stages, and requires attention to many details. The advantage of the approach is that it ensures openness and fairness in the company when including various points of view in the assessment. It can lead to better employee development and sustainable development of the organization. However, the complexity of the process is its disadvantage, which can lead to errors, demotivation of the evaluated employee, and waste of resources. Therefore, 360-degree assessment requires preparation – goal determination, which is consistent with other company effectiveness measures, tool development, training of evaluators, and other actions.


Adler, R. B., Elmhorst, J. M., & Lucas, K. (2012). Communicating at work: Strategies for success in business and the professions (11th ed.), McGraw-Hill.

Church, A. H., Dawson, L. M., Barden, K. L., Fleck, C. R., Rotolo, C. T., & Tuller, M. (2018). Enhancing 360-degree feedback for individual assessment and organization development: Methods and lessons from the field. Research in Organizational Change and Development, 26, 47-97. Emerald Publishing Limited. Web.

El Haddad, R., Karkoulian, S., & Nehme, R. (2019). The impact of 360 feedback appraisal system on organizational justice and sustainability: The mediating roles of gender and managerial levels. International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 27(3), 712-728. Web.

Fleenor, J. W. (2019). Delivering 360-degree feedback. In L. A. Steelman & J. R. Williams (Eds.), Feedback at work (pp. 227-247). Springer, Cham. Web.

Karkoulian, S., Srour, J., & Messarra, L. C. (2019). The moderating role of 360-degree appraisal between engagement and innovative behaviors. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 69(2), 361-381. Web.

Miao, C., Humphrey, R. H., Qian, S. & Oh, I. S. (2018). (How) Does 360-degree feedback benefit the field of entrepreneurship? New England Journal of Entrepreneurship, 21(1), 65-72. Web.

Park, S., & Choi, S. (2020). Performance feedback, goal clarity, and public employees’ performance in public organizations. Sustainability, 12(7), 1-18. Web.

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