Re: New Member from Hong Kong

Devi Jankowicz (
Fri, 15 Aug 97 22:24:57 +0100

Dear Robert,

I was just going to say what Chris Evans has just said (see snippet
below) and so I won't!

>What I'd suggest is that you "tune up" or "tighten" the focus in the
>session so that you are constantly making it clear that your
>elements are
>"how the xxxx affects/inputs into the PA system" e.g. "how the
>annual interview affects/inputs into the PA system" as opposed to
>"the annual interview"
>That way it's clear that you are forcing apples and oranges to be
>compared as fruits, not as visual stimuli (or whatever), i.e. you set
>the range and focus of convenience of the whole process. It's easier
>said than done and sometimes you may actually have to live with
>finding that some things really aren't seen to input or affect the
>system at all but at least you can now make that explicit.

Speaking generally, yes, you need to make your elements all of a kind.
(And yes, sometimes it's tricky!) One heuristic I find useful is to look
for grammatical similarity as an aid to "forcing apples & oranges to be
compared as fruits", in Chris' useful phrase: all nouns, all verbs, all
"-ing" words, or whatever.

(I'd find it very difficult to provide constructs about
"to make a contribution to students' knowledge", "the last thing I do
every day", and "I go to a keep-fit class";
but if I express the same elements as "-ing" actions, being as
behaviourally specific as possible:
"lecturing"; "putting the cat out" and "doing 20 press-ups",
suddenly, it becomes a lot easier!

(The construct in question is "I Enjoy It - I Hate It", in case you

So: use all and any tricks which help you make them all fruits, as it
were; and, if you can't use nouns (e.g. role titles, which have often
been used in grid-based performance appraisal research), use a form which
is as concrete as possible; "-ing" words tend to be fairly concrete!

By the way, since you're doing work on performance appraisal, the
following references, if you haven't come across them, are very useful.
They concern some of the methodological limitations in the study of
appraisal, and would most probably behelpful in the literature review of
your doctorate. Moreover, Boorman used grid techniques among others!

Borman, W.C. _Implicit personality theories and personal constructs: a
study of individual differences_ Internal Mimeo, Human Performance
Enhancement, Inc., 1978.
Borman, W.C. "Personal constructs, performance schemata, and 'folk
theories' of subordinate effectiveness: explorations in an army officer
sample" _Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes_ 1987, 40,
pp. 307-322.
Borman, W.C. "Implications of personality theory and research for the
rating of work performance in organizations" in Landy, F., Zedeck, S., &
Cleveland, J. (eds.) _Performance Measurement and Theory_ Hilsdale, N.J.:
Lawrence Erlbaum.

And the following are some of the publications that came out of my own
research on how bankers and venture capitalists construe "a good
loan/investment proposal". Since this came out of the question "what
makes for an effective banker / venture capitalist", it is of course to
do with performance appraisal!

Hisrich, R.D. & Jankowicz, A.D. "Intuition in venture capital decisions:
an exploratory study using a new technique" _Journal of Business
Venturing_1990, 5, 1, pp. 49-62.
Jankowicz, A.D. "Intuition in small business lending decisions" _Journal
of Small Business Management_ 1987, 25, 3, 45-52.

Good luck with your research,

Kindest regards,

Devi Jankowicz