Leader Behavior in Performance Appraisal Conversations: The Fostering of Psychological Safety in Subordinates
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- Master of Science 
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to shed light on the leader-subordinate interaction as it unfolds during the performance appraisal conversation. More specifically, the aim is to look into how Model Ⅱ behavior in the leaders may contribute to psychological safety in the subordinates. By doing this, we answer the call of more qualitative studies in this field, which is needed in order to bridge the gap between scholars and practitioners. Research Methodology: The study was conducted by recording the performance appraisals of five leader-subordinate dyads in an organization, and by handing out a survey to the parties in the dyad afterwards. The performance appraisals were transcribed and coded based on a codebook partially developed by Meyer and colleagues (2019). The coded findings were then compared to answers from the survey. Additionally, patterns found within the performance appraisal conversation were highlighted. Findings: Our findings suggest that leaders managed to maintain the relationship with the subordinate, but especially due to a lack of inquiry, the subordinate’s voice remained limited. The result is an ineffective PA, suppressed psychological safety, and limited learning opportunities for both parties. Further, our findings propose that the overuse of active-empathetic listening behavior such as humming can be counterproductive. Implications: Our overall findings suggest keeping the traditional performance appraisal, but with some alterations and leadership development in order to make it more effective. Further, our findings arguably reflect the importance of the leader’s behavioral nuances in relation to psychological safety in the performance appraisal. This notion directs future research into also looking at authentic behavior, and not only subordinates’ perceptions in surveys, when studying the performance appraisal, not.
Masteroppgave(MSc) in Master of Science in Leadership and Organizational Psychology - Handelshøyskolen BI, 2020