The influence of employee performance appraisal cynicism on intent to quit and sportsmanship

Michelle Brown, Maria L. Kraimer, Virginia K. Bratton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose: Using job demands–resources (JD–R) theory, the purpose of this paper is to investigate the role of job demands (difficult performance appraisal (PA) objectives) and job resources (performance feedback and leader member exchange (LMX)) on employee reports of PA cynicism. The paper also investigates the consequences of PA cynicism on intent to quit and bad sportsmanship. Design/methodology/approach: Survey data on PA demands and resources, PA cynicism and turnover intentions were obtained from employees. Supervisors rated their employees’ level of sportsmanship. Findings: Contrary to the predictions of JD–R theory, the authors found that employees are most likely to be cynical when they experience high levels of job resources (LMX and performance feedback) and high levels of job demands (difficult objectives). Research limitations/implications: The study demonstrates that PA cynicism matters – employees with higher levels of PA cynicism were more likely to contemplate leaving the organization; employees with high levels of PA cynicism are rated as bad sports by their supervisors. Practical implications: Employees are sensitive to gaps between the description and reality of a PA process which can trigger thoughts of organizational exit and ineffective work behaviors. human resource managers need to ensure that employees regard the PA process as valuable, useful and worth their time and effort. Originality/value: The authors contribute to the PA literature by investigating the role of both job resources and demands. PA research has focused on the specification of job demands, underplaying the role of job resources in employee attitudes toward PA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalPersonnel Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 14 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


  • Employee reactions
  • Performance appraisal
  • Performance management


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