Performance Appraisal Cynicism Among Managers: a Job Demands Resources Perspective

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This study aims to investigate the antecedents and consequences of manager’s performance appraisal cynicism (PA cynicism). Based on job demand-resources (JD-R) theory, we develop and test a model in which PA cynicism mediates the interactive effect of two appraisal-related resources (coworker support and performance appraisal experience) and an appraisal-related demand (number of direct reports) in predicting manager’s turnover intentions and leadership effectiveness. Survey data on performance appraisal-related demands and resources were obtained from school principals (in their role as managers) at time 1 and their PA cynicism, turnover intentions, and leadership effectiveness were collected six months later at time 2. Superiors rated principals’ leadership effectiveness. Appraisal-related demands moderate the relationship between coworker support and PA cynicism such that there was a negative relationship between coworker social support and PA cynicism when appraisal-related demands were high. Furthermore, we find that PA cynicism mediated the conditional indirect effects of coworker support on turnover intentions and leadership effectiveness. When managers are cynical about the PA process, they are more likely to contemplate leaving their organization and are rated as less effective leaders by their superiors. Coworker support decreases managers’ PA cynicism, especially for managers with a large number of direct reports. We examine PA cynicism from an underrepresented stakeholder in PA research, namely managers. Managers have a unique perspective on the PA process because they are both a recipient of appraisals and evaluate the performance of their direct reports.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)455-468
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Business and Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychology(all)


  • Managerial reactions to appraisal
  • Performance appraisal
  • Performance management


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