Performance Appraisal as an Antecedent to Innovation: an Analysis of Its Relative Importance

Navin Gazanchand Matookchund, Renier Steyn


Literature suggests that performance appraisal (PA) contributes to innovation. However, the absolute and relative importance of PA to innovation, the different aspects of PA which drive innovation, as well as PA as a precursor among other antecedents to innovation, has not been adequately described. The aim of the study is to provide clarity on the drivers of innovation, specifically contextualising the impact of PA within the South African context. This study used a cross-sectional survey design, where only quantitative data was collected from full-time employees across private sector, parastatal, and government organisations. The respondents represented a broad cross-section of South African employees. PA and three other known antecedents to innovation, as well as innovation itself, were measured. It was found that PA (as a single variable) was responsible for 5.7% of the variance in innovation. Items in the PA scale with a clear link to innovation were identified, and thematically integrated. It was further found that, when PA was combined with other antecedents of innovation, leading to 26.6% of the variance in innovation being explained, the role of PA was significant, though mostly secondary. Proactive personality was the most dominant predictor of innovation. The importance and relative importance of PA as an antecedent to innovation in the workplace has thus been established. The outcomes of this study may assist managers and human resource practitioners to focus on appropriate, evidence-based information when attempting to enhance innovation.

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