Re: Peer Review - my last

Subject: Re: Peer Review - my last
From: "Cheverie, Paul [Cont]" <paul -dot- cheverie -at- CANADA -dot- CDEV -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 1 Sep 1995 17:49:00 EDT

Micheal Priestly writes:

> I'm a little confused by the conflict-of-interest comment. Personally
> speaking, when I have someone competent working with me, I try to ensure
> _keep_ working with me: it's important to me, and to my performance, to
> good people to work with. So it's in my best interest to be honest on a
> review.

The conflict of interest comes in when two or more people are competing
for the same promotion, raise or whatever. The conflict is between the
individuals interest in self fulfillment and his/her responsibility to peers
in the interests of fair play and group harmony. The two interests are
diametrically opposed to each other.

Peer review only has a chance to work if it is done in an atmosphere
where there are no gains to be made by any individual by giving a good or a
bad assessment of a collegue. To my knowledge there are only two such
1 - where no gains can be made by an individual without the group making the
same gain (so much for personal initiative or the pursuit of excellance);
2 - where no gains can be made at all by either groups or individuals (which
isn't my idea of an ideal workplace either).
Both situations are utopian and inherently impractical.

The best that can be said for peer review is that it will bring
everyone subject to it too the lowest common denominator of the group and in
practise often reduces the overall level of excellance in an organization.
The worst that can be said for it is that it is disruptive to interpersonal
relations between employees, it is destructive in regard to group
cooperation and trust and it is useful only as a tool for control of an
unruly group (they will either become better behaved or be so busily at each
others throats that they will be too busy to bother anyone else).

On the other hand, peer review of work is always welcome, often sought
and often given in my office, but the focus of the review is the work and
how to improve it, not on the person as a professional.

Best Regards,
Paul C.

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