Organizations frequently rely on peer performance ratings to capture employees’ unique and difficult to observe contributions at work. Though useful, peers exhibit meaningful variance in the accuracy and informational utility they offer about ratees. In this research, we develop and test theory which suggests that raters’ social network positions explains this variance in systematic ways. Drawing from information processing theory, we posit that members who occupy core (peripheral) positions in the network have greater (less) access to firsthand and secondhand performance information about ratees, which is in turn associated with more (less) accurate performance ratings. To overcome difficulties in obtaining a “true” performance score in interdependent field settings, we employ an external criterion comparison method to benchmark our arguments, such that larger validity coefficients between established predictors of performance (i.e., a ratee’s general mental ability [GMA] and conscientiousness) and peer performance ratings should reflect more (less) accurate ratings for core (peripheral) members. In Study 1, we use an organization-wide network in a technology startup company to examine the validity coefficient of a ratee’s GMA on performance as rated by central versus peripheral members. In Study 2, we attempt to replicate and extend Study 1’s conclusions in team networks using ratee conscientiousness as a benchmark indicator. Findings from both studies generally support the hypotheses that core network members provide distinct, and presumably more accurate, peer performance ratings than peripheral network members.
Academic & Professional Qualification
- PhD (Management and Organization), University of Iowa, 2012-2015
- Principles of Management
- Strategic Human Resource Management
- Team Social Network
- Leader Succession
- Work and Time
- Zhao, H. H., Deng, H., Chen, R. Parker, S. K. & Zhang, W. Fast or slow: How temporal work design shapes experienced passage of time and job performance. Forthcoming at Academy of Management Journal.
- Zhao, H. H., Li, N., Harris, T. B., Rosen, C. C., & Zhang, X. (2021). Informational Advantages in Social Networks: The Core-Periphery Divide in Peer Performance Ratings. Journal of Applied Psychology. 106(7), 1093-1102.
- Lam, W., Lee, C., Taylor, M. S., & Zhao, H. H. (2018). Does Proactive Personality Matter in Leadership Transitions? Effects of Proactive Personality on New Leader Identification and Responses to New Leaders and their Change Agendas. Academy of Management Journal. 61(1), 245-263.
- Deng, H., Walter, F., Lam, C. K., & Zhao, H. H. (2017). Spillover Effects of Emotional Labor in Customer Service Encounters Toward Coworker Harming: A Resource Depletion Perspective. Personnel Psychology. 70(2), 469-502.
- Zhao, H. H., Seibert, S. E., Taylor, M. S., Lee, C., & Lam, W. (2016). Not Even the Past: The Joint Influence of Former Leader and New Leader During Leader Succession in the Midst of Organizational Change. Journal of Applied Psychology. 101(12), 1730-1738.
- Li, N., Zhao, H. H., Walter, S. L., Zhang, X., & Yu, J. (2015). Achieving More With Less: Extra Milers’ Behavioral Influences in Teams. Journal of Applied Psychology. 100(4), 1025-1039.
- Huang, G., Zhao, H. H.*, Niu, X., Ashford, S. J., & Lee, C. (2013). Reducing Job Insecurity and Increasing Performance Ratings: Does Impression Management Matter? Journal of Applied Psychology. 98(5), 852-862. (*correspondence author)
1 Jul 2021
Journal of Applied Psychology