The current study investigated the effect of a negative designation performance rating purpose in contrast to a positive designation purpose or a deservedness purpose on a) the ability of raters to differentiate amongst ratees at a later time and b) raters' tendencies to provide subsequently more severe or lenient ratings. Results from a laboratory study involving 102 participants indicated that positive designations tend to result in subsequently lenient ratings, while negative designations result in severe ratings. However, the nature of a rater’s previous decision had no discernable effect on the ability to differentiate levels of performance. Implications of these findings for the structuring of performance ratings procedures in contexts of short-term performance observation, such as assessment centers, are discussed. Keywords: Assessment centers; Performance rating; Assimilation effect; Rating leniency

Corresponding Author Information

Satoris S. Culbertson



8A Calvin Hall, Department of Management Kansas State University



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