Inflation of USAF officer performance reports analyzing the organizational environment
Wolfgeher, Stephane L.
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The Air Force Officer Evaluation System's purpose is to provide feedback, document a record of performance and potential, and provide centralized selection boards sound information for decision making. Officer Performance Reports are, and have historically been, considered "inflated". This research assumes inflation is counter to the purpose of the evaluation system and investigates why historical inertia towards inflation exists. This is done by viewing the evaluation system as an "open system" and using organization, behavior, evaluation, and game theory to analyze organizational structure, culture, rewards, people, and tasks in U.S. military systems to identify elements that contribute to or inhibit inflation. The structure of the military, military culture, and the role of performance evaluations in the promotion and reward systems all directly support inflation. Changing the evaluation form reduces inflation in the short term, but a whole systems approach must be taken to combat inflation in the long term. While some elements are unlikely to change only to reduce inflation, the analysis suggests the tool must be changed to permit rater accountability, culture must be altered to accept accurate evaluations, and small changes in structure and reward systems might be made to reduce the long-term tendency of evaluation inflation.
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