The relationships between performance evaluation practices and fairness perceptions

Thesis event information

Date and time of the thesis defence

Place of the thesis defence

Linnanmaa campus, Oulu Business School, lecture hall TA105

Topic of the dissertation

The relationships between performance evaluation practices and fairness perceptions

Doctoral candidate

MSc in Economics and Business Administration (Accounting) Thuy-Van Tran

Faculty and unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Oulu Business School, Department of Economics, Accounting and Finance

Subject of study



Associate Professor Antti Rautiainen, University of Jyväskylä


Professor Janne Järvinen, Oulu Business School, University of Oulu

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How performance evaluation practices influence employee fairness perceptions

Fair treatment is a pillar of a healthy, respectful organizational culture, and essential for the well-being of people in the workplace. It makes people more productive, committed, happier at work, which eventually leads to increased performance, revenue growth and company success. On the contrary, when employees feel unfair or unvalued, they may stop working hard, act against the organization’s objectives, or even leave the organization.

Performance evaluation practices are known to be among the most crucial sources of organizational fairness perceptions. How employees are treated, rewarded and promoted influences their sense of fairness. Despite the increased understanding about the topic in prior literature, there remains a few research gaps that need to be addressed.

This dissertation is premised on the importance of creating fair work environment. It aims to explore how companies’ performance evaluation practices influence employee perceptions of fairness from multiple theoretical angles.

The research points out the critical roles of supervisors who conduct the performance evaluation in guaranteeing fairness at work. It suggests that supervisors take the time to communicate, listen, give adequate feedbacks to their employees before giving their evaluation. This may mean having tough conversations about performance, salaries and reward decisions, but it will pay off by gaining the trust from employees, giving them the feeling of fairness.

The dissertation also highlights the importance of a transparent and consistent evaluation system which specifies clear goals, targets and expected behaviours of employees. More transparency and clarity can help employees know what to do and what is expected of them. The performance evaluation system, therefore, appears more accurate and fairer to employees.

In sum, the dissertation shows that fairness is ambiguous and complex; but it can be nurtured by the transparency, consistency, interpersonal communication, and impartiality of performance evaluation. That, in turn, helps organizations to grow and prospect, and even broader, contributing to strong and ethical workforce.
Last updated: 23.1.2024