Types of Rater Errors

Types of Rater Errors

Research by Dessler (2000) shows that rater errors occur systematically when a person in an organization or business observe and evaluate other individuals. Types of rater errors include:

Stereotype error: the error arises when the manager or supervisor judges an individual in an organization based on the group that the individual belongs. As an example, the supervisor may have a belief that people in a particular group have poor managerial or communication skills (Mathis & Jackson, 2003).

Spillover error: turning to the work of United States and Farrell (2009), one finds that this type of error occurs when a supervisor uses the outcomes of the previous performance to determine the current rating or performance. Scores obtained from past periods influences the current ratings of employees.

Attribution error: the error occurs when the leader of a group either supervisor or the manager attributes the performance of an individual based on the tendencies of disposition without taking into consideration the characteristics of the situation. The supervisors may have various importance where an individual works, ignoring the features at stake.

Negativity error: the error arises when people emphasize more on negative information than on neutral and positive ones. As an example, a rater may observe a single negative incident between clients and other stakeholders in the organization and a multiple of positive interactions and focus on the negative information (Dessler, 2000).

How to combat the errors

To control the errors, the supervisor should base the rating of an employee on his or her observation of the behavior of an employee instead of making own perception judgement. In addition, the supervisor should look at the competencies of each employee separately. The managers and supervisors should rate every employee based on his or her behavior and not compare with other workers. Also, the supervisor should continuously look at the employee’s competencies before making judgment.


Dessler, G. (2000). Human resource management. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Mathis, R. L., & Jackson, J. H. (2003). Human resource management. Mason, OH: Thomson/South-western.

United States, & Farrell, B. S. (2009). Human capital: Monitoring of safeguards and addressing employee perceptions are key to implementing a civilian performance management system in DOD: report to congressional committees. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Govt. Accountability Office.


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