2. Assessment Centres: The introduction of the concept of assessment centres as a method of performance method is traced back in 1930s in the Germany used to appraise its army officers. The 5
concept gradually spread to the US and the UK in 1940s and to the Britain in 1960s. The concept, then, traversed from the army to business arena during 1960s. The concept of assessment centre is, of course, of a recent origin in India. In India, Crompton Greaves, Eicher, Hindustan Lever and Modi Xerox have adopted this technique of performance evaluation. In business field, assessment centres are mainly used for evaluating executive or supervisory potential. By definition, an assessment centre is a central location where managers come together to participate in well- designed simulated exercises. They are assessed by senior managers supplemented by the psychologists and the HR specialists for 2-3 days. Assessee is asked to participate in in-basket exercises, work groups, simulations, and role playing which are essential for successful performance of actual job. Having recorded the assessee’s behaviour the raters meet to discuss their pooled information and observations and, based on it, they give their assessment about the assesee. At the end of the process, feedback in terms of strengths and weaknesses is also provided to the assesees. The distinct advantages the assessment centres provide include more accurate evaluation, minimum biasedness, right selection and promotion of executives, and so on. Nonetheless, the technique of assessment centres is also 6
plagued by certain limitations and problems. The technique is relatively costly and time consuming, causes suffocation to the solid performers, discourages to the poor performers (rejected), breeds unhealthy competition among the assessees, and bears adverse effects on those not selected for assessment.