Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Affairs and Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Ralph C. Chandler

Second Advisor

William P. Browne

Third Advisor

Kathleen M. Reding


The research explored whether or not a relationship existed between the performance appraisal criteria used by the Social Security Administration and actual performance between 1984 and 1990. The issue was whether or not either of the diverse sets of performance appraisal criteria was more effective in improving performance than the other and whether or not base pay should be tied to the results of the performance appraisal system.

The methodology for this study was both quantitative and qualitative. The qualitative technique of content analysis was done on the sets of performance appraisal criteria to assess the extent to which each set had the research attributes of positive, negative, quantitative and qualitative referents. The quantitative analysis involved using regression analysis and a £.-test to determine whether any significant improvement occurred within either set, including both sets together or between the sets. Processing times for Retirement, Survivor’s and Disability claims were the operational data analyzed for improvement.

The Chi-square analysis of the research attributes indicated a significant difference between the two sets of criteria. It was found that the second set of criteria was more negative and quantitative than the first set. The quantitative analysis of the eight possible relationships between actual performance and criteria set revealed only one relationship improved while seven did not.

The conclusion was that neither set was associated with improved performance and that base pay should not be tied to the system until better measurement criteria can be emplaced. The conclusions also called for further research on the relationship between the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 and performance standards government wide in terms of the research attributes used in this study.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access