Paul Kam Chan

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This dissertation focuses on raters' implicit theories of personality and performance and their influence on performance ratings. The manner in which behavioural exemplars are perceived to be associated make up "implicit theories". Implicit theories or inferential networks are developed by individuals based upon their experiences and are applied towards the interpretation of current experiences.;The first study defines explicitly the network of personality and performance interrelationships perceived by senior personnel managers and senior accountant managers who routinely make performance appraisal ratings. This is achieved via a multidimensional scaling of similarity ratings performed upon 20 personality and 8 performance behaviours. Raters' implicit theories of personality and performance not only overlapped but are definable along a reduced number of dimensions. Three dimensions are shown to be sufficient to describe raters' implicit theories and of these the first two are the most stable.;The second study builds on these findings and investigates the impact of raters' inferential networks and actual ratings of performance for two major job types using two different styles of performance rating forms, a trait based and a behaviourally based form. The impact of additional personality information on performance ratings is examined via the experimental manipulation of employee profiles. The question of whether inferential networks are selectively applied is examined. Study 2 provides evidence that raters incorporate personality information into individual scale ratings of ratee performance but not into ratings of overall effectiveness.;The third study was conducted in order to examine the impact of raters' implicit theories within a context in which raters were very familiar with the specific performance behaviours and actual performance was observed. Students' implicit theories are defined via a multidimensional scaling and the impact of these implicit networks is examined via an experimental study where students observe a videotape of teaching performance with or without prior personality information. Study 3 provides evidence that student raters also use the personality information in making teacher evaluation ratings of the videotape stimulus.



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