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Journal – Forced Ranking

Journal – Forced Ranking

Performance management is vital in enhancing an organization’s success. According to Rajeev (2012), the forced ranking system is used to help organizations make decisions about employee evaluation and compensation by ranking them from best to worst. The system includes placing employees in three categories. The first category is top performers. This category includes employees who exceed the organization’s performance expectations and are committed to improving the organization’s performance. The second category is average performers, which includes employees who meet the organization’s expectations and contribute to the organization’s success. The third category is poor performers. This category includes employees who do not meet the organization’s expectations. The forced ranking system is essential in differentiating rewards and pay among employees to motivate employees to improve their performance. This report will focus on the advantages and disadvantages of the forced ranking performance management process and an opinion on whether the system should be used as a performance management system in organizations.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Forced Ranking

One of the advantages of the forced ranking system is that it helps organizations identify high-performing employees whom traditional performance review frameworks may overlook. Therefore, organizations are able to reward employees appropriately, thus keeping them motivated and satisfied. According to Kholiq & Miftahuddin (2019), job satisfaction is essential in preventing employee turnover, thus enabling organizations to retain talented employees and avoid the costs of hiring and training new employees. The second advantage of the forced ranking system is helping organizations identify employees who need to be developed through various training and development programs. For example, employees ranked as poor performers may be performing poorly because they lack the skills and knowledge needed to complete assigned tasks, hence enabling an organization to design the right measures to improve their performance through training and development. The third advantage of the forced ranking system is that it allows organizations to reward employees based on their performance and not how long they have worked for the organization, thereby creating fairness in performance evaluation and reward.

According to MacLennan (2017), the main disadvantage of the forced ranking system is that it can create competition among employees as they strive to perform better than one another to be ranked at the top. Competition among employees can lead to tension and stress, which leads to reduced productivity and job dissatisfaction. The second disadvantage is the risk of inaccuracy and subjectivity because it relies on the manager’s perception of an employee’s contribution and work quality. Therefore, employees may resent the manager, leading to a lack of collaboration among employees. The forced ranking system also emphasizes employee performance instead of their development needs which could impact employee motivation and commitment to the organization.


The forced ranking system can present opportunities and risks for an organization, thus creating a dilemma on whether organizations should use it in performance evaluation and reward. Based on the analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of the system, I would conclude that the system should be used alongside other performance evaluation systems to prevent unfair evaluation of employees. For instance, using the forced ranking system alongside other performance evaluation systems can help prevent subjectivity and inaccuracy in performance evaluation by enabling managers to compare results from different systems to determine an employee’s contribution to the organization and work quality. Using other performance evaluation systems alongside the forced ranking system can also help reduce employee competition, hence increasing productivity and job satisfaction.


Kholiq, D. A., & Miftahuddin, M. (2019). Effect of job embeddedness, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment on employee turnover intention. TAZKIYA: Journal of Psychology, 5(1).

MacLennan, A. (2017). Forced Ranking Time to dismiss this underperformer?

Rajeev, P. N. (2012). Impact of forced ranking evaluation of performance on ethical choices: A study of proximal and distal mediators. International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics, 7(1), 37.


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Journal - Forced Ranking

Journal – Forced Ranking

Forced ranking is a controversial management tool that measures, ranks, and grades employees’ work performance based on their comparison with each other instead of against fixed standards. This assignment explores forced ranking.


  • Define the term ‘forced ’
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a ‘forced ranking’ performance management process?
  • Formulate an opinion and support it with properly cited source material and data.

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