The effect of implicit person theory on performance appraisals

J Appl Psychol. 2005 Sep;90(5):842-56. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.90.5.842.


Four studies examined whether implicit person theory (IPT) regarding the malleability of personal attributes (e.g., personality and ability) affects managers' acknowledgment of change in employee behavior. The extent to which managers held an incremental IPT was positively related to their recognition of both good (Study 1) and poor (Study 2) performance, relative to the employee behavior they initially observed. Incremental theorists' judgments were not anchored by their prior impressions (Study 3). In the 4th study, entity theorists who were randomly assigned to a self-persuasion training condition developed a significantly more incremental IPT. This change in IPT was maintained over a 6-week period and led to greater acknowledgment of an improvement in employee performance than was exhibited by entity theorists in the placebo control group.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aptitude*
  • Career Mobility
  • Employee Performance Appraisal*
  • Female
  • Generalization, Psychological
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personal Construct Theory*
  • Personality*