What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of 360 degree feedback?

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Michael Ugulini eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In essence, 360 degree feedback is a method of evaluation that merges employee, employees' peers, superiors, as well as subordinates and customers concerns, questions, ideas, and viewpoints. The goal is to receive a well-rounded understanding from all stakeholders in an enterprise's products, services, policies, procedures, initiatives, and more. Feedback is typically asked for by company management on a specific concern.

One advantage of 360 degree feedback is that it promotes a corporate culture of respect and trust. This is true in small, mid-sized, and large business entities. This type of feedback promotes management- employee, and employee-employee cooperation. It gives everyone a sense that their views will be taken into account for the common good of the business and all the people who work in the business. By extension, this common good should benefit the company's customers.

Another advantage of 360 degree feedback is that a business receives information from sources they may typically never have sourced. The company may have only asked for employee feedback in the past. Now, they ask for feedback from customers, suppliers, and maybe peripheral departments in their enterprise that have a more minor role in a specific process. Therefore, that well-rounded view comes into sharper focus when many are asked to present their views, concerns, questions, tips, and advice.

One disadvantage of 360 degree feedback is not linking feedback to the goals, objectives, and mission of the company. This is haphazard feedback that encourages discourse that has nothing to do with the core initiatives of an enterprise. Therefore, this 360 feedback is a waste of time in the long run.

Another disadvantage of 360 degree feedback is asking for this feedback, then being lax in following up on the feedback. This    generally does not sit well with the individuals who were asked to give their views and such. They feel like they wasted their time and their suggestions were not taken seriously. Therefore, a company must follow up with these individuals to let them know what was done with their feedback.