The Influence of Race, Sex, and Age on Performance Appraisal Bias in Public Parks and Recreation


  • William R. McKinney
  • John R. Collins, Jr.


Parks and recreation, personnel, performance appraisal, bias, discrimination, race, sex, age.


Today, using performance appraisal results to make decisions concerning an employee can often lead to litigation. Over the past fifty years, most supervisory or higher -level management positions in the field of parks and recreation have been held by white, often older, males. A major consequence of this "monodemographic" pervasiveness is possible bias in the evaluation of subordinates. The likelihood of rater discrimination is especially critical since there is an increasing percentage of minorities currently entering the field of parks and recreation. The purpose of this study was to examine recreation supervisors' ratings of subordinates in terms of race, sex, and age. The analysis revealed no significant differences in terms of the race and age of either the raters or theratees. However, female raters gavehigherratings than male raters by more than 20 points, and female ratees received scores averaging more than 35 points higher than the male average score, with both findings significant beyond the .01 level. The fact that females received higher performance evaluation scores, regardless of the rater's sex, may suggest that females are inherently better at performing the duties and responsibilities of the position under investigation or may represent a leniency effect more than a particular bias.





Regular Papers