Submitted by jocadl on
I saw this article today and found it very interesting: http://m.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2012/07/microsoft-downfall-emails-s...
Do you think it's credible, or is someone just fueling the PR engine for an upcoming book?
What resonated with me most was the criticism of "stack ranking" employees at Microsoft (forcing managers to "declare a certain percentage of employees as top performers, good performers, average, and poor"). My employer also does that, and I believe it's the most dysfunctional performance management practice: If you, as a manger, get to choose ten employees for a new organization, and you pick the smartest ten, you'll be punished: someone has to get the poor rating, he'll know what's going on, he'll have alternatives (if they're actually smart). They will leave and you lose. The system effectively sets an incentive to hire sub-standard people.
Or doesn't it? Am I missing something? What do others think?
Not that simple
You might find this previous discussion of the topic interesting (including Mark's perspective): http://www.manager-tools.com/forums-1360
Microsoft's current situation ("downfall" is too strong a word for a company still profitable with great cash flow!) is perhaps more strategic than operational. They have some very strong businesses (Xbox, Office. Windows), some good position in emerging markets (Azure, Live) and some struggles (mobile devices).
I seems unlikely that this situation can be explained by an HR ranking practice.
updated URL to forum discussion
The URL in the above reply no longer works. I did some digging and believe I have found the forum discussion from 2006: