Demographics and Personal Characteristics as the Basis of Discrimination in Performance Appraisals


  • Sadia Nadeem
  • Nimra Tariq
  • Mobeen Khalid Khawaja


Discrimination, Performance Management System, Performance Appraisal, Cross-Cultural HRM, Gender Discrimination, Convergence Vs. Divergence of HRM, Pakistan.


This paper aims to understand demographic variables, such as gender, religious sects, age, physical attractiveness and perceived similarity as the basis of discrimination and bias in performance management in organizations of Pakistan. It also highlights the influence of discrimination on employee’s motivation and performance. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 39 interviewees from the telecom, banking, education and IT sectors. Thematic analysis was carried out on the 98,330 words of data generated through these interviews. Results indicate that discrimination in terms of gender and perceived similarity was prevalent in the appraisal processes; for gender, discrimination was pro-female. Physical attractiveness was considered to be a prerequisite for several jobs; hence, favorable treatment on this basis was not labeled as discrimination by the appraisers. Also, different religious sects were found to influence implementation of the performance management process. Thus, this paper provides a country specific insight of discrimination in performance management, identifying the discriminatory factors that hold particular importance in the Pakistani culture, and hence contributes to the literature on differences in discrimination across cultures. However, the scope of this research is limited to two large cities of Pakistan with a sample of 39 interviewees. A diverse sample e.g. in smaller cities and towns, and of less developed sectors of the economy can provide further insight.