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Motivation and Performance: The Cycle of Work Effort – Xander van Lill

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

Postponed to October 2023



Performance reviews are often viewed as meaningless bi-annual events, and this perception has been exacerbated by the rise of remote work. Consequently, some organisations are curtailing or even abandoning the performance review process altogether. However, such a short-sighted strategy may be associated with a limited understanding of the complex nature surrounding performance management. Performance reviews serve four critical functions that may be even more vital in the context of remote work, as outlined by Aguinis and Burgi-Tian (2021), namely:


  1. Providing employees with strategic direction,

  2. Offering employees opportunities for professional growth,

  3. Ensuring fair and equitable administrative decisions related to pay and promotion based on merit, and

  4. Identifying and retaining high-performing talent.


Performance is just one element of a broader cycle of work effort. This presentation aims to contextualize performance reviews within a larger framework of "meaning-creation" or "purpose-seeking," arguing that performance reviews are an essential component of the survival, progress, and well-being of the collective human enterprise.


Xander van Lill is a senior research associate at the Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management at the University of Johannesburg. He is also a research affiliate at JVR Psychometrics, where he is involved in research related to psychological assessments. Xander holds a professional registration as an industrial psychologist with the HPCSA and a provisional psychologist with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). He served as an executive member of the Society for Industrial and Organisational Psychology of South Africa (SIOPSA). His academic and consulting interests include psychometrics, individual differences, work motivation, and work performance. His research publications can be found on Google Scholar or ResearchGate.

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