Evaluative Ratings and Gender: The Dynamics of Assessing Employee Performance in Three Organizations in the Uruguayan's Public Sector

Doctoral Dissertation


This thesis looks at the new performance appraisal procedures introduced by processes of transformation and reform of three organizations of the Uruguayan state. These organizational rules have two novel features that make them particularly interesting for a study of organizational inequality: the introduction of workplace stratification by their design and the attachment of economic compensations as a premium for the best rated employees. By focusing on the ratings of men and women in professional and technical jobs, I seek to answer whether and how the structures of work and the content of the evaluative rules determine any rating difference between the genders. Therefore, the point of departure of this research is the analysis of a gender evaluative gap, taking contending structural theories of organizational inequalities for deriving specific hypotheses. The statistical results show, however, that the genders are on an equal standing for the most part and occasionally, women gain from the rating process, which are empirical anomalies that the theories employed here do not truly respond. To account for this unexpected outcome, I bring into the explanation dynamic considerations about supervisors and raters and conceptualize them as “strategic actors," who actively search to equalize their subordinates on their ratings. The theoretical story that emerges from this research is that supervisors attempt to create equality in such a way that it makes gender status beliefs less relevant in resource-allocation processes, even if this is unintended. This strategic use of organizational rules is rooted in the lack of fit between the institutional basis of the performance appraisals and supervisors’ own assessments of the workplace, including the impact of ratings on their work groups, thus calling attention to the political nature of personnel management. As a determinant of inequality, I conclude that the political nature of organizational rules is a crucial factor in light of increasingly gender-integrated workplaces and continual managerial reforms of public bureaucracies.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-07082004-100213

Author Ana Laura Rodriguez Gusta
Advisor David S. Hachen, Jr.
Contributor David S. Hachen, Jr., Committee Chair
Contributor Robert Fishman, Committee Member
Contributor Felicia LeClere, Committee Member
Contributor Teresa Ghillarducci, Committee Member
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline Sociology
Degree Name PhD
Defense Date
  • 2004-06-30

Submission Date 2004-07-08
  • United States of America

  • evaluative procedures

  • public administration

  • civil service

  • gender and bureaucracy

  • human resources

  • state reform

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


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