Browse Definitions:
Definition

stacked ranking

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Stacked ranking is an employee evaluation method that slots a certain percentage of employees into each of several  levels of performance.  

Because the ranking is inherently somewhat arbitrary, the model is also sometimes referred to as a forced distribution. Such a model might assume a normal distribution, for example, in which 10% of employees are high achievers, 80% are satisfactory and valuable, and 10% are actually deleterious to the company.  When evaluating the staff, administrators assign individuals to those categories in such a way that the percentages assigned to each category remain constant.

One of the best-known stacked ranking systems is former General Electric CEO Jack Welch’s Vitality Curve, which assigns high-achieving employees, which he called “A players,”  to the top 20 percent, normally productive employees (B players) to the middle 70 percent level and unproductive employees (C players) to the bottom 10 percent rank. According to Welch, the top employees should be further motivated with bonuses and other rewards and the bottom 10 percent should be fired. GE has since moved away from the practice. 

Other companies that use (or did use) stacked ranking include Dow Chemical, Enron, Motorola, IBM and Yahoo. Microsoft followed the stacked ranking model for years but abandoned it in 2013 in response to employee complaints about the system.  

Proponents of stacked ranking claim that it motivates mid-range employees to aspire to top-level ranking, increases profits and clearly identifies underperformers. Critics of the model argue that it discourages cooperation, encourages unethical behavior and hampers staff cohesiveness and morale.

Thirty percent of Fortune 500 companies are said to use stacked ranking for employee evaluation. 

This was last updated in November 2013

Continue Reading About stacked ranking

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

SearchSecurity

  • computer exploit

    A computer exploit, or exploit, is an attack on a computer system, especially one that takes advantage of a particular ...

  • cyberwarfare

    Cyberwarfare is computer- or network-based conflict involving politically motivated attacks by a nation-state on another ...

  • insider threat

    Insider threat is a generic term for a threat to an organization's security or data that comes from within.

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

SearchStorage

  • OpenStack Block Storage (Cinder)

    OpenStack Block Storage (Cinder) is open source software designed to create and manage a service that provides persistent data ...

  • SATA Express (SATAe)

    SATA Express (SATAe or Serial ATA Express) is a bus interface to connect storage devices to a computer motherboard, supporting ...

  • DIMM (dual in-line memory module)

    A DIMM (dual in-line memory module) is the standard memory card used in servers and PCs.

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid flash array

    A hybrid flash array is a solid-state storage system that contains a mix of flash memory drives and hard disk drives.

  • 3D XPoint

    3D XPoint is memory storage technology jointly developed by Intel and Micron Technology Inc.

  • RRAM or ReRAM (resistive RAM)

    RRAM or ReRAM (resistive random access memory) is a form of nonvolatile storage that operates by changing the resistance of a ...

SearchCloudStorage

  • Google Cloud Storage

    Google Cloud Storage is an enterprise public cloud storage platform that can house large unstructured data sets.

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

Close