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.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • compliance audit

    A compliance audit is a comprehensive review of an organization's adherence to regulatory guidelines.

  • regulatory compliance

    Regulatory compliance is an organization's adherence to laws, regulations, guidelines and specifications relevant to its business...

  • Whistleblower Protection Act

    The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 is a law that protects federal government employees in the United States from ...

SearchSecurity

  • brute force attack

    Brute force (also known as brute force cracking) is a trial and error method used by application programs to decode encrypted ...

  • spyware

    Spyware is software that is installed on a computing device without the user's knowledge. Spyware can be difficult to detect; ...

  • ATM black box attack

    An ATM black box attack, also referred to as jackpotting, is a type of banking-system crime in which the perpetrators bore holes ...

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 ...

  • warm site

    A warm site is a type of facility an organization uses to recover its technology infrastructure when its primary data center goes...

  • disaster recovery (DR) test

    A disaster recovery test (DR test) is the examination of each step in a disaster recovery plan as outlined in an organization's ...

SearchStorage

  • enterprise storage

    Enterprise storage is a centralized repository for business information that provides common data management, protection and data...

  • disk array

    A disk array, also called a storage array, is a data storage system used for block-based storage, file-based storage or object ...

  • optical storage

    Optical storage is any storage type in which data is written and read with a laser. Typically, data is written to optical media, ...

Close