According to researchers David N. Ammons and Stephen E. Condrey, if you want your performance program to work, you will need to clearly spell out and meet certain warranty conditions. While the concept of warranties is well understood in the marketing of consumer products (i.e., the conditions the consumer must meet for the productcar, television, etc.to work properly), it also applies to performance management.
If you purchase a television, the manufacturer will provide a warranty against defects in material and workmanship. The warranty will not be honored, however, if the television is abused or misused. If you adhere to the warranty conditions and a product does not work, the manufacturer will honor the warranty. Likewise, a performance management program will be successful only when implemented in an environment with certain characteristics present, that is, with certain "warranty conditions" met. If the organization fails to meet and maintain those conditions and the program ends up misused or misapplied, the program "won't work" to produce meaningful results. The same bad environment would defeat any new efforts.
In an article entitled "Performance Appraisal in Local Government: Warranty Conditions" published in the Spring 1991 issue of Public Productivity and Management Review, researchers Ammons and Condrey say that for any performance management system to have a fair trial, an organization must meet seven warranty conditions, which are:
Agencies planning to revise a performance management program would do well to include as part of their preliminary process assessing and developing their warranty conditions as they apply to their organizations. While a program cannot solve deep-seated institutional problems, or drive the revitalization of an agency, warranty conditions help focus an organization on setting performance management within a larger framework of supportive conditions for change.