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Peer Review Helps Students Build Managerial Skills

performance review Credit: Checlist image via Shutterstock

Business students who repeatedly evaluate their classmates during school end up as more successful managers in the workplace, according to a new study.

The study from Concordia University's John Molson School of Business revealed that the process of rating the work of one's peer, a touchstone of many business school classes, helps shape better businesspeople.

"These findings demonstrate the added value of incorporating standardized evaluations into business school group work," said Stéphane Brutus, a professor and chair of the department of management at Concordia, in Montreal. "It is an efficient way to build evaluation skills, which is very relevant to managerial practice in the workplace."

The research was based on the examination of results from thousands of standardized online peer evaluations that assessed cooperation, creativity and group-related competencies.

According to the study, the findings prove that the repeated experience of evaluating peers in undergraduate classes results in students becoming more confident and skilled in the task of evaluating others.

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Brutus believes that means students who have gone through the frequent experience of evaluating their peers emerge better equipped to act as effective managers.

A standardized peer evaluation system can contribute toward students' development of additional skills that not only have direct value in the classroom, but will also be immediately transferable and relevant to shaping more effective employees, according to Brutus.

"Managers very often see employee evaluations as something unpleasant that is best avoided, or gone through as quickly as possible," Brutus said. "I am confident that experience with the (peer evaluation systems) increases students' level of comfort with performance evaluations once they hit the workplace."

The study was recently published in the journal of the Academy of Management Learning and Education.

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.