Observation Interview definition

The act of passively observing an employee perform their job in order to gain insight into the demands and subtleties of the position or the way in which the individual carries out their job function and responds to stresses and demands.

A well-known example of the observation interview is Ofsted inspections in schools, where teachers are observed by an Ofsted representative and the school given an overall mark based on the findings of these interviews.

Some argue the futility of the observation interview due to the observer effect, or the theory that observation of a phenomenon changes it. The Hawthorne Effect may also come into play, which suggests that employees ramp up their productivity when they know they are being monitored.

Hiding the observation, known as unobtrusive observation, may solve this, but can be legally shaky. Another form of observation is time allocation (TA), which attempts to observe someone in a particular time and place before they know they are being observed.


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