Individuals are often called upon to work together in groups in businesses, schools, and a variety of other settings. This can be problematic for supervisors or managers, as one cannot simply judge an individual by the work he does but must instead consider individual contributions to the group. In a group evaluation, it is necessary to judge the overall quality of the work conducted by the group, but it is also necessary to judge the contributions of the members to ensure that no one is simply letting the other members of the group handle all of the work. It is often necessary to use peer evaluations in a group evaluation to accurately assess the performance of each group member.
A group evaluation must, first of all, be focused on the accomplishments of the group as a whole. A group should be reprimanded or rewarded as a whole for the quality and timeliness of the work done. The members in a group, particularly any in a position of leadership, share responsibility for the outcome of a given project. This is true regardless of whether or not a single member or a small subset of members is responsible for the outcome of a project. In general, if a given member is performing poorly, there are formal ways to bring this to the attention of a supervisor or manager to solve the problem before it has a substantially deleterious effect on a project.
Groups are, however, comprised of individuals, and the performance of those individuals must be assessed in any good group evaluation. A supervisor can easily assess the performance of a group as a whole based on the group's productivity, but evaluation of individuals is more difficult, as the supervisor or manager may not be directly involved in the day-to-day workings of the group. As such, peer evaluations that ask each group member to comment on the productivity of the other members of the group can be an excellent tool for this type of group evaluation.
Formal group evaluations may not be completely necessary for a manager or supervisor who regularly checks on the performance of groups working under him. Doing so allows the supervisor to keep track of the day-to-day work of the group members and on the overall progress of their projects. This may be difficult for supervisors who must keep track of several groups working on different projects or working in different locations, however.