Eric M Russell (7/23/2012)
Regardless of that formal methodology is used for appraisals, I expect that most managers mentally "stack rank" the employees in their department anyhow. What we're talking about here is a process that makes it more transparent; at least the team members know where they stand.
I don't know whether that's true or not. What I do know is that I've never used stack ranking except when forced to, and no manager I've respected ever has either. So I suspect you are wrong, although I don't know for sure.