Is there an alternative to forced 360 that does the same thing?
One of the issues with 360 degree feedback as it is often used is that a company forces employees to participate. We know that feedback which is forced upon a person, is unasked for, and is not under the control of the person receiving it tends to have little positive impact, or in fact, negative impact.
Clearly, it's possible to have a 360 feedback system that accomplishes the same purported goals of forced systems. The first method is simply to have a less rigid, more flexible and more face-to-face approach to feedback in the workplace. Why not provide discussion opportunities where, for example, employees who choose to, can solicit and discuss feedback from their coworkers or managers? This can be done voluntarily, and it has the advantage of removing problems associated with anonymity.
Or, there's no particular reason why a company cannot have an opt-in 360 degree feedback system. After all, since 360 feedback is intended to help employees improve, and should never be used for other purposes, why insist all employees participate?
So, yes, it's possible to remove the coercive and forced nature of some 360 degree feedback systems, and in the process, actually improve their power and usefulness for those that voluntarily participate.