Over at Mini-Microsoft, Microsoft employees are listing the details of their compensation changes after their performance reviews.
Reading through them, it is pretty clear that almost everyone is unhappy, both with their reviews and with their relative gains. Which is exactly what you would expect.
This is an instructive example of how forced rank and fine-grained compensation adjustments based on forced rank hurt morale and ends up competing people inside a company against each other.
What you want in an organization is people focused on working together as a team. But, when you use forced rank, a fixed compensation budget for the group, and compensation changes tied to rankings, success for everyone becomes a zero-sum game. You can do just as well by bringing down people on your team -- so you look relatively better -- as by helping people on your team. In fact, it is probably easier to do better by dragging down your colleagues because you have direct control over that.
Performance-based compensation sounds great in theory, but never works in practice, partly because managers lack the information and objectivity to implement it well, partly because people never remember what they do badly and so are almost always angered by the review and compensation adjustments.
For more on this topic, please see my earlier posts, "The problem with forced rank", "Management and total nonsense", and "Joel Spolsky on management methods".