Academic journal article The Journal of Business Communication

Will Individuals Who Need to Improve Their Performance the Most, Volunteer to Receive Videotaped Feedback?

Academic journal article The Journal of Business Communication

Will Individuals Who Need to Improve Their Performance the Most, Volunteer to Receive Videotaped Feedback?

Article excerpt

As the result of improvements in video technology and reductions in the costs of video equipment, videotaped feedback has become a widely used educational technique in business communication programs. Although videotaped feedback has proven effective in a variety of situations (Davis, Tedesco, Nicosia, Brewer, Harnett & Ferry, 1988; Decker, 1983; Hummel & Batty, 1989; Mills & Pace, 1989), some individuals have been reluctant to participate (Ho, Hosford & Johnson, 1985; Kimball & Cundick, 1977; Yenawine & Arbuckle, 1971). In fact, Moore, Chernell, and West (1965) reported that on the first viewing of one's videotape the recipients "uniformly referred to it as unpleasant and wondered why we were making them endure such a harrowing experience". As a result some trainers or educators may be inclined to allow students to choose whether to participate in videotape exercises.

Allowing individuals to decide whether they will receive training or to choose the type of training they will receive may improve motivation and learning. Hicks and Klimoski (1987), for example, found that choice to attend training was associated with more favorable post-training reactions and higher achievement scores. In another study, Baldwin, Magjuka and Loher (1991) found that those trainees who were given a choice of which training program they wanted to attend, provided they received their choice, had greater motivation to learn. However, trainees who were allowed to choose but who were subsequently denied their choice, were less motivated and learned less than those not asked to participate in the choice of training (Baldwin et al., 1991).

Other perils of participation have been noted in the education literature. For example, researchers found that students most enjoy the teaching method from which they learn the least (Clarke; 1982). Specifically, high ability students prefer more structured and directive methods which lower the learning "load" on them, but learn best from more open and permissive approaches which increase the "load" on them. Lower ability students prefer permissive methods, but learn best with more structured approaches. If students do not always choose the teaching method most beneficial to them, it is also possible that participants in training programs will choose not to participate in training exercises which would benefit them.

We wished to determine whether low performing students, when given a choice, are more or less likely than high performing students to seek videotaped feedback on their performance. In addition, this study examined the impact of three individual difference variables--self-esteem, self-efficacy and public self-consciousness--on student choice to seek videotaped feedback.


Ashford and Cummings (1983) identified a variety of motives that enter into the feedback-seeking process. The first of these is a rational desire to obtain useful information. Individuals seek feedback because it allows them to correct errors and attain goals. On the other hand, some people may avoid feedback in order to protect their ego or self-esteem (Ashford & Cummings, 1983). Feedback is evaluative information, thus, the possibility of receiving negative information about oneself may be threatening and may deter people from seeking feedback (Swann, Pelham & Krull, 1989). Because low performers receive more negative information than high performers, it is hypothesized:

H1: Low performers are less likely than high performers to seek videotaped feedback.

Potentially negative feedback may not be equally threatening to all people. For example, individuals with high self-esteem may not see negative feedback as a threat to their egos (McFarlin & Blascovitch, 1981). Rather, they may see this information as instrumental in improving their subsequent behavior. In contrast, negative feedback may be particularly threatening to low self-esteem individuals because it would confirm or strengthen their perceptions of low self-worth (Kolditz & Arkin, 1981). …

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