Academic journal article Research and Practice in Human Resource Management

Feedback Management Strategies in Perceived Good and Poor Performance: The Role of Source Attributes and Recipient's Personality Disposition

Academic journal article Research and Practice in Human Resource Management

Feedback Management Strategies in Perceived Good and Poor Performance: The Role of Source Attributes and Recipient's Personality Disposition

Article excerpt


Employees seek feedback so as to gather or pass important information, which is required to enhance employees' contribution to organisational productivity, and thus, likely to lead to improved benefits for the employees. These feedbacks may be sought in situations where performance outcome is known or unknown. The current study is aimed at determining how source attributes and recipients' personality disposition effect the adoption of the various feedback strategies, when employee's perceive their performance as either good or poor; an area of inquiry that has not been covered by past studies. Using 400 participants, drawn from two organisations in Lagos, Nigeria, and hierarchical multiple regression analyses, the study identified significant direct and interactive effects of source expertise, reward power, relationship with recipients, and recipients' self esteem on the feedback strategies used in perceived good or poor performance. The study identified the strategic role of recipient's self esteem, and his/her relationship with the feedback source in the identified relationships. The implications of these results and a proposed direction for future studies are discussed.


Employees seek feedback when they are not sure of how well they are performing (Podsakoff & Sachriesheim 1985, Ashford & Tsui 1991, Carson, Carson & Roe 1993, Morrison 1993), and most recently it has been established that they also utilise various feedback strategies when they perceive they know how well or poorly they have performed (Moss, Valenzi & Taggart 2003). Information gathered during these feedback processes are valuable resources used in regulating behaviour, improving current and future performance (Podsakoff & Sachriesheim 1985, Tuckey, Brewer & Barnes 2006), for impression management, and conveying or highlighting performance, and to avoid or mitigate the effects of negative feedback (Moss, et al. 2003). All these domains have positive effects on individuals' contributions to organisational goals, and the possible maximisation of desired rewards for employees. The fact that individuals actively solicit and even manipulate feedback when performance is perceived to be good or poor has been recognised (Larson 1989, Morrison & Bies 1991), and lately established empirically (Moss, et al. 2003). According to Moss, et al. (2003), in the former situation, employees adopt feedback seeking behaviour (FSB) to draw attention to the good performance, while in the latter, they can adopt either feedback avoidance behaviour (FAB), to avoid getting negative feedback completely, or feedback mitigating behaviour FMB), to short circuit the likely negative feedback. These strategies are described in the literature review.

When considered as a general communication process involving a source and a recipient, the flow and acceptance of information during the feedback process is affected by source attributes, and recipients' personality disposition (Ilgen, Fisher & Taylor 1979, Tuckey, et al. 2006). There is the possibility that these effects will differ, depending on the strategy adopted when performance outcome is perceived to be known. The effects of these variables have been tested in past studies, under conditions of uncertain performance outcome, but the results were equivocal (Vancouver & Morrison 1995, Tuckey, et al. 2006). Since Moss, et al. (2003) developed the taxonomy of feedback management behaviours (FSB, FMB & FAB), no study was located that tested the effects of source attributes and personality disposition on these feedback behaviours. There is, therefore, the need for more studies, aimed at testing these effects during the enactment of the various feedback strategies in perceived good or poor performance, using actual survey data instead of scenario process (Pierce & Gardner 2004).

The first section of this study, the introductory part, is followed by the second section, containing the literature review and the hypotheses that were tested. …

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