When Feedback Interventions Backfire: Why Higher Performance Feedback May Result in Lower Self-Perceived Competence and Satisfaction with Performance

Luffarelli, J., Gonçalves, D. & Stamatogiannakis, A. (2015). When Feedback Interventions Backfire: Why Higher Performance Feedback May Result in Lower Self-Perceived Competence and Satisfaction with Performance. Human Resource Management, doi: 10.1002/hrm.21739

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Abstract

In relative performance evaluation systems, appraisers may choose to adopt stricter or laxer evaluation criteria. When laxer (vs. stricter) criteria are used, higher absolute performance evaluations become easier (vs. harder) to achieve. Thus, each appraisee's absolute performance feedback and the mean of the distribution of absolute performance feedback are shifted upward (vs. downward). Yet, relative performance remains constant. When evaluation outcomes depend solely on relative performance, can the adoption of laxer (vs. stricter) criteria-leading to higher absolute performance feedback but no change in relative performance-influence appraisees' satisfaction with performance? Despite the ubiquity of such systems in organizations, research has not addressed this question. This article points to an important gap between practitioners' beliefs and research findings. We show that while most appraisers believe that higher absolute performance feedback will automatically result in more satisfaction with performance, the opposite may also happen. Specifically, we find that appraisees with a stronger (vs. weaker) chronic or contextual need to engage in social comparison are more satisfied with lower (vs. higher) absolute performance feedback. Overall, we demonstrate why and how feedback interventions in relative performance evaluation systems may backfire, and suggest a set of practical guidelines for maximizing appraisees' satisfaction with performance in such systems.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Cass Business School > Faculty of Management
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/13943

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