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Heymans Colloquium: Tina Urbach - Receiving negative feedback for proactive behavior: Effects on future proactive motivation

Wanneer:wo 02-07-2014 11:00 - 12:00
Waar:H0222

LECTURER Dr. Tina Urbach (University of Potsdam, Germany)

TITLE Receiving negative feedback for proactive behavior: Effects on future proactive motivation

DATE & TIME Wednesday, 2 July 2014, 11.00 - 12.00 hrs

LOCATION Room H. 0222, Heymans Building, Grote Kruisstraat 2/1, Groningen

ABSTRACT Recent research shows that employees are not always rewarded for being proactive; they might even receive negative feedback from supervisors or coworkers. We present two experimental studies that investigate how receiving negative feedback for making an improvement suggestion affects employees’ motivation to be proactive in the future. In general, negative feedback denotes a gap between current performance and given standards of excellence, which individuals strive to reduce. The nature of effects such feedback exerts on behavior depends, amongst others, on feedback source and feedback quality. In Study 1 we investigated whether receiving negative feedback from coworkers versus supervisors affects employees’ motivation to be proactive in the future. In written scenarios we manipulated whether negative feedback was received from the supervisor or a peer (working individuals, N = 103). We measured participants’ affect following the feedback manipulation, and their motivation to voice suggestions to a supervisor vs. peer again. Results show that negative feedback from the supervisor was followed by lower proactive motivation as compared to peer feedback; this effect was partially mediated by low activation unpleasant affect. In Study 2 we explored the effects of two qualities of negative supervisor feedback, i.e. fact-based negative feedback versus arbitrary negative feedback that reflects personal preferences. Feedback quality was manipulated at three levels (positive vs. fact-based negative vs. arbitrary negative) using written scenarios (nursing staff, N = 53); we measured participants’ motivation to show proactive behavior in the future. Compared to receiving positive or fact-based negative feedback, arbitrary negative feedback reduced participants’ future motivation to be proactive, but only for participants high on trait personal initiative. Negative feedback did not per se diminish employees’ motivation to be proactive, but arbitrary negative feedback particularly deteriorated highly proactive individuals’ motivation.

________________________________________ For more information you may contact dr. H.(Hannes) Zacher, email address: H.Zacher@rug.nl