TU Darmstadt / ULB / TUbiblio

Feedback and Appreciation at Work

Gauglitz, Rosemarie Ellen (2019):
Feedback and Appreciation at Work.
Darmstadt, Technische Universität, [Online-Edition: https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/8855],
[Ph.D. Thesis]

Abstract

Appreciation and feedback at work could barely be more popular at the moment. In particular, practical recommendations stress the effectiveness of appreciation and feedback in boosting employee motivation and performance, and provide specific suggestions on how they should be applied at work. The aim of this dissertation is to scrutinize some of the practical recommendations on appreciation and feedback in the context of existing theories and empirical results, and to put these recommendations to an empirical test. The first part of this research focused on the practical recommendation to boost employee motivation and performance with appreciation by investigating whether the effects of appreciation are as positive as commonly assumed. We used social exchange theory and the norm of reciprocity to theoretically explain why employees who feel appreciated at work will return this goodwill with increased work engagement and organizational citizenship behavior. We conducted a cross-sectional online survey (N = 183, 53% female) and a two-wave online survey (N = 117, 68.4% female). As expected, perceived appreciation positively affected work engagement and organizational citizenship behavior, and explained unique variance over and above leader-member exchange and perceived organizational support. Positive reciprocity norms moderated the effect of perceived appreciation on work engagement. Perceived appreciation also mediated the positive effect of feedback environment on work engagement and organizational citizenship behavior. Our results imply that perceived appreciation acts as a socioemotional resource which elicits obligations to reciprocate within the employee. The second part of this research challenged the practical recommendations that positive feedback should precede negative feedback in order to soften the blow of the negative feedback that is yet to come and that feedback should always be specific to improve performance. To make specific predictions about the effects of feedback order and feedback specificity, we developed a simple, schematic self-regulatory action cycle based on common theories of self-regulation and models of feedback processing that starts with the feedback message and ends with (potential) performance improvement. We conducted an online experiment (fictitious written feedback, N = 198, 83.3% female) and a laboratory experiment (genuine face-to-face feedback, N = 100, 49% female). The effects of feedback order were as expected: a feedback order negative-positive was perceived more negatively and led to more performance improvement than a feedback order positive-negative. Further, the effect of feedback order on performance improvement was mediated by perceived negativity. Unexpectedly, feedback specificity did not affect performance improvement. Specific feedback in the order negative-positive resulted in the highest performance improvement (interaction between feedback order and feedback specificity). Our results imply that feedback messages should start with negative feedback if the primary objective is to improve employee performance. The third part of this research changed perspective by focusing on the effects of feedback content (i.e. if the feedback to given is positive or negative) on the feedback giver. We expected effects of feedback content on the giver’s experienced effort, affect, and satisfaction because of anticipated face loss, the resulting attempts to mitigate face threats, and empathic reactions of the feedback giver. We conducted a scenario experiment (N = 172; 70% female) in which participants gave positive or negative written feedback. As expected, feedback givers perceived giving negative feedback to be more demanding, less satisfying, and experience less positive and more negative affect after giving negative feedback. Further, a follow-up study (scenario experiment, N = 113, 72% female) provided support for our theoretical assumption of anticipated face threat by showing that feedback recipients judged the feedback giver to be less warm and less competent after receiving negative feedback. These results might explain the reluctance of managers and/or colleagues to give negative feedback. The present studies demonstrate that appreciation and feedback can indeed be effective in boosting employee motivation and performance. However, results also show that concerning feedback, it may be difficult to find a balance between the recipient’s and the giver’s needs. Further, these studies do not provide a final conclusion about whether practical recommendations should generally be accepted or rejected. Future research could focus on the development and dissemination of valid practical recommendations which might contribute to a sustainable improvement of working conditions.

Item Type: Ph.D. Thesis
Erschienen: 2019
Creators: Gauglitz, Rosemarie Ellen
Title: Feedback and Appreciation at Work
Language: English
Abstract:

Appreciation and feedback at work could barely be more popular at the moment. In particular, practical recommendations stress the effectiveness of appreciation and feedback in boosting employee motivation and performance, and provide specific suggestions on how they should be applied at work. The aim of this dissertation is to scrutinize some of the practical recommendations on appreciation and feedback in the context of existing theories and empirical results, and to put these recommendations to an empirical test. The first part of this research focused on the practical recommendation to boost employee motivation and performance with appreciation by investigating whether the effects of appreciation are as positive as commonly assumed. We used social exchange theory and the norm of reciprocity to theoretically explain why employees who feel appreciated at work will return this goodwill with increased work engagement and organizational citizenship behavior. We conducted a cross-sectional online survey (N = 183, 53% female) and a two-wave online survey (N = 117, 68.4% female). As expected, perceived appreciation positively affected work engagement and organizational citizenship behavior, and explained unique variance over and above leader-member exchange and perceived organizational support. Positive reciprocity norms moderated the effect of perceived appreciation on work engagement. Perceived appreciation also mediated the positive effect of feedback environment on work engagement and organizational citizenship behavior. Our results imply that perceived appreciation acts as a socioemotional resource which elicits obligations to reciprocate within the employee. The second part of this research challenged the practical recommendations that positive feedback should precede negative feedback in order to soften the blow of the negative feedback that is yet to come and that feedback should always be specific to improve performance. To make specific predictions about the effects of feedback order and feedback specificity, we developed a simple, schematic self-regulatory action cycle based on common theories of self-regulation and models of feedback processing that starts with the feedback message and ends with (potential) performance improvement. We conducted an online experiment (fictitious written feedback, N = 198, 83.3% female) and a laboratory experiment (genuine face-to-face feedback, N = 100, 49% female). The effects of feedback order were as expected: a feedback order negative-positive was perceived more negatively and led to more performance improvement than a feedback order positive-negative. Further, the effect of feedback order on performance improvement was mediated by perceived negativity. Unexpectedly, feedback specificity did not affect performance improvement. Specific feedback in the order negative-positive resulted in the highest performance improvement (interaction between feedback order and feedback specificity). Our results imply that feedback messages should start with negative feedback if the primary objective is to improve employee performance. The third part of this research changed perspective by focusing on the effects of feedback content (i.e. if the feedback to given is positive or negative) on the feedback giver. We expected effects of feedback content on the giver’s experienced effort, affect, and satisfaction because of anticipated face loss, the resulting attempts to mitigate face threats, and empathic reactions of the feedback giver. We conducted a scenario experiment (N = 172; 70% female) in which participants gave positive or negative written feedback. As expected, feedback givers perceived giving negative feedback to be more demanding, less satisfying, and experience less positive and more negative affect after giving negative feedback. Further, a follow-up study (scenario experiment, N = 113, 72% female) provided support for our theoretical assumption of anticipated face threat by showing that feedback recipients judged the feedback giver to be less warm and less competent after receiving negative feedback. These results might explain the reluctance of managers and/or colleagues to give negative feedback. The present studies demonstrate that appreciation and feedback can indeed be effective in boosting employee motivation and performance. However, results also show that concerning feedback, it may be difficult to find a balance between the recipient’s and the giver’s needs. Further, these studies do not provide a final conclusion about whether practical recommendations should generally be accepted or rejected. Future research could focus on the development and dissemination of valid practical recommendations which might contribute to a sustainable improvement of working conditions.

Place of Publication: Darmstadt
Divisions: 03 Department of Human Sciences
03 Department of Human Sciences > Institute for Psychology
03 Department of Human Sciences > Institute for Psychology > Organisations- und Wirtschaftspsychologie
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2019 19:55
Official URL: https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/8855
URN: urn:nbn:de:tuda-tuprints-88553
Referees: Keith, Prof. Dr. Nina and Schmitz, Prof. Dr. Bernhard
Refereed / Verteidigung / mdl. Prüfung: 2 May 2019
Alternative Abstract:
Alternative abstract Language
Wertschätzung und Feedback bei der Arbeit könnten momentan kaum populärer sein. Praktische Empfehlungen unterstreichen insbesondere die Effektivität von Wertschätzung und Feedback beim Steigern von Mitarbeitermotivation sowie -leistung und geben spezifische Hinweise, wie diese bei der Arbeit eingesetzt werden können. Diese Dissertation zielt darauf ab, einige dieser praktischen Empfehlungen im Kontext existierender Theorien und aktueller empirischer Befunde zu hinterfragen sowie diese Empfehlungen empirisch zu überprüfen. Der erste Teil der Untersuchungen konzentriert sich auf die praktische Empfehlung, Leistung und Motivation der Mitarbeiter/innen mittels Wertschätzung zu steigern, und untersucht daher, ob die Auswirkungen von Wertschätzung tatsächlich so positiv sind wie allgemein angenommen. Mithilfe der sozialen Austauschtheorie sowie der Reziprozitätsnorm erklären wir, wieso Mitarbeiter/innen, die sich wertgeschätzt fühlen, im Gegenzug mehr Arbeitsengagement und Extra-Rollenverhalten zeigen. Wir führten eine Querschnittsstudie (N = 183, 53% weiblich) und eine Längsschnittstudie (N = 117, 68.4% weiblich) durch. Wie erwartet hatte wahrgenommene Wertschätzung positive Effekte auf Arbeitsengagement und Extra-Rollenverhalten und erklärte zusätzliche Varianz über wahrgenommene organisationale Unterstützung und Vorgesetzten-Mitarbeiter-Austausch hinaus. Positive Reziprozitätsnormen moderierten den Effekt von wahrgenommener Wertschätzung auf Arbeitsengagement. Wahrgenommene Wertschätzung mediierte zudem den positiven Effekt der Feedback-Umgebung auf Arbeitsengagement und Extra-Rollenverhalten. Die Ergebnisse dieser Untersuchungen implizieren, dass wahrgenommene Wertschätzung eine sozioemotionale Ressource darstellt, die bei Mitarbeiter/innen eine gefühlte Verpflichtung, diesen Gefallen zu erwidern, auslöst. Der zweite Teil der Untersuchungen hinterfragt die praktischen Empfehlungen, Feedback mit positiven Inhalten zu beginnen, um den Schock der nachfolgenden negativen Inhalte abzumildern, und Feedback zum Zwecke der Leistungsverbesserung immer spezifisch zu gestalten. Um genaue Vorhersagen bezüglich der Effekte von Feedback-Reihenfolge und Feedback-Spezifität machen zu können, entwickelten wir einen einfachen, selbst-regulatorischen Handlungszyklus auf Basis allgemeiner Theorien zu Selbstregulation und Feedback-Verarbeitung, der mit einer Feedbacknachricht beginnt und mit (potentieller) Leistungsverbesserung endet. Wir führten ein Online-Experiment (fiktives Feedback, N = 198, 83.3% weiblich) und ein Laborexperiment (echtes Face-to-Face-Feedback, N = 100, 49% weiblich) durch. Die Effekte von Feedback-Reihenfolge waren wie erwartet: Feedback in der Reihenfolge negativ-positiv wurde negativer wahrgenommen und führte zu mehr Leistungsverbesserung als Feedback in der Reihenfolge positiv-negativ. Darüber hinaus mediierte die wahrgenommene Negativität den Effekt von Feedback-Reihenfolge auf Leistungsverbesserung. Unerwarteterweise gab es keinen Effekt der Feedback-Spezifität auf die Leistungsverbesserung. Spezifisches Feedback in der Reihenfolge negativ-positiv führte zur stärksten Leistungsverbesserung (Interaktion zwischen Feedback-Reihenfolge und -Spezifität). Die Ergebnisse dieser Untersuchungen implizieren, dass Feedback mit negativen Inhalten beginnen sollte, sofern das Feedback hauptsächlich auf Leistungsverbesserung abzielt. Der dritte Teil der Untersuchungen stellt einen Perspektivenwechsel dar durch den Fokus auf die Effekte von Feedback-Inhalt (d.h. ob das zu gebende Feedback positiv oder negativ ist) auf Feedback-Geber/innen. Wir gehen davon aus, dass der Feedback-Inhalt die wahrgenommene Anstrengung und die Zufriedenheit mit dem verfassten Feedback sowie den Affekt von Feedback-Geber/innen aufgrund von antizipiertem Gesichtsverlust, daraus resultierende Versuche, Gesichtsbedrohungen abzuschwächen, sowie empathische Reaktionen der Feedback-Geber/innen beeinflusst. Wir führten ein Szenario-Experiment (N = 172; 70% weiblich) durch, in dem Versuchspersonen schriftliches Feedback (entweder positiv oder negativ) verfassten. Wie erwartet wurde das Geben von negativem Feedback als anstrengender und weniger zufriedenstellend wahrgenommen und führte zu weniger positivem und mehr negativem Affekt. Darüber hinaus unterstützen die Ergebnisse einer Folgestudie (Szenario-Experiment, N = 113, 72% weiblich) unsere theoretische Annahme eines antizipierten Gesichtsverlusts, da Feedback-Empfänger/innen eine/n Feedback-Geber/in nach dem Erhalt von negativem Feedback als weniger kompetent und warm einschätzten. Die Ergebnisse dieser Untersuchungen können erklären, warum negatives Feedback eher ungern gegeben wird. Die vorliegenden Untersuchungen zeigen, dass Wertschätzung und Feedback tatsächlich Mitarbeitermotivation und -leistung steigern können. Die Ergebnisse bezüglich Feedback zeigen jedoch auch, dass es schwierig sein könnte, ein Gleichgewicht zwischen den Bedürfnissen von Feedback-Empfänger/innen und Geber/innen zu finden. Darüber hinaus ermöglichen diese Studien keine endgültige Schlussfolgerung hinsichtlich der Frage, ob praktische Empfehlungen generell akzeptiert oder abgelehnt werden sollen. Zukünftige Forschung könnte sich auf die Entwicklung und Verbreitung von validen praktischen Empfehlungen konzentrieren. Dies kann zu einer nachhaltigen Verbesserung von Arbeitsbedingungen beitragen.German
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