Motivation and emotion/Book/2020/Performance feedback

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Performance feedback:
How can a manager give effective performance feedback to a worker?

Overview[edit | edit source]

Performance feedback is one of the most important factors in the workplace (Hattie & Timperley, 2007). Feedback has powerful influences on learning and achievement, which helps leaders to motivate employees. How to give effective performance feedback to workers is a significant lesson for managers. Motivational theories would help readers to understand the basic principles about performance feedback. In addition, performance feedback can apply to human resource and leadership styles, which gives examples about how to apply these theories in reality. This chapter introduces performance feedback and helps managers to give effective performance feedback to workers.

Focus questions
  • What is performance feedback?
  • The influence of performance feedback.
  • How does performance feedback influence worker behaviors?
  • How can motivational theories apply in the workplace?

What is performance feedback?[edit | edit source]

Feedback is one of the most powerful influences on learning and achievement (Hattie & Timperley, 2007). Performance feedback is given by managers or leaders regarding performance. Feedback is a process to give the information to workers, which is an important teaching process. As for the behaviour, feedback is not an answer to the behaviour, which to assist people comprehend, engage or develop effective strategies to process the information intended to be learned (Hattie & Timperley, 2007). Performance feedback is widely used in workplaces, which includes human resource management and leadership styles.

The influences of performance feedback can be positive or negative. Proper feedback can make listeners easier accept; they can get the information about where they can improve and how to improve. Performance feedback is not a judgement, which provides a learning process in reality. However, when managers give feedback incorrectly, receivers would feel frustrated, disappointed, angry or irritated. Managers may only express their dissatisfaction, but not help employees to find the solutions, which has negative effects to employees in workplace. However, effective feedback can help workers improve work performance and increase commitment to the company. This chapter explains motivational theories for performance feedback, and helps leaders to give effective feedback in workplace.

Types of feedback[edit | edit source]

picture for feedback
Figure 1. Giving feedback is one part of leaders' jobs.

Feedback is an important process of learning and achievement (Hattie & Timperley, 2007). Performance feedback is feedback given regarding performance. Feedback is the process to deliver the information from managers to workers, which is an important teaching process. Performance feedback can be divided into two types. According to time period, feedback can be divided into immediate feedback and delayed feedback. According to the reward and punishment, feedback can be positive and negative.

Immediate feedback and delayed feedback[edit | edit source]

Immediate feedback is given when the mistakes existed, and delayed feedback is given after the task completed. Research shows that if the feedback is given immediately, but not actionable, people would have the sense of privacy violation (Patil et al., 2015).

As for delayed feedback, which minimises interruption and avoid overreaction to immediate feedback (Patil et al., 2015). According to the research, we can find the immediate and delayed feedback can be given in different situations.

In the hospitality industry, service staffs make mistakes which leads bad outcomes to company or guests, managers should give the immediate feedback to correct behaviour. However, if the mistakes existed in the testing situation, like skills assessment, delayed feedback is beneficial.

Positive feedback and negative feedback[edit | edit source]

Positive feedback aims to motivate employee to persist in an activity when they doing something right. Hattie and Timperley (2007) demonstrated that people who has highly self-efficacious could make more optimistic predictions when they receive initial failure. In the meanwhile, low self-efficacious people receive the negative feedback, which can lead to less motivation. However, positive feedback can be given when workers do something managers want, they are encourgae to persist this behaviour in the future.

Negative feedback is tended to correct mistakes, and change bad behaviour. The way to get the negative feedback should be specific and do not beat around the bush. For instance, the processes of sandwich feedback are given something positive first, then give the negative feedback, and with the positive one at the end. The way to give the negative feedback will lose the positive first interaction when they experience follow-up constructive feedback, and forget what you said about their positive performances. A constructive negative feedback should have three important portions, which are capturing the situation, describing the behaviour, and explain the impact. The aim of negative feedback is to point out the mistakes and changing bad behaviour. However, managers use negative feedback to correct the bad bahevior in the workplace.

Case study

Sarah is a hotel manager. She has worked for the company for several years. These days the boss thought the workers have not been working as energetically as usual. How could Sarah make an improvement in this situation?

Motivational theories[edit | edit source]

There are three motivational theories to help us understand why managers can use performance feedback to motivate employees. Intrinsic motivation is based on interest, pleasure and satisfaction, while extrinsic motivation is working for external rewards. These two motivations can both lead to increase work efficiency. Cognitive evaluation theory and goal setting theory also help people to understand why performance feedback is important in workplace.

Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation[edit | edit source]

Motivation is the experience of desire or aversion, which express you want to something or avoid something. And is also an internal process that activate behaviour. Motivation can be divided into two aspects: extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation. According to the research, the influence of one will be probably dominate, if an incentive strengthen extrinsic motivation will, then the intrinsic motivation will undermine (Kuvaas et al., 2017).

Intrinsic motivation differs from extrinsic motivation, which tend to work for interest, pleasure and satisfaction (Putra et al., 2016). These people are not motivated by money, higher status, promotion, even longer paid vacation. They work for inside of themselves, to achieve the physiological needs and self-fulfillment needed. For instance, self-actualisation, self-esteem, belongingness and intimate relationships.

Extrinsic motivation focuses on the goal-driven reasons, for instance: people would get rewards or benefits when they are performing an activity (Lin, 2007). On the other hand, intrinsic motivation pays more attention to inherent pleasure and satisfaction from a specific activity (Lin, 2007). From the extrinsic motivational perspective, people behaviour is based on the value and benefits from the action. For example, people could work for financial rewards: pay, wages, bonuses, and other factors such as promotion, higher status. According to the research, extrinsic motivation as monetary reward was more effective in controlling behaviour than intrinsic motivation (Putra, Cho & Liu, 2016). There is previous study of 1,245 employees of 64 hotels in Hong Kong which demonstrated that good wages, and opportunity for advancement and development were the top three factors of motivation at work (Putra, Cho & Liu, 2016). In conclusion, extrinsic motivation is an important factor in the workplace.

Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation both can be applied in one task. People can work for both motivation, but the influence of one will probably dominate (Kuvaas, Buch, Weibel, Dysvik & Nerstad, 2017). For example, if a job is less inherently pleasure, employee will be more likely to see the extrinsic rewards, then the extrinsic motivation will likely dominate. In conclusion, Extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation are both important in the workplace.

Cognitive evaluation theory[edit | edit source]

Image of feedback
Figure 2. A success leader should be given effective feedback.

Cognitive evaluation theory demonstrates the extrinsic rewards do effect on intrinsic motivation. This theory explains the relationship between intrinsic motivation and extrinsic rewards. There are two main, and contrasting streams of assumptions exited in the literature review. The first one demonstrates that rewards can improve performance, the other predicts the extrinsic rewards can undermine intrinsic motivation and performance.

Intrinsic motivation is based to in the human need to be competent and self-determining (Deci & Porac, 1978, p. 151). However, there is a control experiment was design about extrinsic rewards and intrinsic motivation, which conducted by Hendijani, Bischak, Arvai and Dugar (2016). Participants were asked to do the assignment, and they would receive a participation fee or a reward depending on their performance. These results are opposite of cognitive evaluation assumption, which proposed that both performance-contingent rewards and intrinsic motivation improved motivation and performance (Hendijani, Bischak, Arvai, & Dugar, 2016). Gagné and Deci (2005) also supposed that extrinsic rewards have positive effect on work motivation, because extrinsic rewards is common used in reality, and people need to earn money to support their lives. However, it is efficacy to give extrinsic rewards to improve employee’s motivation and performance.

According to the research, cognitive evaluation theory can be applied in working environment. Managers and leaders can use extrinsic rewards to stimulate employees’ intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic rewards could be included psychological support and financial rewards. However, pay for performance schemes is widely used in working environment. Leaders set standards for employees with in a period or performance goals. Some people may achieve the goals and give the extrinsic rewards. This is a common strategy to stimulate the employee motivation and improve working performance.

Goal-setting theory[edit | edit source]

Goal setting can help manager to give effective feedback in workplace. Goal setting leads to creation of feedback loops. There are two possibilities of the output to the goal: positive feedback loops and negative feedback loops. Negative feedback can lead to change in the behaviour, which means the performance need to develop and improve. While positive feedback is the reinforcement, it helps employee to continue put more effect in this direction. It showed that the proper goal setting is important to give feedbacks to employees. In addition, goal setting can be an incentive to stimulate greater effort among employees (Kim & Hamner, 1976).

Goals can be divided into mastery and performance goals in realistic. Mastery goals are focused on improving one’s ability and competence, whereas performance goals are focused on outperforming others or higher place in competition. How can people distinguish these? Performance goals are aim to perform better than others. For instance, “I want to gain the 1st sales in company”. While mastery goals pay more attention on self-competence, like “I want to make guests feel more comfortable and satisfied" (Poortvliet & Darnon, 2010). However, performance goals are found can lead to maladaptive social behaviour (Poortvliet & Darnon, 2010). Then performance goals could be widely used to create healthy work environment.

However, SMART principle can also help leaders to set proper goals for employees. Five letters mean of five words in different setting principle, which are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. According to these five words, leaders can set the proper goals to employees. In addition, mastery goals are more efficiency than performance goals. However, employees receive feedback regard to goal setting are also related to work efficiency, which provided to increase commitment and satisfaction in workplace (Ivancevich, & McMahon, 1982). When goal is precise, manager can give feedback according to the goal-setting details. In conclusion, proper goal setting can help manager to give effective feedback in workplace, while mastery goals are more suitable for managers who setting goals for their workers in hospitality industry.

Select the correct answer and press "submit"

1 What is "sandwich feedback"?

Criticism, Praise, Criticism
Criticism, Criticism, Praise
Praise, Criticism, Praise

2 Is it effective for Sarah to use "sandwich feedback" principle to give feedback in workplace?[grammar?]


Application[edit | edit source]

Performance feedback is widely use in workplace, which helps manager to improve the working performance. Human resource management is a department to analyse working behaviour, and give corresponding responds to employees. In addition, there are different types of leadership styles, leaders who learn how to give performance feedbacks efficiency could help to motivate employees in workplace.

Human resource management[edit | edit source]

picture for giving feedback
Figure 3. Feedback can be given in a face-to-face conversation.

Human resource is the department responsible for managing employees in an organisation, business sector, industry or economy. Nowadays, employees can be a major source of competitive advantages (Baker, 2010). Human resource is applied to manage human capital in workplaces. There are six components in human resource: human resource planning, recruitment and staffing, training and developing, labor laws and legal compliance, compensation and benefits, and performance appraisal. Literature showed that performance appraisal have been proven to achieve employee efficiency (Abdullateef & Mohd, 2019). Performance feedback is widely used in performance appraisal section, which helps to define job performance and achieved the employee efficiency.

Performance appraisal is a regular review of an employee’s job performance (Kuvaas, 2006). The purpose of performance appraisal is evaluating employees’ skills, achievements and growth or lack, then provides feedbacks to reward or punishment. Performance appraisal includes many functions, such as rigorous selection procedures, internal merit-based promotions, grievance procedures, cross-functional and cross-trained teams, high levels of training, information sharing, participatory mechanisms, group-based rewards, and skill-based pay (Datta, Guthrie & Wright, 2005).

Why the performance appraisal is important? According to the research, performance appraisal satisfaction is directly related to affective commitment and turnover intention (Kuvaas, 2006). In addition, performance appraisal can help employees to receive feedback about how they are doing in their occupation and where can they develop (Baker, 2010). However, performance appraisal also gives the signal to company how well the employee’s performance and helpa company to give feedback precise and efficiency. In conclusion, performance feedback can be applied to performance appraisal in human resource development.

Leadership styles[edit | edit source]

Feedback is a direct reflection of different leadership styles. There are six leadership styles: the authoritative style, the affiliative style, the democratic style, the pacesetting style, the coercive style, and coaching style. An effective leader should be competent at each of the six leadership styles, and can find which style suitable for each situation (Champman, Johnson & Kilner, 2014). It shows that each leadership styles would give different types of feedback to achieve their goals.

According to the research, we can find some of these styles can promote harmony and positive outcome. For example, coaching style can give the direction to subordinate. Authoritative leaders have the confidence to lead a team to complete tasks. Affiliative leadership style is more empathetic, they focus on building emotional bonds with employees. Democratic leaders are willing to ask the ideas and opinions from their teams. While coercive style and pacesetting style can create anxiety in workplaces, they seemed to lack empathetic and pressure employees. Evident showed each leadership styles have positive and negative effects, leaders should choose the most effective styles to adopt into different situations, and different types of leaders would give different types of feedback to achieve goals.

Research showed that one of the most important factors of managerial effectiveness for leaders is success in influencing people and developing commitment to task objectives (Lam, O’Donnell & Robertson, 2015). There are three main tactics to give effective feedbacks in different situations, which included rational persuasion, inspirational appeals and consultation (Clarke & Ward, 2006). These three tactics are commonly used downward to employees. However, leaders should give different types of feedbacks in different situations. In order to achieve goals, leaders could use logical argument and hard facts in rational persuasion, create emotional and attitudinal reactions in inspirational appeals, and participate in the planning process, making decisions and encourage changes in consulting sessions. In conclusion, feedback can directly reflects the leadership styles in workplace.

Tips for giving effiective performance feedback
  • The feedback judges action, not individuals.
  • Do not analyze the motives behind the behavior.
  • The feedback is precise, not vague.
  • Do not exaggerate (use the words like always, never).
  • Negative feedback does not get sandwiched between positive messages.
  • Do not give feedback too long.
  • Give feedback as a statement, not a question.
  • Do not contain an implied threat

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

Performance feedback is vital for employees to improve work efficiency and build commitment to the company. This chapter introduced what performance feedback is and the influences of feedback. It could be positive and/or negative feedback, which depends on how managers give the feedback to employees. Effective performance feedback could help workers to correct the bad behaviour and increase the work effective. It is important for managers to give effective feedback. However, performance feedback is a mutual process, which the way of workers receive as important as giving feedback in this process.

The study of motivational theories about performance feedback would help people to understand the basic principle about feedback. Intrinsic motivation is focused on interests, beliefs. While extrinsic motivation is focused on external reward which drive people to do something. However, researchers found that external reward would not diminish intrinsic motivation in hospitality industry, which differs from previous hypothesis. In addition, goal setting theory is also related to performance feedback. In the application of performance feedback, it is widely use in human resource management. Performance appraisal is a regular review of an employee’s job performance, manager can give feedback depending on the performance appraisal. In addition, there are different types of leadership styles, which influence the way of feedback giving.

In conclusion, this chapter introduces what the performance feedback is and the influences of feedback, which help managers to give effective feedback in workplace.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Adolfsson, D. (2017). How to give and receive feedback in ways that helps us grow.

Baker, N. (2010). Employee feedback technologies in the human performance system. Human Resource Development International, 13(4), 477–485.

Chapman, A. L., Johnson, D., & Kilner, K. (2014). Leadership styles used by senior medical leaders: patterns, influences and implications for leadership development. Leadership in Health Services, 27(4), 283-298.

Clarke, S., & Ward, K. (2006). The role of leader influence tactics and safety climate in engaging employees' safety participation. Risk analysis, 26(5), 1175-1185.

Datta, D., Guthrie, J., & Wright, P. (2005). Human Resource Management and Labor Productivity: Does Industry Matter? Academy of Management Journal, 48(1), 135–145.

Deci, E. L., & Porac, J. (1978). Cognitive evaluation theory and the study of human motivation. The hidden costs of reward: New perspectives on the psychology of human motivation, 149, 155-57.

Gagné, M., & Deci, E. (2005). Self-determination theory and work motivation. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 26(4), 331–362.

Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of educational research, 77(1), 81-112.

Hendijani, R., Bischak, D., Arvai, J., & Dugar, S. (2016). Intrinsic motivation, external reward, and their effect on overall motivation and performance. Human Performance, 29(4), 251–274.

Ivancevich, J. M., & McMahon, J. T. (1982). The effects of goal setting, external feedback, and self-generated feedback on outcome variables: A field experiment. Academy of Management Journal, 25(2), 359-372.

Kim, J. S., & Hamner, W. C. (1976). Effect of performance feedback and goal setting on productivity and satisfaction in an organizational setting. Journal of Applied Psychology, 61(1), 48.

Kuvaas, B. (2006). Performance appraisal satisfaction and employee outcomes: mediating and moderating roles of work motivation. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 17(3), 504–522.

Kuvaas, B., Buch, R., Weibel, A., Dysvik, A., & Nerstad, C. G. (2017). Do intrinsic and extrinsic motivation relate differently to employee outcomes?. Journal of Economic Psychology, 61, 244-258.

Lam, M., O'Donnell, M., & Robertson, D. (2015). Achieving employee commitment for continuous improvement initiatives. International Journal of Operations & Production Management.

Lin, H. (2007). Effects of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation on employee knowledge sharing intentions. Journal of Information Science, 33(2), 135–149.

Patil, S., Hoyle, R., Schlegel, R., Kapadia, A., & Lee, A. J. (2015, April). Interrupt now or inform later? Comparing immediate and delayed privacy feedback. In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1415-1418).

Poortvliet, P. M., & Darnon, C. (2010). Toward a more social understanding of achievement goals: The interpersonal effects of mastery and performance goals. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 19(5), 324-328.

Putra, E., Cho, S., & Liu, J. (2016). Extrinsic and intrinsic motivation on work engagement in the hospitality industry: Test of motivation crowding theory. Tourism and Hospitality Research, 17(2), 228–241.

External links[edit | edit source]