Leveraging Feedback Orientation in the Workplace: Directions for Research and Practice

  • Kajal R. PatelEmail author
  • Rebekah A. Silva
  • Jason J. Dahling


Feedback orientation is a multidimensional quasi-trait that involves seeing feedback as valuable, feeling accountable and capable to act on feedback, and being cognizant of feedback information in one’s social environment. Fostering and maintaining a positive feedback orientation is essential for employees to benefit from performance management processes, but relatively little research has explored this construct. In this chapter, we summarize existing findings concerning feedback orientation and chart important directions for future research and practice. We identify particular needs to study how feedback orientation develops over time, relates to leadership dynamics, operates in diverse and cross-cultural contexts, and shapes employee development in distributed work contexts. We conclude by offering recommendations for individual managers and organizational decision-makers based on trends that emerged in our literature review.


Performance Feedback Feedback-Seeking Behavior Performance Management Personality Individual Differences Job Attitudes 


  1. Adler, S., Campion, M., Colquitt, A., Grubb, A., Murphy, K., Ollander-Krane, R., et al. (2016). Getting rid of performance ratings: Genius or folly? A debate. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 9, 219–252. Scholar
  2. Anseel, F., Beatty, A. S., Shen, W., Lievens, F., & Sackett, P. R. (2015). How are we doing after 30 years? A meta-analytic review of the antecedents and outcomes of feedback-seeking behavior. Journal of Management, 41, 318–348. Scholar
  3. Armstrong, D. J., & Cole, P. (2002). Managing distances and differences in geographically distributed work groups. In P. J. Hinds, S. Kiesler (Eds.), Distributed Work (167–186). MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  4. Barner-Rasmussen, W. (2003). Determinants of the feedback-seeking behaviour of subsidiary top managers in multinational corporations. International Business Review, 12, 41–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Borden, L., Levy, P. E., & Silverman, S. B. (2018). Leader arrogance and subordinate outcomes: The role of feedback processes. Journal of Business and Psychology, 33, 345–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Braddy, P. W., Sturm, R. E., Atwater, L. E., Smither, J. W., & Fleenor, J. W. (2013). Validating the feedback orientation scale in a leadership development context. Group & Organization Management, 38, 690–716.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Buckingham, M., & Goodall, A. (2015, April). Reinventing performance management. Harvard Business Review, 93(4), 40–50.Google Scholar
  8. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. (2016, July 8). 24 percent of employed people did some or all of their work at home in 2015. Retrieved from
  9. Chawla, N., Gabriel, A. S., Dahling, J. J., & Patel, K. (2016). Feedback dynamics are critical to improving performance management systems. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 9, 260–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chen, Z., Lam, W., & Zhong, J. A. (2007). Leader-member exchange and member performance: A new look at individual-level negative feedback-seeking behavior and team-level empowerment climate. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92, 202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chun, J. U., Choi, B. K., & Moon, H. K. (2014). Subordinates’ feedback-seeking behavior in supervisory relationships: A moderated mediation model of supervisor, subordinate, and dyadic characteristics. Journal of Management & Organization, 20, 463–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Corwin, E., Simon, L., & Rosen, C. C. (2019). One size does not fit all: A review of how personal influences affect workplace feedback processes. In L. Steelman & J. Williams (Eds.), Feedback at Work. Switzerland: Springer.Google Scholar
  13. Crommelinck, M., & Anseel, F. (2013). Understanding and encouraging feedback-seeking behavior: A literature review. Medical Education, 47, 232–241. Scholar
  14. Dahling, J. J., Chau, S. L., & O’Malley, A. L. (2012). Correlates and consequences of feedback orientation in organizations. Journal of Management, 38, 530–545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dahling, J. J., Gabriel, A. S., & MacGowan, R. (2017). Understanding typologies of feedback environment perceptions: A latent profile investigation. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 101, 133–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dahling, J. J., & O’Malley, A. L. (2011). Supportive feedback environments can mend broken performance management systems. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 4, 201–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dahling, J. J., O’Malley, A. L., & Chau, S. L. (2015). Effects of feedback motives on inquiry and performance. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 30, 199–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dahling, J. J., Taylor, S. R., Chau, S. L., & Dwight, S. (2016). Why does coaching matter? A multilevel model linking managerial coaching effectiveness and frequency to sales goal attainment. Personnel Psychology, 69, 863–894.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. De Stobbeleir, K., & Ashford, S. J. (2014). The power of peers: Antecedents and outcomes of peer feedback seeking behavior. Academy of Management Proceedings, 14128.Google Scholar
  20. DeShon, R. P., & Gillespie, J. Z. (2005). A motivated action theory account of goal orientation. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90, 1096–1127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. DeShon, R. P., Kozlowski, S. W. J., Wiechmann, D., Milner, K. R., Davis, C. A., & Schmidt, A. M. (2000). Training and developing adaptive performance in teams and individuals. In 15th Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, New Orleans, LA.Google Scholar
  22. Edmondson, A. (1999). Psychological safety and learning behavior in work teams. Administrative Science Quarterly, 44, 350–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Elicker, J. D., Cubric, M., Chen, J. M., Sully de Luque, M. F., & Gabel Shemueli, R. (2019). Employee reactions to the feedback environment. In L. Steelman & J. Williams (Eds.), Feedback at Work. Switzerland: Springer.Google Scholar
  24. Gabriel, A. S., Frantz, N. B., Levy, P. E., & Hilliard, A. W. (2014). The supervisor feedback environment is empowering, but not all the time: Feedback orientation as a critical moderator. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 87, 487–506. Scholar
  25. Gong, Y., Wang, M., Huang, J. C., & Cheung, S. Y. (2017). Toward a goal orientation–based feedback-seeking typology: Implications for employee performance outcomes. Journal of Management, 43, 1234–1260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gorman, C. A., Meriac, J. P., Roch, S. G., Ray, J. L., & Gamble, J. S. (2017). An exploratory study of current performance management practices: Human resource executives’ perspectives. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 25, 193–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gregory, J. B., & Levy, P. E. (2012). Employee feedback orientation: Implications for effective coaching relationships. Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, 5, 86–99.Google Scholar
  28. Herold, D. M., Parsons, C. K., & Rensvold, R. B. (1996). Individual differences in the generation and processing of performance feedback. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 56(1), 5–25.Google Scholar
  29. Lee, H. E., Park, H. S., Lee, T. S., & Lee, D. W. (2007). Relationships between LMX and subordinates’ feedback seeking behaviors. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 35, 659–674.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Levy, P. E., Tseng, S. T., Rosen, C. C., & Lueke, S. B. (2017). Performance management: A marriage between practice and science – Just say “I do”. Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management, 35, 155–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lilford, N., Caruana, A., & Pitt, L. (2014). Psychometric properties of the feedback orientation scale among South African salespersons. Psychological Reports, 114, 126–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Linderbaum, B. G., & Levy, P. E. (2010). The development and validation of the Feedback Orientation Scale (FOS). Journal of Management, 36, 1372–1405. Scholar
  33. Ling, Y., Floyd, S. W., & Baldridge, D. C. (2005). Toward a model of issue-selling by subsidiary managers in multinational organizations. Journal of International Business Studies, 36, 637–654.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. London, M., & Smither, J. W. (2002). Feedback orientation, feedback culture, and the longitudinal performance management process. Human Resource Management Review, 12, 81–100. Scholar
  35. MacDonald, H. A., Sulsky, L. M., Spence, J. R., & Brown, D. J. (2013). Cultural differences in the motivation to seek performance feedback: A comparative policy-capturing study. Human Performance, 26, 211–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Matsui, T., Kakuyama, T., & Onglatco, M. U. (1987). Effects of goals and feedback on performance in groups. Journal of Applied Psychology, 72, 407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Morrison, E. W., Chen, Y. R., & Salgado, S. R. (2004). Cultural differences in newcomer feedback seeking: A comparison of the United States and Hong Kong. Applied Psychology, 53, 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Morrison, E. W., & Bies, R. J. (1991). Impression management in the feedback-seeking process: A literature review and research agenda. Academy of Management Review, 16(3), 522–541.Google Scholar
  39. Nakai, Y., & O’Malley, A. L. (2015). Feedback to know, to show, or both? A profile approach to the feedback process. Learning and Individual Differences, 43, 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Perrot, S., Bauer, T. N., Abonneau, D., Campoy, E., Erdogan, B., & Liden, R. C. (2014). Organizational socialization tactics and newcomer adjustment: The moderating role of perceived organizational support. Group & Organization Management, 39(3), 247–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Powers, W. T. (1973). Feedback, beyond behaviorism: Stimulus-response laws are wholly predictable within a control-system model of behavioral organization. Science, 179, 351–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Qian, J., Wang, B., Song, B., Li, X., Wu, L., & Fang, Y. (2017). It takes two to tango: The impact of leaders’ listening behavior on employees’ feedback seeking. Current Psychology, 1–8.Google Scholar
  43. Rasheed, A., Khan, S. U. R., Rasheed, M. F., & Munir, Y. (2015). The impact of feedback orientation and the effect of satisfaction with feedback on in-role job performance. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 26, 31–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Smither, J. W., London, M., & Reilly, R. R. (2005). Does performance improve following multisource feedback? A theoretical model, meta-analysis, and review of empirical findings. Personnel Psychology, 58, 33–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Steelman, L., & Wolfeld, L. (2018). The manager as coach: The role of feedback orientation. Journal of Business and Psychology, 33(1), 41–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sully de Luque, M. F. S., & Sommer, S. M. (2000). The impact of culture on feedback-seeking behavior: An integrated model and propositions. Academy of Management Review, 25, 829–849.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Steelman, L. A., Levy, P. E., & Snell, A. F. (2004). The feedback environment scale: Construct definition, measurement, and validation. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 64(1), 165–184.Google Scholar
  48. Salas, E., Rozell, D., Mullen, B., & Driskell, J. E. (1999). The effect of team building on performance: An integration. Small Group Research, 30(3), 309–329.Google Scholar
  49. Wang, M., Burlacu, G., Truxillo, D., James, K., & Yao, X. (2015). Age differences in feedback reactions: The roles of employee feedback orientation on social awareness and utility. Journal of Applied Psychology, 100(4), 1296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Whitaker, B. G., & Levy, P. E. (2012). Linking feedback quality and goal orientation to feedback seeking and job performance. Human Performance, 25, 159–178. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kajal R. Patel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rebekah A. Silva
    • 2
  • Jason J. Dahling
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBaruch College & The Graduate Center, City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyThe College of New JerseyEwingUSA

Personalised recommendations