Beyond the Strategies of Feedback Seeking: A Review and Initial Conceptualization of Feedback-Seeking Styles

  • Mary F. Sully de LuqueEmail author
  • Melody L. Wollan
  • Victor Boyi


Since its introduction into the management literature in 1983, the concept of feedback seeking has continued to enjoy both theoretical and empirical attention. During this time, the strategies of seeking feedback have more than doubled, and the literature about how employees seek feedback over time has become diversified. With this evolution, some researchers have observed that direct feedback inquiries remain relatively stable over time. Alternatively, others have observed decreases in such feedback inquiries when employees stay longer in the organization. This chapter aims to address issues regarding how employees seek feedback. To achieve this, we begin by presenting a dynamic reciprocal model of feedback seeking highlighting three phases (pre-interaction, interaction, and post-interaction). Next, we review some of the empirically identified strategies of feedback seeking. Extending the notion of strategies, we propose the feedback-seeking styles (direct, indirect) and we posit that the style of feedback seeking helps to answer the question of how employees seek feedback over time. We advance the conceptualization of feedback-seeking styles to help reconcile the equivocal findings of strategies over time. Then, we discuss some possible determinants of the configurations of the style. Finally, we conclude this chapter by identifying potentially fruitful avenues for research and practical implications reflecting our expanded notion of feedback-seeking styles.


Feedback Seeking Feedback-Seeking Strategies Feedback-Seeking Styles Feedback-Seeking Interactions Feedback-Seeking Phases Feedback-Seeking Style Context 


  1. Ang, S., & Cummings, L. L. (1994). Panel analysis of feedback-seeking patterns in face-to-face, computer-mediated, and computer-generated communication environments. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 79(1), 67–73. Scholar
  2. Ang, S., Cummings, L. L., Straub, D. W., & Earley, P. C. (1993). The effects of information technology and the perceived mood of the feedback giver on feedback seeking. Information Systems Research, 4(3), 240–261. Scholar
  3. 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(1), 318–348. Scholar
  4. Anseel, F., Lievens, F., & Levy, P. E. (2007). A self-motives perspective on feedback-seeking behavior: Linking organizational behavior and social psychology research. International Journal of Management Reviews, 9(3), 211–236. Scholar
  5. Ashford, S. J. (1986). Feedback-seeking in individual adaptation: A resources perspective. Academy of Management Journal, 29(3), 465–487. Scholar
  6. Ashford, S. J., Blatt, R., & VandeWalle, D. (2003). Reflections on the looking glass: A review of research on feedback-seeking behavior in organizations. Journal of Management, 29(6), 773–799. Scholar
  7. Ashford, S. J., & Cummings, L. L. (1983). Feedback as an individual resource: Personal strategies of creating information. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 32(3), 370–398. Scholar
  8. Ashford, S. J., & Cummings, L. L. (1985). Proactive feedback seeking: The instrumental use of the information environment. Journal of Occupational Psychology, 58(1), 67–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ashford, S. J., De Stobbeleir, K., & Nujella, M. (2016). To seek or not to seek: Is that the only question? Recent developments in feedback-seeking literature. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 3(1), 213–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ashford, S. J., & Tsui, A. S. (1991). Self-regulation for managerial effectiveness: The role of active feedback seeking. Academy of Management Journal, 34(2), 251–280. Scholar
  11. Barner-Rasmussen, W. (2003). Determinants of the feedback-seeking behaviour of subsidiary top managers in multinational corporations. International Business Review, 12(1), 41–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Belschak, F. D., & Hartog, D. N. D. (2010). Pro-self, prosocial, and pro-organizational foci of proactive behaviour: Differential antecedents and consequences. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 83(2), 475–498. Scholar
  13. Benzinger, D. (2016). Organizational socialization tactics and newcomer information seeking in the contingent workforce. Personnel Review, 45(4), 743–763.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Brown, S. P., Ganesan, S., & Challagalla, G. (2001). Self-efficacy as a moderator of information-seeking effectiveness. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86(5), 1043–1051. Scholar
  15. Callister, R. R., Kramer, M. W., & Turban, D. B. (1999). Feedback seeking following career transitions. Academy of Management Journal, 42(4), 429–438.Google Scholar
  16. 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. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(1), 202–212.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 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(4), 463–484. Scholar
  18. Chun, J. U., Lee, D., & Sosik, J. J. (2018). Leader negative feedback-seeking and leader effectiveness in leader-subordinate relationships: The paradoxical role of subordinate expertise. Leadership Quarterly, 29(4), 501–512. Scholar
  19. Dahling, J. J., & Whitaker, B. G. (2016). When can feedback-seeking behavior result in a better performance rating? Investigating the moderating role of political skill. Human Performance, 29(2), 73–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Davenport, T. H., & Ronanki, R. (2018). Artificial intelligence for the real world. Harvard Business Review, (January–February 2018). Retrieved from
  21. De Stobbeleir, K., Ashford, S., & Zhang, C. (2019). Shifting focus: Antecedents and outcomes of proactive feedback seeking from peers. Human Relations, 0018726719828448.
  22. De Stobbeleir, K., Ashford, S., & Buyens, D. (2011). Self-regulation of creativity at work: The role of feedback-seeking behavior in creative performance. Academy of Management, 54(4), 811–831.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Eden, D., Stone-Romero, E. F., & Rothstein, H. R. (2015). Synthesizing results of multiple randomized experiments to establish causality in mediation testing. Human Resource Management Review, 25(4), 342–351. Scholar
  24. Fedor, D. B., Rensvold, R. B., & Adams, S. M. (1992). An investigation of factors expected to affect feedback seeking: A longitudinal field study. Personnel Psychology, 45(4), 779–802.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fischer, T., Dietz, J., & Antonakis, J. (2017). Leadership process models: A review and synthesis. Journal of Management, 43(6), 1726–1753. Scholar
  26. Gibson, J. J. (2014). The ecological approach to visual perception: Classic edition. Scholar
  27. 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(4), 1234–1260. Scholar
  28. Greeno, J. (1994). Gibson’s affordances. Psychological Review, 101(2), 336–342. Scholar
  29. Grimes, M. G. (2017). The pivot: How founders respond to feedback through idea and identity work. Academy of Management Journal, 61(5), 1692–1717. Scholar
  30. Harrison, S. H., & Dossinger, K. (2017). Pliable guidance: A multilevel model of curiosity, feedback seeking, and feedback giving in creative work. Academy of Management Journal, 60(6), 2051–2072. Scholar
  31. Harrison, S. H., & Rouse, E. D. (2015). An inductive study of feedback interactions over the course of creative projects. Academy of Management Journal, 58(2), 375–404. Scholar
  32. Hays, J. C., & Williams, J. R. (2011). Testing multiple motives in feedback seeking: The interaction of instrumentality and self protection motives. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 79(2), 496–504. Scholar
  33. Hutchby, I. (2001). Technologies, texts and affordances. Sociology, 35(2), 441–456. Scholar
  34. Kramer, M. W., Lee, S. K., & Guo, Y. (2019). Using communication technology to manage uncertainty during organizational assimilation: Information-seeking and information-giving. Western Journal of Communication, 83(3), 304–325. Scholar
  35. Krasman, J. (2010). The feedback-seeking personality: Big five and feedback-seeking behavior. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 17(1), 18–32. Scholar
  36. Lam, W., Huang, X., & Snape, E. (2007). Feedback-seeking behavior and leader-member exchange: Do supervisor-attributed motives matter? Academy of Management Journal, 50(2), 348–363. Scholar
  37. Larson, J. R. (1989). The dynamic interplay between employees’ feedback-seeking strategies and supervisors’ delivery of performance feedback. Academy of Management Review, 14(3), 408–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Levy, P. E., Albright, M. D., Cawley, B. D., & Williams, J. R. (1995). Situational and individual determinants of feedback seeking: A closer look at the process. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 62(1), 23–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lim, V. K. G., Teo, T. S. H., & Zhao, X. (2013). Psychological costs of support seeking and choice of communication channel. Behaviour & Information Technology, 32(2), 132–146. Scholar
  40. 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(3), 211–235. Scholar
  41. Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1991). Culture and the self: Implications for cognition, emotion, and motivation. Psychological Review, 98(2), 224–253. Scholar
  42. Miller, V. D. (1996). An experimental study of newcomers’ information seeking behaviors during organizational entry. Communication Studies, 47(1–2), 1–24. Scholar
  43. Miller, V. D., & Jablin, F. M. (1991). Information seeking during organizational entry: Influences, tactics, and a model of the process. Academy of Management Review, 16(1), 92–120. Scholar
  44. Morrison, E. W. (1993). Newcomer information seeking: Exploring types, modes, sources, and outcomes. Academy of Management Journal, 36(3), 557–589.Google Scholar
  45. 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. Scholar
  46. 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), 1–22. Scholar
  47. Morrison, E. W., & Weldon, E. (1990). The impact of an assigned performance goal on feedback seeking behavior. Human Performance, 3(1), 37–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Moss, S. E., & Sanchez, J. I. (2004). Are your employees avoiding you? Managerial strategies for closing the feedback gap. Academy of Management Executive, 18(1), 32–44.Google Scholar
  49. Moss, S., Valenzi, E., & Taggart, W. (2003). Are you hiding from your boss? The development of a taxonomy and instrument to assess the feedback management behaviors of good and bad performers. Journal of Management, 29(4), 487–510. Scholar
  50. Northcraft, G. B., & Ashford, S. J. (1990). The preservation of self in everyday life: The effects of performance expectations and feedback context on feedback inquiry. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 47(1), 42–64. Scholar
  51. Parker, S. K., & Collins, C. G. (2010). Taking stock: Integrating and differentiating multiple proactive behaviors. Journal of Management, 36(3), 633–662. Scholar
  52. Qian, J., Lin, X., & Chen, G. Z.-X. (2012). Authentic leadership and feedback-seeking behaviour: An examination of the cultural context of mediating processes in China. Journal of Management & Organization, 18(3), 286–299. Scholar
  53. Ramirez, A., Walther, J. B., Burgoon, J. K., & Sunnafrank, M. (2002). Information-seeking strategies, uncertainty, and computer-mediated communication toward a conceptual model. Human Communication Research, 28(2), 213–228. Scholar
  54. Sijbom, R. B. L., Anseel, F., Crommelinck, M., De Beuckelaer, A., & De Stobbeleir, K. E. M. (2018). Why seeking feedback from diverse sources may not be sufficient for stimulating creativity: The role of performance dynamism and creative time pressure. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 39(3), 355–368. Scholar
  55. Stoker, J. I., Grutterink, H., & Kolk, N. J. (2012). Do transformational CEOs always make the difference? The role of TMT feedback seeking behavior. The Leadership Quarterly, 23(3), 582–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Strong, D. M., Volkoff, O., Johnson, S. A., Pelletier, L. R., Tulu, B., Bar-On, I., et al. (2014). A theory of Organization-EHR affordance actualization. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 15(2).
  57. Sully de Luque, M., & Sommer, S. M. (2000). The impact of culture on feedback-seeking behavior: An integrated model and propositions. Academy of Management Review, 25(4), 829–849.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Tatum, N. T., Martin, J. C., & Kemper, B. (2018). Chronemics in instructor–student e-mail communication: An experimental examination of student evaluations of instructor response speeds. Communication Research Reports, 35(1), 33–41. Scholar
  59. Vancouver, J. B., & Morrison, E. W. (1995). Feedback inquiry: The effect of source attributes and individual differences. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 62(3), 276–285. Scholar
  60. Vandenberghe, C., Landry, G., Bentein, K., Anseel, F., Mignonac, K., & Roussel, P. (2019). A dynamic model of the effects of feedback-seeking behavior and organizational commitment on newcomer turnover. Journal of Management.
  61. VandeWalle, D. (2003). A goal orientation model of feedback-seeking behavior. Human Resource Management Review, 13(4), 581–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Walther, J. (1996). Computer-mediated communication: Impersonal, interpersonal, and hyperpersonal interaction. Communication Research, 23(1), 3–43. Scholar
  63. Walther, J. B., & Tidwell, L. C. (1995). Nonverbal cues in computer-mediated communication, and the effect of chronemics on relational communication. Journal of Organizational Computing, 5(4), 355–378. Scholar
  64. Wilson, C., & Elicker, J. (2015). Re-examining culture’s influence on feedback seeking using the feedback context. Get What You Give: Research Advances in Cross-Cultural Feedback-Seeking Behavior. Presented at the Annual Meeting of Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology (SIOP), Philadelphia, PA.Google Scholar
  65. Wu, C.-H., Parker, S. K., & De Jong, J. P. (2014). Feedback seeking from peers: A positive strategy for insecurely attached team-workers. Human Relations, 67(4), 441–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary F. Sully de Luque
    • 1
    Email author
  • Melody L. Wollan
    • 2
  • Victor Boyi
    • 3
  1. 1.Thunderbird School of Global ManagementArizona State UniversityPhoenixUSA
  2. 2.Lumpkin College of Business and TechnologyEastern Illinois UniversityCharlestonUSA
  3. 3.College of BusinessFlorida Atlantic UniversityBoca RatonUSA

Personalised recommendations