The effects of feedback frequency and goal setting on data processing performance

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Electronic surveillance of employee performance is a common practice in the workplace today. Despite the fact that electronic monitoring is an inexpensive and objective technique for recording productivity figures, much resistance to the technique exists.

The current study was conducted to determine if user acceptability and productivity could be improved in performance monitoring systems. It was hypothesized that frequent performance feedback would enhance productivity and task satisfaction as long as the feedback was not too frequent and the performance standard was not too difficult.

The results of this experimental investigation did not support this hypothesis indicating that productivity (in terms of the amount of data entered into computer files) was actually higher when the performance standard was difficult and the performance feedback frequent. In addition, subjects assigned to the Difficult Goal/Frequent Feedback condition were more satisfied with the task and performance feedback than other subjects. Results are discussed in light of current viewpoints in applied psychology and human-computer interaction.