The effects of feedback sign, attributional discrepancy, and performance discrepancy on reactions to feedback

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


The present investigation examined the effects of three factors - feedback sign, performance discrepancy, and attributional discrepancy - on reactions to feedback as measured by three groups of dependent variables (reactions against the feedback itself, reactions against the feedback source, and reactions against the feedback system). Hypothesis 1 was supported in that feedback sign affected feedback reactions as predicted. Hypotheses 2 and 3 were not supported as feedback sign did not interact in the expected manner with performance discrepancy or attributional discrepancy. However, performance discrepancy and attributional discrepancy were identified as important determinants of feedback reactions as well. The results of this study are discussed with respect to control theory and implications for organizational settings. Suggestions are made regarding the direction of future research.