The Effect of Feedback Style on Feedback Seeking Behaviors: an Examination of Perceived Competence
Research in the area of feedback seeking behaviors (Ashford & Cummings, 1983) has failed to examine the impact of a supervisor's feedback style on a subordinate's subsequent feedback seeking. This is an important area for investigation due to the positive relationship between feedback seeking and performance. Deci and Ryan's cognitive evaluation theory suggests that intrinsic motivation may be an important mediator between feedback style and FSB in that feedback style impacts an individuals desire for mastery of his or her environment which is related to feedback seeking in Ashford and Cumming's model. It is hypothesized that a controlling, in contrast to an informational, feedback style will decrease feedback seeking.
It was found that feedback style, while it did impact intrinsic motivation, did not have an effect on feedback seeking behaviors. The valence of the feedback also impacted intrinsic motivation but only had a marginally significant effect on feedback seeking from the experimenter and no effect on feedback seeking from the task itself. Feedback style and valence did not interact to effect level of intrinsic motivation or FSB. In only one case, the effect of feedback valence on feedback seeking from the experimenter, did it appear that intrinsic motivation acted as a mediator. Possible explanations for the results are discussed, including the nature of the task itself.