Topic: Upward Communication and Feedback Seeking

Author(s), Title and Publication
de Stobbeleir, K. E. M., Ashford, S. J., & Buyens, D. (2011). Self-regulation of creativity at work: The role of feedback-seeking behavior in creative performance. Academy of Management Journal, 54(4), 811-831.

This study examined how employees use feedback seeking as a strategy to enhance their creative performance, which refers to novel and useful work-related ideas. Employees can seek feedback either by requesting performance evaluations directly (feedback inquiry) or examining the environment for indirect feedback cues (feedback monitoring). A total of 456 supervisor-subordinate dyads from four consulting firms completed an online survey that measured: 1) the subordinates’ feedback-seeking type (feedback inquiry or monitoring); 2) feedback-seeking behavior (frequency, and breadth); 3) potential factors influencing their feedback-seeking behavior (cognitive style, and perceived organizational support for creativity); and 4) their creative performance (evaluated by their immediate supervisor). Cognitive style included adaptive style, wherein employees prefer conventional theories and procedures, and innovative style, where employees prefer more divergent thinking and problem solving.

Results showed that employees who possess a more innovative cognitive style and who perceive they have more organizational support are more likely to seek feedback directly from the supervisors, or to collect feedback by monitoring the environment (e.g., nonverbal cues). Results also indicated that employees who frequently seek direct feedback from their supervisors and other sources are more likely to be more creative at work. No significant results were found for the relationship between employees’ feedback monitoring and their creative performance.

Implications for Practice
Organizations may enhance employees’ creative performance by 1) encouraging employees to seek feedback about their work frequently; 2) providing regular feedback to employees; 3) developing a workplace climate that supports the exchange of informal feedback throughout the organization; and 4) encouraging employees to seek feedback from diverse sources, including their supervisor, peers, and extra-organizational sources.

Location of Article
The article is available online at: (full article)

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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