In 1983, our understanding of feedback in organizations shifted from a focus on feedback from supervisors through the annual performance review to consider also the feedback information proactively sought by individuals as part of their everyday interactions within organizations (Ashford & Cummings 1983). This article updates our understanding of the field of feedback-seeking behavior (FSB) since this literature was last reviewed in 2003, analyzes its current state, and suggests future research ideas. We begin by positioning feedback seeking within a broader theoretical context by relating it to proactivity, impression management, and individual adjustment. We then review what we currently know about who is more likely to seek feedback, as well as the contexts that stimulate such seeking. We then review the benefits and potential costs that might accompany feedback seeking, with regard to the person who is seeking it as well as the group. We conclude this review by identifying potentially fruitful avenues for further research and some key practical implications.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Literature Cited

  1. Allen TD, Shockley KM, Poteat L. 2010. Protégé anxiety attachment and feedback in mentoring relationships. J. Vocat. Behav. 77:173–80 [Google Scholar]
  2. Ambady N, Rosenthal R. 1992. Thin slices of expressive behavior as predictors of interpersonal consequences: a meta-analysis. Psychol. Bull. 111:2256–74 [Google Scholar]
  3. Anderson C, Brion S. 2014. Perspectives on power in organizations. Annu. Rev. Organ. Psychol. Organ. Behav. 1:67–97 [Google Scholar]
  4. Anseel F, Beatty A, Shen W, Lievens F, Sackett P. 2013. How are we doing after 30 years? A meta-analytic review of the antecedents and outcomes of feedback-seeking behavior. J. Manag. 41:1318–48 [Google Scholar]
  5. Anseel F, Lievens F. 2007. The relationship between uncertainty and desire for feedback: a test of competing hypotheses. J. Appl. Soc. Psychol. 37:51007–40 [Google Scholar]
  6. Anseel F, Lievens F, Levy P. 2007. A self-motives perspective on feedback-seeking behavior: linking organizational behavior and social psychology research. Int. J. Manag. Rev. 9:3211–36 [Google Scholar]
  7. Ashford SJ. 1986. Feedback-seeking in individual adaptation: a resource perspective. Acad. Manag. J. 29:465–87 [Google Scholar]
  8. Ashford SJ, Black JS. 1996. Proactivity during organizational entry: antecedents, tactics and outcomes. J. Appl. Psychol. 81:2199–214 [Google Scholar]
  9. Ashford SJ, Blatt R, VandeWalle D. 2003. Reflections on the looking glass: a review of research on feedback-seeking behavior in organizations. J. Manag. 29:6773–99 [Google Scholar]
  10. Ashford SJ, Cummings LL. 1983. Feedback as an individual resource: personal strategies of creating information. Organ. Behav. Hum. Perform. 32:370–98 [Google Scholar]
  11. Ashford SJ, Northcraft GB. 1992. Conveying more (or less) than we realize: the role of impression-management in feedback-seeking. Organ. Behav. Hum. Decis. Process. 53:310–34 [Google Scholar]
  12. Ashford SJ, Tsui AS. 1991. Self-regulation for managerial effectiveness: the role of active feedback-seeking. Acad. Manag. J. 34:2251–80 [Google Scholar]
  13. Ashford SJ, Wellman N, Sully-De Luque M, DeStobblier KM, Wollan M. 2013. Proactive behavior and collective outcomes: CEO feedback seeking, TMT dynamics, and firm performance. Presented at Annu. Acad. Manag. Conf. 73rd., Orlando, FL [Google Scholar]
  14. Bachrach DG, Powell BC, Collins BJ, Richey RG. 2006. Effects of task interdependence on the relationship between helping behavior and group performance. J. Appl. Psychol. 91:61396–405 [Google Scholar]
  15. Bandura A. 1989. Human agency in social cognitive theory. Am. Psychol. 44:91175–84 [Google Scholar]
  16. Barner-Rasmussen W. 2003. Determinants of the feedback-seeking behavior of subsidiary top managers in multinational corporations. Int. Bus. Rev. 12:141–60 [Google Scholar]
  17. Bass B, Bass R. 2008. The Bass Handbook of Leadership: Theory, Research, and Managerial Applications New York: Free Press [Google Scholar]
  18. Bennett N, Herald DM, Ashford SJ. 1990. The effects of tolerance for ambiguity on feedback-seeking behavior. J. Occupat. Psychol. 63:343–48 [Google Scholar]
  19. Bose MM, Gijselaers WH. 2013. Why supervisors should promote feedback-seeking behavior in medical residency. Med. Teach. 35:111573–83 [Google Scholar]
  20. Brutus S, Greguras GJ. 2008. Self-construals, motivation, and feedback-seeking behaviors. Int. J. Sel. Assess. 16:3282–91 [Google Scholar]
  21. Chen Z, Lam W, Zhong J. 2007. Leader-member exchange and member performance: a new look at individual-level negative feedback-seeking behavior and team-level empowerment climate. J. Appl. Psychol. 92:1202–12 [Google Scholar]
  22. Cho J. 2013. Cross-level effects of team task interdependence on the relationship between learning goal orientation and feedback-seeking behaviors. Commun. Res. Rep. 30:3230–41 [Google Scholar]
  23. Choi BK, Moon HK, Nae EY. 2014. Cognition- and affect-based trust and feedback-seeking behavior: the roles of value, cost, and goal orientations. J. Psychol.: Interdiscip. Appl. 148:5603–20 [Google Scholar]
  24. Christensen AL, Kinicki A, Zhang Z, Walumbwa F. 2015. Understanding how supervisor developmental feedback and coworker feedback seeking influence creative behavior and performance: a dynamic multilevel model. Work. Pap., W. P. Carey Sch. Bus., Ariz. State Univ. [Google Scholar]
  25. Chuang A, Lee C, Shen C. 2014. A multilevel perspective on the relationship between interpersonal justice and negative feedback-seeking behavior. Can. J. Adm. Sci. Rev. 31:59–74 [Google Scholar]
  26. Chun J, Choi B, Moon HK. 2014. Subordinates' feedback-seeking behavior in supervisory relationships: a moderated mediation model of supervisor, subordinate, and dyadic characteristics. J. Manag. Organ. 20:4463–84 [Google Scholar]
  27. Collewaert V, Anseel F, Crommelinck C, De Beuckelaer A, Vermeire J. 2016. When passion fades: disentangling the temporal dynamics of entrepreneurial passion for founding. J. Manag. Stud. In press [Google Scholar]
  28. Cote S, Miners CT. 2006. Emotional intelligence, cognitive intelligence, and job performance. Adm. Sci. Q. 51:11–28 [Google Scholar]
  29. Crommelinck M, Anseel F. 2013. Understanding and encouraging feedback-seeking behavior: a literature review. Med. Educ. 47:3232–41 [Google Scholar]
  30. Cummings TG. 1978. Self-regulating work groups: a socio-technical synthesis. Acad. Manag. Rev. 3:3625–34 [Google Scholar]
  31. Dahling JJ, Chau SL, O'Malley A. 2012. Correlates and consequences of feedback orientation in organizations. J. Manag. 38:2531–46 [Google Scholar]
  32. DeRue DS, Ashford SJ. 2010. Who will lead and who will follow? A social process of leadership identity construction in organizations. Acad. Manag. Rev. 35:4627–47 [Google Scholar]
  33. De Stobbeleir K, Ashford S, Buyens D. 2011. Self-regulation of creativity at work: the role of feedback-seeking behavior in creative performance. Acad. Manag. J. 54:4811–31 [Google Scholar]
  34. De Stobbeleir K, Ashford SJ. 2014. The power of peers: antecedents and outcomes of peer feedback seeking behavior. Acad. Manag. Proc. 2014:114128 [Google Scholar]
  35. De Stobbeleir K, De Boeck G, Dries N. 2016. Feedback seeking behavior: a person-environment fit perspective. Proactivity at Work S Parker, U Bindl New York: Routledge. In press [Google Scholar]
  36. De Stobbeleir KE, Ashford SJ, Sully de Luque MF. 2010. Proactivity with image in mind: how employee and manager characteristics affect evaluations of proactive behaviors. J. Occup. Organ. Psychol. 83:347–69 [Google Scholar]
  37. Detert JR, Edmondson AC. 2011. Implicit voice theories: taken-for-granted rules of self-censorship at work. Acad. Manag. J. 54:3461–88 [Google Scholar]
  38. Devloo T, Anseel F, De Beuckelaer A. 2011. Do managers use feedback seeking as a strategy to regulate demands–abilities misfit? The moderating role of implicit person theory. J. Bus. Psychol. 26:4453–65 [Google Scholar]
  39. Dweck C. 1999. Self-Theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development Philadelphia: Psychology [Google Scholar]
  40. Dweck CS, Leggett EL. 1988. A social-cognitive approach to motivation and personality. Psychol. Rev. 95:2256–73 [Google Scholar]
  41. Ferris GR, Treadway DC, Perrewé PL, Brouer RL, Douglas C, Lux S. 2007. Political skill in organizations. J. Manag. 33:3290–320 [Google Scholar]
  42. Finkelstein LM, Kulas JT, Dages KD. 2003. Age differences in proactive newcomer socialization strategies in two populations. J. Bus. Psychol. 17:4473–502 [Google Scholar]
  43. Frantz NB. 2014. The stability and development of feedback orientation over time: a qualitative study Presented at Annu. Acad. Manag. Conf., 74th, Philadelphia [Google Scholar]
  44. Gardner WL, Cogliser CC, Davis KM, Dickens MP. 2011. Authentic leadership: a review of the literature and research agenda. Leadersh. Q. 22:1120–45 [Google Scholar]
  45. Gervey B, Igou E, Trope Y. 2005. Positive mood and future-oriented self-evaluation. Motiv. Emot. 29:4267–94 [Google Scholar]
  46. Gong Y, Wang M, Huang JC, Cheung SY. 2014. Toward a goal orientation-based feedback-seeking typology: implications for employee performance outcomes. J. Manag. 39:1924–51 [Google Scholar]
  47. Grant AM, Ashford SJ. 2008. The dynamics of proactivity at work. Res. Organ. Behav. 28:3–34 [Google Scholar]
  48. Griffin MA, Neal A, Parker SK. 2007. A new model of work role performance: positive behavior in uncertain and interdependent contexts. Acad. Manag. J. 50:2327–47 [Google Scholar]
  49. Gross JJ. 1998. The emerging field of emotion regulation: an integrative review. Rev. Gen. Psychol. 2:3271–99 [Google Scholar]
  50. Gruman JA, Saks AM, Zweig DI. 2006. Organizational socialization tactics and newcomer proactive behaviors: an integrative study. J. Vocat. Behav. 69:90–104 [Google Scholar]
  51. Hackman JR, Oldham GR. 1980. Work Redesign Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley [Google Scholar]
  52. Harrison S, Rouse E. 2015. An inductive study of feedback interactions over the course of creative projects. Acad. Manag. J. 58:2375–404 [Google Scholar]
  53. Hays J, Williams J. 2011. Testing multiple motives in feedback seeking: the interaction of instrumentality and self-protection motives. J. Vocat. Behav. 79:496–504 [Google Scholar]
  54. Hepper E, Carnelley K. 2010. Adult attachment and feedback-seeking patterns in relationships and work. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol. 40:448–64 [Google Scholar]
  55. Huang J. 2012. Be proactive as empowered? The role of trust in one's supervisor in psychological empowerment, feedback seeking, and job performance. J. Appl. Soc. Psychol. 42:1103–27 [Google Scholar]
  56. Ilgen DR, Fisher CD, Taylor MS. 1979. Consequences of individual feedback on behavior in organizations. J. Appl. Psychol. 64:4349–71 [Google Scholar]
  57. Janssen O, Prins J. 2007. Goal orientations and the seeking of different types of feedback information. J. Occup. Organ. Psychol. 80:235–49 [Google Scholar]
  58. Kammeyer-Mueller J, Livingston B, Liao H. 2011. Perceived similarity, proactive adjustment, and organizational socialization. J. Vocat. Behav. 78:225–36 [Google Scholar]
  59. Kim T, Cable DM, Kim S, Wang J. 2009. Emotional competence and work performance: the mediating effect of proactivity and the moderating effect of job autonomy. J. Organ. Behav. 30:7983–1000 [Google Scholar]
  60. Kluger AN, DeNisi A. 1996. The effects of feedback interventions on performance: a historical review, a meta-analysis, and a preliminary feedback intervention theory. Psychol. Bull. 119:2254–84 [Google Scholar]
  61. Krasman J. 2010. The feedback-seeking personality: Big Five and feedback-seeking behavior. J. Leadersh. Organ. Stud. 17:118–32 [Google Scholar]
  62. Krasman J. 2011. Taking feedback-seeking to the next “level”: organizational structure and feedback-seeking behavior. J. Manag. Issues 23:19–30 [Google Scholar]
  63. Krasman J. 2013a. Feedback-seeking behavior: Good for the seeker, how about the source?. Presented at Annu. Acad. Manag. Conf., Orlando, FL
  64. Krasman J. 2013b. Putting feedback-seeking into “context”: job characteristics and feedback-seeking behavior. Pers. Rev. 42:150–66 [Google Scholar]
  65. Lam W, Huang X, Snape E. 2007. Feedback-seeking behavior and leader-member exchange: Do supervisor-attributed motives matter?. Acad. Manag. J. 50:2348–63 [Google Scholar]
  66. Lee HE, Park HS, Lee TS, Lee DW. 2007. Relationships between LMX and subordinates' feedback-seeking behaviors. Soc. Behav. Pers. 35:659–74 [Google Scholar]
  67. Linderbaum BA, Levy PE. 2010. The development and validation of the feedback orientation scale (FOS). J. Manag. 36:61372–405 [Google Scholar]
  68. London M, Smither JW. 2002. Feedback orientation, feedback culture, and the longitudinal performance management process. Hum. Resour. Manag. Rev. 12:181–100 [Google Scholar]
  69. Lu K, Pan S, Cheng J. 2011. Examination of a perceived cost model of employees' negative feedback-seeking behavior. J. Psychol. 145:6573–94 [Google Scholar]
  70. MacDonald HA, Sulsky LM, Spence JR, Brown DJ. 2013. Cultural differences in the motivation to seek performance feedback: a comparative policy-capturing study. Hum. Perform. 26:3211–35 [Google Scholar]
  71. Miller D, Karakowsky L. 2005. Gender influences as an impediment to knowledge sharing: when men and women fail to seek peer feedback. J. Psychol. 139:2101–18 [Google Scholar]
  72. Miller VD, Jablin FM. 1991. Information seeking during organizational entry: influences, tactics, and a model of the process. Acad. Manag. Rev. 16:192–120 [Google Scholar]
  73. Morrison E, Chen Y, Salgado S. 2004. Cultural differences in newcomer feedback seeking: a comparison of the United States and Hong Kong. Appl. Psychol. 53:11–22 [Google Scholar]
  74. Morrison EW, Bies RJ. 1991. Impression management in the feedback-seeking process: a literature review and research agenda. Acad. Manag. Rev. 16:3522–41 [Google Scholar]
  75. Moss SE, Valenzi ER, 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. J. Manag. 29:4487–510 [Google Scholar]
  76. Nifadkar S, Tsui A, Ashforth B. 2012. The way you make me feel and behave: supervisor-triggered newcomer affect and approach-avoidance behavior. Acad. Manag. J. 55:51146–68 [Google Scholar]
  77. Park G, Schmidt AM, Scheu C, DeShon RP. 2007. A process model of goal orientation and feedback seeking. Hum. Perform. 20:2119–45 [Google Scholar]
  78. Parker S, Collins C. 2010. Taking stock: integrating and differentiating multiple proactive behaviors. J. Manag. 36:3633–62 [Google Scholar]
  79. Qian J, Lin X, Chen GZ. 2012. Authentic leadership and feedback-seeking behavior: an examination of the cultural context of mediating processes in China. J. Manag. Organ. 18:3286–99 [Google Scholar]
  80. Roberson L, Deitch EA, Brief AP, Block CJ. 2003. Stereotype threat and feedback seeking in the workplace. J. Vocat. Behav. 62:1176–88 [Google Scholar]
  81. Saks AM, Gruman JA, Cooper-Thomas H. 2011. The neglected role of proactive behavior and outcomes in newcomer socialization. J. Vocat. Behav. 79:136–46 [Google Scholar]
  82. Sanchez-Burks J, Huy QN. 2009. Emotional aperture and strategic change: the accurate recognition of collective emotions. Organ. Sci. 20:122–34 [Google Scholar]
  83. Sonnentag S. 2015. Dynamics of well-being. Annu. Rev. Organ. Psychol. Organ. Behav. 2:261–93 [Google Scholar]
  84. Sorrentino RM, Short JAC, Raynor JO. 1984. Uncertainty orientation: Implications for affective and cognitive views of achievement behavior. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 46:189–206 [Google Scholar]
  85. Steele CM, Aronson J. 1995. Stereotype threat and the intellectual test performance of African Americans. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 69:5797–8111 [Google Scholar]
  86. Steelman L, Levy P, Snell A. 2004. The Feedback Environment Scale: construct definition, measurement, and validation. Educ. Psychol. Meas. 64:1165–84 [Google Scholar]
  87. Stoker J, Grutterink H, Kolk N. 2012. Do transformational CEOs always make the difference? The role of TMT feedback seeking behavior. Leadersh. Q. 23:582–92 [Google Scholar]
  88. de Luque MF, Sommer SM, Wollan ML. Sully 2003. The question of seeking: assessing multiple feedback seeking strategies. Presented at Acad. Manag. Conf., Seattle, WA
  89. Susman GI. 1976. Autonomy at Work: A Sociotechnical Analysis of Participative Management New York: Praeger [Google Scholar]
  90. Swann WB, Read SJ. 1981. Self-verification processes: how we sustain our self-conceptions. J. Exp. Soc. Psychol. 17:4351–72 [Google Scholar]
  91. Swann WB. Rentfrow PJ, Guinn JS. Jr, 2003. Self-verification: the search for coherence. Handbook of Self and Identity MR Leary, JP Tangney 367–83 New York: Guilford Press [Google Scholar]
  92. Teunissen PW, Stapel DA, van der Vleuten C, Scherpbier A, Boor K, Scheele F. 2009. Who wants feedback? An investigation of the variables influencing residents' feedback-seeking behavior in relation to night shifts. Acad. Med. 84:7910–17 [Google Scholar]
  93. Tsui AS, Ashford SJ. 1994. Adaptive self-regulation: a process view of effectiveness. J. Manag. 20:193–121 [Google Scholar]
  94. van der Rijt J, Van den Bossche P, Van de Wiel M, Segers M, Gijselaers WH. 2012b. The role of individual and organizational characteristics in feedback seeking behaviour in the initial career stage. Hum. Resour. Dev. Int. 15:283–301 [Google Scholar]
  95. van der Rijt J, Van de Wiel M, Van den Bossche P, Segers M, Gijselaers WH. 2012a. Contextual antecedents of informal feedback in the workplace. Hum. Resour. Dev. Q. 23:233–57 [Google Scholar]
  96. Van Knippenberg D, Sitkin SB. 2013. A critical assessment of charismatic—transformational leadership research: Back to the drawing board?. Acad. Manag. Ann. 7:11–60 [Google Scholar]
  97. VandeWalle D. 1997. Development and validation of a work domain goal orientation instrument. Educ. Psychol. Meas. 57:6995–1015 [Google Scholar]
  98. Whitaker B, Dahling J, Levy P. 2007. The development of a feedback environment and role clarity model of job performance. J. Manag. 33:4570–91 [Google Scholar]
  99. Whitaker B, Levy P. 2012. Linking feedback quality and goal orientation to feedback seeking and job performance. Hum. Perform. 25:159–78 [Google Scholar]
  100. Wu CH, Parker SK, Jong J. 2013. Feedback seeking from peers: a positive strategy for insecurely attached team-workers. Hum. Relat. 67:4441–64 [Google Scholar]
  101. Yamkovenko B, Hatala JP. 2014. Feedback-seeking and social networking behaviors during job search: a conceptual model. Hum. Resour. Dev. Rev. 13:1102–24 [Google Scholar]
  102. Young SF, Steelman LA. 2014. The role of feedback in supervisor and workgroup identification. Pers. Rev. 43:2228–45 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Review Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error