The role of individual needs in feedback seeking bahavior

MISSING IMAGE

Material Information

Title:
The role of individual needs in feedback seeking bahavior
Physical Description:
viii, 187 leaves : ; 28 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
Klich, Nancy R
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Feedback (Psychology)   ( lcsh )
Management -- Research   ( lcsh )
Employee morale   ( lcsh )
Management thesis Ph. D
Dissertations, Academic -- Management -- UF
Genre:
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )

Notes

Thesis:
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1990.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 177-186).
Statement of Responsibility:
by Nancy R. Klich.
General Note:
Typescript.
General Note:
Vita.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 001640256
oclc - 24229118
notis - AHR5341
System ID:
AA00002112:00001

Full Text
THE ROLE OF INDIVIDUAL NEEDS IN FEEDBACK
SEEKING BEHAVIOR
By
NANCY R. KLICH
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA UBRARIE
DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL
FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
*4
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1990


TO MY SON
CHRISTOPHER MICHAEL KLICH


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
As my years in the doctoral program draw to a close, I have to thank many people who supported me.
I was extremely fortunate to have Daniel Charles Feldman as my mentor through the qualifying exam and this dissertation. He helped me shape vague ideas into a coherent theory and helped me learn how to write well. Without Daniel's dedication to excellence, immeasurable patience, and understanding this dissertation would not have been completed. His efforts on my behalf, both academically
and professionally, have made my time in the graduate
program truly rewarding.
I also want to thank the other members of my
dissertation and advisory committees. Jerald Young and John
James provided encouragement and support throughout this
long process. James Algina gave me much needed advice and
tutoring on the statistical methodology used in this
dissertation. Chester A. Schriesheim encouraged me to apply
to the doctoral program and provided support in my first
years in the doctoral program. Carrie Leana helped me
prepare for the qualifying exam and gave me invaluable advice.
9
111


My colleagues and friends helped me celebrate the good times and always stood by me during the bad. Neville Duarte helped me to understand the true meaning of friendship. Without his support and encouragement, I would never have finished the doctoral program. My dear friends Kim,
Lorraine, and Liesl Pereira gave me understanding and unwaver ing fr iendship.
I also want to thank my colleagues at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, who have supported and encouraged me during this last year. I would especially like to thank Cindy Earthman, my graduate assistant, who helped me with the tedious jobs of typing and editing.
To my son Christopher, I owe a special debt of
gratitude. Although he is only six years of age, he has shown patience and understanding rarely shown by adults. His boundless love has sustained me through thick and thin and has given more happiness than I could have ever hoped for. It is to him that I dedicate this dissertation.
iv


TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
ABSTRACT...............................................
CHAPTERS
1 FEEDBACK SEEKING AND INDIVIDUAL NEEDS............
Feedback from the Individual's Perspective....
Individual Motivation to Seek Feedback........
Feedback Seeking Behavior.....................
Hypotheses about Individual Needs and Feedback
Seeking Behavior............................
Hypotheses about Feedback Seeking Behavior and
Performance................................
2 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
Research Settings Pr ocedure........
Instruments and Measures Preliminary Analysis....
Factor Analysis.........
Correlat ions............
3 RESULTS
Statistical Procedure Feedback Seeking Strategy Type of Feedback Sought.. Source of Feedback Sought Performance..............
4 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION
The Nature of Feedback Seeking Behavior
Reconsi dered..................................
Extensions of Theories on Feedback Seeking
Behavior......................................
Directions for Improving Research Methodology...
Implications for Practice.......................
Conclusion......................................
v


APPENDICES
1 Research Questionnaire............
2 Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability
3 Herman's Achievement Motivation
4 Item Generation Questionnaire*.,
5 Three Factor Solution for M-CSD
6 Four Factor Solution for Herman's Achievement
Motivation
REFERENCES..............................................
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.....................................
vi


Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
THE ROLE OF INDIVIDUAL NEEDS IN FEEDBACK
SEEKING BEHAVIOR
By
Nancy R. Klich August, 1990
Chairman: Daniel Charles Feldman Major Department: Management
This dissertation explores how individuals seek feedback. While previous feedback research has typically portrayed employees as relatively passive receivers of feedback, this dissertation considers individuals as active feedback seekers whose behavior is guided by the functions that feedback serves and the costs incurred in seeking feedback. It is hypothesized here that individual needs affect the choice of feedback-seeking strategy, the type of feedback sought, and the sources of feedback sought. Data were collected from three hundred seventy-four persons in five organizations.
VI 1


The results suggest that high Need for Approval individuals are more likely to seek evaluative feedback than cognitive feedback. Individuals high in Need for Achievement are more likely to seek cognitive feedback tnan evaluative feedback. Persons high in Need for Approval are more likely to seek feedback from legitimate sources than from expert sources. However, individuals who seek feedback from expert sources have higher performance evaluations than those who seek feedback from legitimate sources. Individual differences did not significantly affect whether feedback was sought through direct inquiry or monitoring.
These results suggest that individuals need more feedback than they are currently getting, that they should be given cognitive feedback as much, if not more, than evaluative feedback, and that they need feedback from expert sources other than their supervisor. In addition, the results suggest that individuals who may need feedback the most may be least likely to seek it out because they fear receiving potentially embarrassing or negative information.
t t
VI 11


CHAPTER 1
FEEDBACK SEEKING AND INDIVIDUAL NEEDS
Feedback refers to information given to individuals that tells how well they are meeting their goals (both organizational and individual) and how their behavior is perceived and evaluated by others. Feedback may be provided by the task itself (Hackman & Oldham, 1976, 1980), by other individuals in the work place (Ilgen, Fisher & Taylor, 1979), and even by examining one's own behavior (Ilgen et al., 1979). Feedback represents an important topic in organizational behavior and has been recognized as an important determinant of individual and group behavior (Ammons, 1956). It strongly influences critical variables in organizational behavior such as performance, learning, motivation, and socialization (Feldman, 1989; Vroom, 1964). It has also been identified as a key factor for enhancing the overall effectiveness of organizations themselves (Nadler, Caramann & Mirvis, 1980).
This dissertation explores the role of the individual in the feedback process and is based on three fundamental ideas. First, the individual can be considered a proactive seeker of feedback, as well as a passive recipient of it. Second, individuals' personal motivations determine feedback seeking behavior in addition to situational factors. Third,


the choice of feedback seeking strategy, the type of
feedback sought, and the source of feedback sought depend on
the functions of feedback, as well as the costs of seeking feedback.
In this chapter the role of individual needs in feedback seeking behavior is developed. A brief review of feedback research, emphasizing the role of the individual, is presented. This is followed by discussions of the individual's motivation to seek feedback and the components of feedback seeking behavior. Next, hypotheses concerning the relationships between individual needs and feedback seeking behavior and between feedback seeking behavior and performance are presented.
Feedback from the Individual's Perspective The largest body of research on feedback has been concerned with identifying the factors that affect the success of feedback in modifying individual behavior. These factors include the timing and frequency of feedback (Ammons, 1956; Ivancevich, Donnelly & Lyon, 1970), the expertise and credibility of the feedback source (Halperin, Snyder, Shenkel & Houston, 1976; O'Reilly & Anderson, 1980), the source of feedback (i.e., supervisor, peers, job itself) (Annett, 1969; Bourne, 1966; Hackman & Oldham, 1976), whether the feedback is given to an individual or a group (Hall, 1957; Zajonc, 1962), and feedback as an important


component of goal setting (Ivancevich, 1982; Latham & Yukl, 1975; Locke, Cartledge & Koeppel, 1968).
In general, most of the research on feedback has been conducted from the organization's point of view. Feedback
has been treated as a resource that organizations use to keep members' behavior directed toward desired goals and to stimulate and maintain high levels of effort of members (Ashford & Cummings, 1983; Payne & Hauty, 1955; Vroom, 1964).
An alternative point of view, wnich will be adopted in this dissertation, considers feedback from the individual's perspective. This perspective is concerned with three key
issues: the functions that feedback serves for the individual, the individual as an active feedback seeker, and the cost/benefit payoff that the individual incurs when seeking feedback. These issues will be discussed in this sect ion.
Functions of Feedback
Research has identified several important functions that feedback serves for individuals. These functions can be classified into two general categories: approval-directed and performance-directed (Table 1).
The first category is comprised of three functions that are concerned with gaining and maintaining the approval of other persons. First, feedback reduces uncertainty for the individual by identifying behavior that indicates how


Table 1
Feedback Funct i ons
Function__Needs/Goals_
Approval
Uncertainty reduction approval of others
Signalling acceptance by others
Ego-defens i ve self-protect ion
Performance
Competence enhancing self-esteem and self-
ef f i cacy
Goal directed achieve personal goals
Behavior change appropriate work behavior
consequences of behavior


behavior is perceived and evaluated by others (Greller & Herold, 1975). Second, feedback serves a signalling function, by identifying the relative importance and appropriateness of certain goals and values to which one must comply in order to gain approval (Vroom, 1964). Third,
avoiding feedback can serve an ego defensive function. When
abilities or performance are low, individuals seek to
protect vulnerable self-esteem by avoiding feedback or
restricting information search (Janis & Mann, 1977; Jones &
Gerard, 1967; Miller, 1976; Zuckerman, Brown, Fox, Lathin &
Minasian, 1979).
The second category is comprised of those functions
related to improving and enhancing job performance. First,
feedback is competence enhancing; it provides information
that is necessary to build self-esteem and self-efficacy
(White, 1959; Bandura, 1986). Second, feedback provides
information about the extent to which personal goals are
being met (Ashford & Cummings, 1983; Nadler, 1977). Third,
feedback helps the individual develop appropriate work
behaviors (Etzioni, 1961; Porter, Lawler & Hackman, 1975;
Schein, 1968). Fourth, feedback provides information about
the distributions of rewards and sanctions that result from
particular behaviors so that individuals can change their
behaviors accordingly (Bandura, 1986; Porter & Lawler, 1968) .


6
Research on the functions of feedback has been concerned with how these functions affect the individual's acceptance of, and willingness to comply with, feedback from supervisors (cf. Greller & Herold, 1975; Ilgen et al.,
1979). It is generally argued that individuals will respond differently to different types of feedback from different sources. For example, individuals for whom feedback helps to identify appropriate behaviors tend to accept and comply with feedback which provides specific examples of behavior (Bandura, 1986).
The Individual as an Active Feedback Seeker
Research that has considered feedback from the individual's perspective has generally portrayed the individual as a passive information receiver. This stream of research has concentrated on how the individual perceives feedback. It has been concerned with how various individual and situational factors influence the individual's acceptance of and response to feedback (Ilgen et al., 1979).
The present study will consider, instead, the individual as a active information monitor and seeker (Ashford & Cummings, 1983; Brett, Feldman & Weingart, 1988; Feldman & Brett, 1983; Greller & Herold, 1975; Greller, 1980; Hanser & Muchinsky, 1978; Weiss, 1977). This position argues that few organizations give individuals adequate information about their behavior (Campbell, Dunnette, Lawler


& Weick, 1970). Individuals must, therefore, actively seek
the information that they need about their behavior.
Numerous studies support the notion that individuals are active feedback seekers rather than passive feedback
receivers. For example, individuals tend to search for feedback which is consistent with their self-concept (Swann & Read, 1980) and with their goals and expectations regarding performance (Tyler & Galegher, 1982; Vallacher, 1980). In addition, socialization literature suggests that individuals entering an organization actively seek information about organization roles by attending to the behavior of key role models rather than relying on reinforcement (Weiss, 1977). Finally, newcomers to organizations tend to actively seek feedback as a way of coping with organizational entry and to capitalize on
initial adjustment (Brett et al., 1987; Feldman & Brett, 1983) .
Cost of Seeking Feedback
The study of feedback is based primarily on the assumption that feedback is beneficial. However, recent research has recognized that not only does feedback seeking allow the individual to fulfill certain needs and goals, but also that it entails a certain amount of risk. Ashford and Cummings (1983) propose that individuals take the costs into account and seek feedback in ways that minimize costs.


8
Three costs associated with actively seeking feedback have been identified (see Table 2). They are effort costs, face loss costs, and inference costs (Ashford & Cummings, 1983). Effort costs are those associated with the level of effort required to obtain feedback. This cost may involve physical or cognitive effort. Physical effort is concerned with the time it takes to seek feedback as well as the behavior of seeking feedback. It might include tracking the supervisor, asking questions, or offering explanations. The amount of physical effort may depend, for example, on the availability of the supervisor or how familiar the supervisor is with the persons performance.
Cognitive effort is concerned with the amount of attention and inference required to obtain feedback. In general, it entails diverting attention from other things, paying attention to the behavior of other persons, and making sense out of the behavior of others. The amount of cognitive effort depends on how ambiguous the job or behavior is. In very ambiguous situations, individuals must exert greater effort in order to obtain consistency and consensus information.
The second type of feedback seeking cost is face loss. Face loss costs are incurred because feedback seeking is a public event, and the individual's behavior is open and subject to judgment by others. There are three risks associated with face loss costs. First, the feedback seeker


9
Table 2
Costs of Seeking Feedback
Cost
Depends on
Example
Effort
phys ical
ava ilabi1i ty of
feedback source
familiarity of source
with behavior
look for supervisor ask questions explain behavior
cognitive
ambiguity of
behavi or
job or
divert attention observe others interpret behavior
Face loss
public event and
potential judgment
by otners low self-esteem
reject i on reveal insecurity loss of esteem criticism
Inference
ambiguity or
complexity of
behavi or need for accuracy
bias in perception incorrect inference motivation of
feedback source


10
may lose face if his or her request for feedback is rejected. Second, the individual may reveal potentially damaging information such as insecurity or lack of confidence. Others may even judge the person to be trying to win favor with the supervisor. Third, the feedback seeker risks losing self and other's esteem by exposing him-or herself to potentially negative information or criticism.
The final cost associated with feedback seeking is inference cost. These costs involve accurately interpreting the behavior of the self and others and the motivation of the feedback giver. Inference costs are generally higher when feedback or behavior is ambiguous or complex, when the motives of the feedback giver are unclear, or when the feedback giver is untrustworthy.
This section has proposed that feedback serves different functions for the individual, that the individual is an active feedback seeker, and that the individual incurs costs in seeking feedback. The next section develops the role of individual motivations, rather than situational determinants, in feedback seeking.
Individual Motivation to Seek Feedback Feedback is an individual resource which is based on motivation for seeking certain types of feedback, from certain sources, and using certain types of strategies (Ashford & Cummings, 1983; Feldman & Brett, 1983; Larson,


11
1989). For the most part, this research has been concerned with situational causes of feedback seeking, such as the amount and type of feedback given by supervisors (Larson, 1989), and whether the individual is a new hire or a job changer (Feldman & Brett, 1983). Ashford and Cummings (1983) propose that individuals will actively seek feedback when the amount or type of unsolicited feedback is inadequate to fulfill individual goals and needs. Moreover, they argue that the costs associated with feedback seeking are determined by situational factors such as the complexity of performance, motivations of the feedback giver, or the availability of the supervisor (Ashford & Cummings, 1983).
An alternative to the situational determinants of feedback seeking argues that feedback seeking is guided by individual characteristics. Recent social psychology research provides evidence that some individual differences have an effect on feedback seeking behavior, independent of the situation. Feedback seeking has been found to be related to characteristics such as self-concept of ability (Meyer & Starke, 1982), anxiety (Battman, 1988), and self-consciousness (Carver, Antoni & Scheier, 1985; Scheier & Carver, 1983). For example, Carver et al. (1985) found that individuals who are self-conscious are less likely to ask for performance feedback than those who are not self-conscious. In addition, self-esteem and need for


12
achievement may be associated with preferences for different
types of feedback (Jacobs, Berscheid & Walster, 1971;
Weiner, 1978).
These studies suggest that the functions of feedback
and the costs of seeking feedback may be related to stable
individual differences. This study will extend the research
on feedback by examining role of individual differences in
feedback seeking.
Individual Needs and Feedback Seeking Behavior
Hollenbeck and Whitener (1988) propose that the individual differences that are most likely to have an effect on motivation and subsequent behavior are those which reflect differences in values and needs. Recall that the functions that feedback serves are broadly classified into two categories, approval and performance directed and that the costs of seeking feedback are based on self-protection or information accuracy. This study will examine differences in feedback seeking behavior between individuals who are motivated by approval and self-protect ion and individuals who are motivated by performance excellence and information accuracy. Specifically, this dissertation proposes that the differential effects of values and needs on feedback seeking behavior will be observed when comparing Need for Approval to Need for Achievement.


13
Need for Approval
The Need for Approval has been inferred from responses on the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (Crowne & Marlowe, 1960). The scale was originally developed as a measure of social desirability response bias. However, numerous studies have found that MCSD scale scores are related not only to bias in self reports, but also to behavior and performance (Crowne & Marlowe, 1964; Ganster, Hennesey & Luthans, 1983; Spector, 1987). Therefore, the scale may be interpreted as a measure of a stable individual need which is related to specific behaviors (Crowne & Marlowe, 1964; Spector, 1987).
The trait is generally defined as the need to seek approval. However reviews of the research that use M-CSD, conclude that the scale may more accurately and validly measure the need to avoid disapproval (Crowne & Marlowe, 1964; Crowne, 1979; Millhara & Jacobson, 1978; Strickland, 1979). The need to avoid disapproval arises because of low self-esteem. Individuals with a high need to avoid disapproval depend on favorable evaluations by others. They tend to use defensive, avoidant behaviors in order to protect their weak self-esteem (Crowne 1979; Crowne & Marlowe, 1964; Millham & Jacobson, 1978; Strickland, 1979).
Because of their low self-esteem, feedback would likely serve the ego-defensive function for individuals high in Need for Approval. The uncertainty reduction function of


feedback would be concerned with whether others approve of
their behavior. Feedback would also serve the signaling function for approval dependent individuals by identifying organizational goals and values with which he or she should
comply in order to gain acceptance.
Because of their low self-esteem and reliance on self-
protective, defensive behavior, persons high in Need for
Approval are likely to incur very high face loss costs when
seeking feedback. They are likely to perceive that physical
and cognitive effort costs are not as high as potentially losing face. Also, the risks associated with incorrect
inference are more likely to be lower than those associated with face loss. It also seems likely that persons high in
Need for Approval may prefer inaccurate inferences to
accurate ones. When they are biased toward a more favorable evaluation, inaccurate inferences serve to avoid esteem
threatening feedback. Moreover, since the they are
concerned with others' approval rather than performance
enhancement, approval dependent persons are less likely to
be concerned the accurate information necessary for
excellent performance. Need for Achievement
The Need for Achievement (achievement motivation) is
generally conceptualized as an important determinant of aspiration, effort, and persistence when an individual
expects that performance will be evaluated in relation to


15
some standard of excellence (Atkinson, 1958; Weiner, 1978). This is a multidimensional personality construct characterized by a moderate aspiration level, preference for moderate level of risk, striving for upward mobility, persistence in task completion, desire to complete interrupted tasks, partner choice based on competence, seeking recognition through excellence, and strong desire to perform well (Atkinson, 1958; McClelland, 1985; Weiner, 1978). Persons who have high achievement needs are resistent to social influence, perceive instrumentality of intermediate performance for long-range goals, bias probabilities of success upward, attribute success to ability, perceive themselves as high in ability, and have a high positive self-concept (Atkinson, 1958; Weiner, 1978).
- For persons high in achievement motivation, feedback is likely to serve many functions. First, feedback will provide competence creating information and reduce the uncertainty regarding behaviors appropriate for excellent performance. Second, because of the instrumentality of immediate performance to long range goals, feedback will provide important goal relevant information for individuals high in Need for Achievement. Third, because high achievement motivated individuals strive for excellence in evaluative situations, feedback will provide information about appropriate behavioral changes.


16
When seeking feedback, persons who are high in Need for Achievement are likely to be concerned with inference costs? they want accurate feedback regardless of the other costs which they might incur. Because they are persistent and perceive the instrumentality of excellent performance for long term goals, high achievement motivated individuals are likely to perceive that accuracy is more important than the effort incurred in obtaining feedback. In addition, their high self-esteem indicates that they are less concerned with face loss costs than with inference costs.
The foregoing discussion argues that Need for Approval and Need for Achievement are differentially related to feedback seeking behavior because of the different goals and functions of feedback and the costs incurred in seeking feedback among these persons. These differences are related to the strategies individuals use to seek feedback, the types of feedback individuals seek, and the sources from which the individual seeks feedback. We turn now to describing these three components of feedback seeking behavior.
Feedback Seeking Behavior Feedback seeking behavior is comprised of three components: the strategies individuals use to seek information about their performance, the type of information


Table 3
Feedback Seeking Strategies
Strategy
Monitoring
Behavi or
observation and inference
effort
i naccuracy
Reflect i ve Apprai sal
observe others behavior toward and reaction to
Comparative compare own behavior and
Appraisal
reaction from supervisor to that of comparison others
Inqui ry
ask for feedback
effort face loss
Di rect Inquiry
ask specific questions about performance
Indi rect Inqui ry
make requests or comments related to performance


that they seek, and the source from which they seek feedback.
Strategies for Seeking Feedback
This dissertation will examine two strategies of seeking feedback, monitoring and inquiry (see Table 3) (Ashford & Cummings, 1983). Monitoring strategies are concerned with observing and interpreting information from the work environment. These observations and interpretations are based on individual goals and the function that feedback serves for the individual (Ashford & Cummings, 1983; Cohen & Ebbesen, 1979; Suchman, 1971; Tyler & Galegher, 1982; Vallacher, 1980).
There are two types of monitoring behavior--reflective appraisal and comparative appraisal. When using reflective appraisal, the individual observes and interprets the reactions and responses of others to his or her behavior (Jones & Gerard, 1967). The interpretation may depend on whether the response is positive or negative and on certain characteristics of the source (Ilgen et al., 1979). For example, an individual may interpret his or her boss's friendly greeting as an indication of good performance.
The second type of monitoring is comparative appraisal. The individual compares his or her behavior to others' behavior (Jones & Gerard, 1967). Comparative appraisals may be based on persons described in organizational stories and myths (Meyer & Rowan, 1977), persons who are successful


(Ashford & Cummings, 1983; Weiss, 1977), or persons who attend particular meetings or social gatherings (Ashford & Cummings, 1983). For example, an individual is included in a special task committee, whose other members have been rapidly promoted. That individual might infer that his or her performance was excellent because of being included on the committee with persons whose performance resulted in rapid promotion.
In contrast to monitoring, inquiry involves directly asking relevant others for their perceptions or evaluations (Ashford & Cummings, 1983). Inquiry involves not only direct questions about performance, but also indirect questions that elicit comments about performance (Ashford & Cummings, 1983). These indirect questions might include asking for additional work that requires a certain level or type of performance or asking for promotions or raises which would be contingent on performance. Types of feedback
evaluative and cognitive (see Table 4). Evaluative feedback, also referred to as outcome feedback, provides general ratings and information about how well the
individual is meeting performance goals. Typically, evaluative feedback is expressed in terms such as good and bad, success and failure, or right and wrong.
This study will examine two types of feedback--


Table 4
Types of Feedback
Feedback Type
Evaluative general
ratings or corapar i sons
Cognit ive speci f ic
object i ves or goals
Examples_
good or bad success or failure excellent or poor
examples of behavior suggestions on how to improve frequency of behavior


Cognitive feedback provides the individual with specific information about appropriate behaviors necessary to achieve goals (Herold & Greller, 1977). This type of feedback is characterized by specific examples of work behaviors, suggestions on how performance can be improved, or specific levels of goal achievement. Sources of feedback
In most organizations supervisors and coworkers are important sources of feedback. This dissertation will examine two types of sources--legitimate and expert (see Table 5). Legitimate sources are those persons that control the rewards and sanctions that are received or anticipated by the recipient. Expert sources are those persons who possess the expertise necessary to judge performance.
Supervisors possess legitimate authority, but their subordinates do not necessarily perceive them as being experts. Expertise is attributed to a feedback source when the source has the opportunity to observe relevant behaviors, when the source possesses the education, training, and skill to adequately perform the target job, and when the source is trustworthy (Halperin et al., 1976; Huse, 1967; Tuckman & Oliver, 1968). Supervisors are not experts for two major reasons.
First, supervisors do not always have the opportunity to observe subordinate performance. For example, Tuckman and Oliver (1968) found that student ratings of teaching has


22
Table 5
Sources of Feedback
Source
Character i st i cs
Examples
Leg i t imate
hierarchical authority high status control rewards and
sanct i ons bi ased
hidden agendas
supervisors other managers
Expert
skill, knowledge, training frequently observes others
performance unbi ased trustworthy
subord i nates


a more positive effect on subsequent teaching performance
than did supervisor ratings. Apparently teachers felt that
supervisors were not able to observe classroom performance
whereas students were. In addition, supervisors are often
perceived by their subordinates as judgmental and not
helpful, thereby reducing their expertise (Huse, 1967).
Second, supervisors are not always considered
trustworthy. In most organizations the supervisors*
feedback to subordinates, both formally and informally,
serves as a guide to performance, the standard against which
the individual's performance will be judged, and the
criterion a for distributing rewards and administering
sanctions. For all but the simplest and most routine task,
the evaluation of performance depends on the subjective
judgment of the supervisor (Smith, 1976). Most performance
evaluations are subject to any number of rating errors
including ambiguous criteria, failure to consider all
important aspects of a job, and rater biases and hidden
agendas (Bernardin & Villanova, 1986). Many of
organizational resources (such as raises, bonuses, and
promotions) are scarce and equitable distribution depends on
performance differences that are not easily discernible (Pfeffer, 1981).
Therefore, in many organizations, coworkers and, in some cases, subordinates may be considered experts. They are more able to observe the individual's behavior on a


regular basis (Tuchman & Oliver, 1967) and they are often perceived as trustworthy (Huse, 1967). In addition, since they perform the same or a similar job, coworkers are often
viewed as knowledgeable and skillful.
Having described feedback seeking strategies, types of feedback sought, and sources of feedback sought, we now turn
to developing hypotheses about the relationships between approval and achievement needs and the components of feedback seeking behavior.
Hypotheses about Individual Needs and Feedback Seeking Behavior
Three sets of hypotheses are developed in this section
and are summarized in Table 6. The first four hypotheses
concern individual needs and feedback seeking strategy, the
second four concern individual needs and types of information sought, the last four concern individual needs and sources of feedback sought.
Individual Needs and Feedback Seekin
The choice of feedback seeking strategy depends on the value that feedback has for the individual, the utility of feedback for fulfilling individual's goals, and the costs incurred in obtaining feedback (Ashford & Cummings, 1983).
In general, individuals will use a lower cost feedback seeking strategy first and will only use a higher cost strategy if the lower cost one fails to provide the feedback
consistent with the individuals' needs, values, and goals.


Table 6
Summary of Hypotheses 1 to 12
Need Strategy Type of Source of
Feedback Feedback
Approval reflective evaluative legitimate
and
comparative apprai sal
(Hlr H2) (H5, H6) (H9, H10)
Achievement direct and cognitive expert
indi rect inqui ry
(H3, H4) (H7, H8) (Hll, H12)


26
Monitoring strategies will entail more effort than inquiry strategies when behaviors are ambiguous and when there are changes in the evaluation criteria. In these situations, feedback seekers will more likely use inquiry strategies. Greater effort is required for inquiry strategies when the availability to the source is limited, the sources are less familiar with the feedback seeker's behavior, or the behavior is complex. Inquiry strategies will be used in these situations (Ashford & Cummings, 1983).
Monitoring strategies merely involve observing others; inquiry strategies involve interaction with others. This public interaction opens and subjects the feedback seeker to the judgment of others. In addition, inquiry strategies may reveal something about the seeker that he or she may not want known, such as uncertainty or low self-confidence. Face loss costs are higher when individuals use inquiry strategies (Ashford & Cummings, 1983).
Although they are incurred for both monitoring and inquiry strategies, inference costs are likely to be higher for monitoring than inquiry. Interpreting the work situation, the behavior of others, and one's own behavior may be guided by individuals' motives, expectations and goals. Monitoring may result in a biased interpretation that is quite different from the actual evaluation by others. When feedback accuracy is important, individuals


27
are more likely to use inquiry strategies (Ashford & Cummings, 1983) .
Since all three costs are involved, simultaneously, when they seek feedback, individuals choose the strategy that entails the lower costs, based on their individual goals and needs. The choice of feedback seeking strategy also depends upon the function that feedback serves for the individual (Battman, 1988; Larson, 1989). Need for Approval and feedback seeking strategy
The fear of negative evaluation or disapproval combined with low self-esteem make face loss cost very high for individuals high in Need for Approval. Their dependence on the approval of others and the approval functions that
feedback serves for them make face loss costs even more salient. These individuals would rather have no information than risk receiving negative or ego threatening information (Millham & Jacobson, 1978). For example, Efran and Boylin (1967) conducted a laboratory study in which subjects were given a choice of tasks. One tasks required that they ask for evaluation of their performance; the other did not require asking for an evaluation. Persons high in Need for Approval chose the task that did not require asking for an evaluation.
In addition, several studies reveal that persons high in Need for Approval actively monitor their environment. They demonstrate more awareness and responsiveness to


28
subtle, positive evaluative contingencies than persons low in Need for Approval (Crowne & Strickland, 1961; Dixon, 1970; Marlowe, Beecher, Cook & Doob, 1964; Milburn, Bell & Koeske, 1970; Strickland, 1965; Strickland & Jenkins, 1964). These studies also suggest that information accuracy is less important than the risk of losing face. Specifically, approval dependent persons are less sensitive to and may even filter out negative information concerning performance (Jacobson & Ford, 1966; Milburn et al., 1970; Strickland, 1965; Strickland & Jenkins, 1964).
For individuals high in Need for Approval, the face loss costs associated with inquiry strategies are likely to be higher than the inference and cognitive effort costs associated with monitoring strategies. Thus,
Hypothesis 1 Individuals who are high in Need for
Approval are more likely to use monitoring strategies than individuals who are high in Need for Achievement.
Hypothesis 2 Individuals who are high in Need for
Approval are more likely to use monitoring strategies than inquiry strateg ies.
Need for Achievement and feedback seeking strategy
Persons with a high achievement motivation view evaluation as important information regarding their competence, ability, and how performance can be improved (Weiner, 1978). Because of their high self-esteem, they are not threatened by negative evaluation, and prefer to risk negative evaluation rather than to have inaccurate


29
information about performance (Weiner, 1978). In experimental studies, individuals with high achievement motivation request more feedback than those who are not high in achievement motivation (Battman, 1988).
The desire for intermediate difficulty tasks among individuals high in Need for Achievement indicates a preference for personal feedback or knowledge about oneself (Weiner, 1978). Weiner (1978) argues that intermediate difficulty tasks (rather than easy or very hard ones) provide more accurate information regarding performance and how performance can be improved.
Because achievement motivation persons prefer specific,
diagnostic information about their performance, the physical
effort and face loss costs associated with inquiry will be
low and the inference costs ot monitoring will be high. In
other words, achievement motivated individuals prefer to
risk negative evaluation rather than to have incomplete or
inaccurate information. Therefore,
Hypothesis 3 Individuals who are high in Need for
Achievement are more likely to use inquiry strategies than individuals who are high in Need for Approval.
Hypothesis 4 Individuals who are high in Need for
Achievement are more likely to use inquiry strategies than monitoring strategies.
Individual Needs and Types of Feedback Sought
Several studies suggest that there might be systematic relationships between the functions that feedback serves for


30
the individual and whether that individual seeks cognitive
or evaluative feedback. For example, Battman (1988) argues
that the informational value of feedback is related to the
individual's motivation to seek feedback. That is,
individuals want and need different types of feedback and
will seek out the type of feedback that they want and need.
Moreover, Battman (1988) suggests that individuals differ in
their motivation to seek feedback with diagnostic,
informational, emotional, and performance value, depending
on the function that feedback serves for them. In addition,
Larson (1989) proposes that individuals seek out types information that confirm or enhance their self-image
(positive) and avoid types of information that is
threatening (negative). Battman (1988) observed that
individual differences (such as anxiety and self-confidence)
are important determinants of the individual avoidance of
negat ive i nformat ion.
Some researchers have found that individual needs, such
as Need for Achievement, are related to preferences for
certain types of feedback (Buckert, Meyer & Schmaldt, 1979;
Halisch & Heckhausen, 1977; Sachs, 1982). For example,
Weiner (1978) argues that the moderately difficult task
preferred by persons high in Need for Achievement indicates
that individual prefers feedback that is cognitive or
informational.


31
Need for Approval and type of feedback sought
Several studies have found that approval dependent persons prefer and seek out evaluative feedback. For example, Kanfer and Marston (1964) studied the acceptance of different types of information. They found that individuals high in Need for Approval prefer reflective (i.e., evaluative) comments from evaluators (Kanfer & Marston, 1964). In addition, approval dependent persons tend to judge themselves on an evaluative good--bad dimension (Pervin & Lilly, 1967) and tend also to judge others on the same dimension (Crowne, 1979). This indicates that feedback does not need to be specific in order to meet the goals of the individual high in Need for Approval.
The preference for evaluative versus cognitive feedback among persons high in Need for Approval is also suggested by research on feedback seeking strategies. For example, Efran and Boylin (1967) report that persons high in Need for Approval prefer no avoid tasks which provide specific performance feedback. In addition, Battman (1988) has demonstrated that persons with low self-esteem avoid
specific performance feedback which potentially contains negat ive i nformat ion.
Because it serves signalling, ego defensive, and uncertainty reduction functions, feedback does not need to be specific. All the approval dependent person needs to know is whether or not others approve or disapprove of his


or her behavior. Since this individual tends to avoid
information that could signal disapproval,
othesis 5 Individuals who are high in Need for
Approval are more likely to evaluative feedback than individuals who are high in Need for Achievement.
othesis 6 Individuals who are high in Need for
Approval are more likely to
evaluative feedback than cognitive feedback.
Need for Achievement and type of feedback sought
There are no studies which directly address the
preference for evaluative versus cognitive feedback among individuals high in Need for Achievement. However, several studies suggest that these persons prefer and seek out
cognitive feedback. For example, Battman (1988) found that individuals with high achievement motivation, and high
concepts of ability try to exploit the diagnostic value of feedback. Because it is more specific, cognitive feedback is likely to contain more diagnostic information than
evaluative feedback.
Individuals high in Need for Achievement are concerned
with performance excellence. High achievement motivated
persons prefer tasks of intermediate difficulty, probably due to the higher diagnostic value of these tasks (Trope, 1975; Trope & Brinkman, 1975). Weiner (1978) argues that the intermediate difficulty tasks preferred by individuals high in Need for Achievement indicate their preference for specific information. That is, intermediate difficulty


tasks provide the most information regarding ability and performance and how performance can be improved.
In addition, in their review of feedback research, Ilgen et al. (1979) argue that individuals with high self-esteem and high achievement needs prefer information that conveys a sense of competence and control over the task. They argue that competence and control information is specific, explicit, and contains both positive and negative information.
The preference for intermediate difficulty tasks and preference for specific performance information suggests that,
Hypothesis 7 Individuals who are high in Need for
Achievement are more likely to seek cognitive feedback than individuals who are high in Need for Approval.
Hypothesis 8 Individuals who are high in Need for
Achievement are more likely to seek cognitive feedback than evaluative feedback.
Individual Needs and Sources of Feedback
The study of feedback seeking behavior has viewed the supervisor as the source of the feedback that individuals seek (Ashford & Cummings, 1983; Battman, 1988; Larson, 1989). However, the previous discussion on source characteristics indicates that individuals may seek feedback from any of a number of sources including subordinates, peers, or supervisors. Ashford and Cummings (1983) suggest that the costs of seeking feedback may be related to


34
characteristics of the source. Specifically, they propose
that when an individual trusts the source of feedback, he or
she will incur lower inference costs when using inquiry
strategies. Therefore, it seems likely that individuals
would tend to seek feedback from expert or legitimate
sources or both.
Need for Approval and source of feedback souqht
Research on the behavior of persons high in Need for
Approval indicates a strong preference for approval from high status individuals. For example, in experimental
studies they tend to agree with inaccurate statements made by others, and the higher the status, the more they agree (Miller, Doob, Butler & Marlowe, 1965). That is, they will
agree with whatever high status persons say.
Ilgen et al. (1979) concluded that extrinsic rather
than intrinsic motivation is related to acceptance of and willingness to comply with feedback from supervisors. For persons high in Need for Approval, the intrinsic meaning of
behavior is not as important as is the evaluation of high status evaluators (Dixon, 1970).
Moreover, in related research, Baron and his colleagues
have found that externals (as measured by Rotter's (1966) InternalExternal Locus of Control Scale) rely on feedback from supervisors to develop expectations about the relationship between performance and extrinsic rewards (Baron, Cowan & Ganz, 1974; Baron & Ganz, 1972). Their


35
research indicates that externals are more concerned with
feedback from supervisors or powerful others. Externals are
similar to those who are high in Need for Approval because
they are concerned with the approval of others, they have
low self-esteem, and use defensive behaviors.
Individuals high in Need for Approval depend on the
approval persons with high legitimate authority or status and rely on them to indicate which goals and values are
important. Thus,
Hypothesis 9 -
Individuals who are high in Need for Approval prefer, and are more attentive to, feedback from high status individuals than individuals who
high in Need for Achievement.
othesis
- Individuals who are high in Need for Approval prefer, and are more attentive to, feedback from high status individuals than from individuals who are perceived to be expert.
Need for Achievement and source of feedback souqht
Because they are more concerned with successful task
performance, persons who are high in achievement motivation seek information from the sources that help them to demonstrate excellence in performance through competent
problem-solving (Battman, 1988).
In his review of research
on Need for Achievement, Weiner (1978) concluded that high in Need for Achievement are more likely to seek information about their jobs from individuals who know the job best, even if that person is a peer.


36
In related research, Weiss (1977) reported that individuals with high self-esteem modeled the behavior of
their supervisors less than those with low self-esteem. In
addition, in numerous studies on internal--external locus of
control, Baron concluded that internals, characterized by high self-esteem and confidence, rely less on feedback fron high status individuals than do externals (Baron et al.,
1974; Baron & Ganz, 1972).
Individuals high in Need for Achievement are those
whose needs can be fulfilled through excellent task performance. They have high self-esteem and confidence in their ability and performance. Their preference for feedback that conveys a sense of competence and a sense of
personal control suggests that,
othesis 11 Individuals who are high in Need for
Achievement prefer, and are more attentive to, feedback from individuals who are perceived to be expert than individuals who are high in Need for Approval.
Hypothesis 12 Individuals who are high in Need for
Achievement prefer, and are more attentive to, feedback from individuals who are perceived to be expert than from individuals who are high status.
Hypotheses about Feedback Seekinq Behavior
and Performance
In this section, three hypotheses about the relationship between feedback seeking behavior and
performance are developed. The first concerns the effect


of feedback seeking strategy on performance; the second
relates type of feedback to performance; and the third
concerns the relationship between source of feedback sought and performance.
Feedback Seeking Strategy and Performance
The effect that feedback seeking strategy has on performance is a consequence of the accuracy of the information that the individual receives. Monitoring requires attention to cues and inferences about the meaning of the cues and is subject to the same biases and errors that characterize general information processing (e.g., Nisbett & Wilson, 1977; Ross, 1977). Monitoring may result in selective attention to the cues that the individual
perceives as most salient. Different needs, functions of
feedback, and costs of seeking feedback will likely make
some cues more salient than others, and the cues that are
more salient may not be accurate or those that are
performance related. Thus,
Hypothesis 13 Individuals who use an inquiry
strategy will have higher performance evaluations than individuals who use a monitoring strategy.
Type of Feedback Sought and Performance
Feedback enhances performance because it provides
information about how the environment can be changed,
thereby enhancing a sense of efficacy or competence
(Bandura, 1986). It also provides information about
progress toward and attainment of relevant goals (Locke,


38
Shawf Saari & Latham, 1981). The more specific the feedback, the greater the effects on performance (Annett, 1969; Kopelman, 1986; Ilgen et al., 1979).
Most research has indicated that cognitive, rather than evaluative, feedback is important for high levels of performance (Kopelman, 1986). Cognitive feedback is a more powerful motivator that evaluative feedback because it provides information that helps to establish, maintain, or strengthen various perceived effort reward contingencies (Ilgen et al., 1979). Nonspecific feedback (evaluations of superior, adequate, or poor) has only a minimal effect on task performance (Montague & Webber, 1965). Therefore,
Hypothesis 14 Individuals who seek cognitive
feedback will have higher performance evaluations than individuals who seek evaluative feedback.
Source of Feedback Sought and Performance
Feedback research suggests that performance is dependent on acceptance of and willingness to respond to feedback (Ilgen et al., 1979). Acceptance of feedback is based on perceived credibility of the source; willingness to respond to or comply with feedback is based on the perceived power of the source.
Supervisors or high status persons may not be credible. It was argued previously that supervisors are not often perceived as credible for two reasons. First, they may not often observe the individual's performance. Second, individuals often perceive that supervisors are not


39
trustworthy. Therefore, in many organizations, coworkers
are often considered the real experts.
Power is dependent on the extent to which the source
provides unambiguous performance reward contingencies
(Ilgen, et al., 1979). Supervisors may not be particularly powerful for two important reasons. First, rewards in most
organizations are scarce and equitable distribution of those resources may depend on performance differences that are not
easily discernable (Pfeffer, 1981). Second, distribution of rewards may be based on factors other than performance, such as favoritism or likability (Duarte, 1988).
It seems likely then, that supervisors or high status individuals do not have the credibility and that,
Hypothesis 15 Individuals who seek feedback from
persons who are perceived as expert are
more likely to have higher performance evaluations than individuals who seek feedback from high status persons.
In the next chapter, the research setting, the scales used to measure the variables, the method employed to test the hypotheses, and preliminary analyses are described. Chapter 3 presents the results of a series of regression analyses that were used to test the hypotheses while the last chapter presents a discussion of the results and implications for future theory and research.


CHAPTER 2 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
This chapter deals with the research methodology of the dissertation. It is divided into six sections: a description of the research settings; the procedures used to collect data from respondents; description of the research instrument; descriptive statistics on the scales and subscales; the results of maximum likelihood factor analyses; and a discussion of the correlations among the variables.
Research Settincp Data were collected from five sources, all located in the southeast: a local subsidiary of a national newspaper chain, one branch store of a large department store chain, a locally owned furniture store, and two universities.
Newspaper Sample
Data were collected from 75 members of a local
subsidiary of a national newspaper chain, which employees 225 people. This company produces a daily newspaper which serves a local community with a population of approximately 125,000. Production of the daily newspaper involves reporting on local and state news events, compiling wire
service news stories, incorporating syndicated news
40


41
opinion, and special interest columns, and printing and distribution of the newspaper. In addition, the company has contracts for preproduction and printing for several weekly publications, including Sunday supplements for other newspapers, weekly special interest supplements for other newspapers, and several weekly newspapers.
There were 39 female subjects and the average age of the subjects was 35 years old. All of the respondents have at least completed high school. All of the subjects worked full-time. The sample was 65% Caucasian and 35% Black. Average organizational tenure was 5.9 years; average job tenure was 5.5 years. Five percent were supervisors. The following six departments of the newspaper took part in the study: classified sales, circulation, production, preproduction, advertizing, news, and various support departments. Department Store Sample
Data were collected from 72 employees of a branch store
(out of a total of 125 employees) which is part of a
department store chain. The department store sells up-scale
clothing and accessories for infants, children, teens, and adults.
Three groups of employees participated in the survey:
sales associates, sales supervisors, and office staff. Ninety-five percent of the employees who were scheduled to work on the days on which the survey was administered


completed the questionnaire.
The employees that did not
participate were not scheduled to work on the days on which
the survey were administered, were on vacation, or were absent. Seventy-nine percent are women, sixty-five percent
work full-time, all have completed high school, eighty-three percent are Caucasian. The average age is 32 years old. Most have been employed at the store less than two years. Furniture Company Sample
Data was collected from 134 members of a furniture company in a large city in the south. The company sells moderately priced furniture in stores located throughout the metropolitan area. The stores are supported by 125 warehouse and office staff. Thirty percent are male, sixty percent are Caucasian. All have completed high school, and ten percent have at least attended college. The respondents have worked for the company an average of 2.9 years. The
Data were collected from 57 students enrolled in business policy and a personnel courses at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The university offers full and part time undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Courses for both programs are offered during the day and in the
evening. Only data collected from students employed at least part-time were included in the study. The students work in a variety of occupations from entry level, minimum
average age is 33 years old.
University Alpha


43
wage to middle management, including medical, accounting and bookkeeping, sales, customer service, technical, food
service, education, and management. Sixty-five percent are male, ninety-six percent are Caucasian. Eighty-eight percent work full-time. They have worked for their current employer an average of 4.46 years. The average age is 31 years old, and all have completed a 4 year undergraduate program. University Beta
Data was also collected from 51 students enrolled in an Organizational Behavior course at a the University of Florida. The College of Business Administration offers undergraduate and graduate degrees. Students who participated in this research were pursuing full-time undergraduate business or full-time graduate accounting degrees. Only data from students working at least part-time were used in this research.
The students work in a variety of jobs including clerical, sales, food service, stock and delivery, accounting and bookkeeping, and technical. Sixty percent are female, and ninety-five percent are Caucasian. The average age is 24 years old. Fifty-four percent have worked for their employer less than one year.


Procedure
Newspaper Sample
The author met with the Publisher, representing herself as an instructor at the University of Florida who was working on a doctoral dissertation in organizational behavior. At that meeting, the researcher presented a brief summary of the proposed research and a copy of the questionnaire that would be administered. She explained that the study would examine the ways employees sought information about their performance when they felt they wanted or needed more information. The Publisher agreed to allow employees to complete the survey on company time. He expressed concern about the feasibility of obtaining data from the sales and editorial staff, due to their varied and hectic schedules.
The author and Publisher agreed that participation in the survey would be voluntary, and individual responses would be confidential. The researcher promised feedback to the Publisher, supervisors, and employees, and made it clear that the data would be in summary form.
The circulation, preproduction, and production employees completed the survey during the work day. Participant's supervisors scheduled groups of three to ten employees to complete the survey during working hours. At the beginning of each data collection session, the author introduced herself, explained what the study was about, and


noted that participation was voluntary, individual responses were confidential, and all feedback to participating organizations and individuals would contain only summarized results. All who were scheduled completed the survey.
Because of schedule conflicts and pressure to meet press time deadlines, other departments could not schedule on site administration of the survey. Surveys were distributed to the billing, sales, editorial, and administrative staff and were collected several days later. The researcher met with each department supervisor, explained the research project, and discussed the voluntary nature of participation, confidentiality, and summary feedback. Each supervisor was instructed to present these points to his or her subordinates before distributing the questionnaires. Eighty percent of the billing staff completed and returned the surveys. However, only ten percent of the sales and editorial staff completed and returned the surveys. The data were collected over a two week period.
The researcher met with the Vice President for Personnel at the company's headquarters. The author presented herself as an instructor at the University of Florida who was doing research for a doctoral dissertation in organizational behavior. She described the research as a study of how people get more information about their


46
performance if they felt they needed more. The Vice President agreed to arrange access to one of the branch stores and to authorize the store manager to allow employees to complete the questionnaire on company time. At that time the Vice President suggested that housekeeping and stock personnel should not oe included, because most were uneducated and might have considerable difficulty completing the questionnaire. The researcher and Vice President agreed that participation in the study should be voluntary and that all responses should be confidential. The researcher promised feedback to the Vice President, store manager, and employees after the research project was completed. All feedback would be in summary form; no individual responses would be provided.
Subsequently, the author contacted the store manager of the branch store, which the Vice President had arranged to participate in the study. The store manager agreed to schedule his employees to allow for all who were interested to participate in the study. Data would be collected on two days, beginning at 11:00 AM on a Friday and ending at store closing on Saturday. The researcher explained the voluntary and confidential nature of the study and that only summary results would be provided.
The researcher was assisted by a colleague who is familiar with survey research in organizational settings. He was briefed on the study. Questionnaires were


47
distributed in the store meeting room. Employees came to the meeting room individually, were told the purpose and nature of the study, and were directed to complete the questionnaire in the meeting room and turn them in to the researcher or her assistant.
In a formal written proposal to the President of the company, the author explained that the research v/as a study of the experiences and feeling people have when they seek feedback about their job performance and was part of the researcher's doctoral dissertation in organizational behavior. The President agreed to arrange for his employees
to participate in the research during their regularly scheduled working hours. Prior to administration of the questionnaire, the researcher and the Personnel Manager met, discussed, and agreed that participation would be voluntary, that all individual responses would be voluntary, and that feedback to the organization and individuals would be in summary form only.
The researcher administered the questionnaire in groups of five to fifteen employees. She explained the purpose of the research, the voluntary and confidential nature of the research, and that all feedback would be in summary form. Each employee turned in the survey when completed and returned to work.


48
University Alpha
The author contacted a colleague who was an assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and arranged for students in his classes to complete the questionnaire. Since he had assisted the researcher with data collection at the department store and was familiar with the nature of the study and the administration of the questionnaire, he agreed to administer the questionnaire.
He explained that a colleague at the University of Florida was conducting a survey to study the experiences and feelings people have when they receive information about their job performance and what they do to get additional information if they want it. In addition, he explained that participation was voluntary and that all individual responses would be kept confidential. Students completed the questionnaire during class time and received class participation credit. University Beta
The author asked students in her Organizational Behavior class to participate in the research project. She explained that the purpose of the research was to study how people get information about their job performance. Also, she explained the participation was voluntary and all individual responses were confidential. Students completed the survey in class and received class participation credit.


Instruments and Measures The survey used in this study, with instructions and a cover letter explaining the nature of the research appears in Appendix 1. The variables used are discussed in more detail below. Need for Approval
The need for approval was measured by the 33-item Marlowe-Crown Social Desirability Scale (Crowne & Marlowe, 1960); the scale is presented in Appendix 2. Participants respond true (T) or false (F) to each item. This scale has oeen used extensively in research and has demonstrated adequate reliability (KR-20 around .88) and validity (Millham & Jacobson, 1979). Although originally developed as a measure of social desirability response bias, the scale is more accurately interpreted as a measure of a stable need with important behavioral correlates (Crowne & Marlowe, 1964; Millham & Jacobson, 1978; Strickland, 1979). Need for Achievement
The need for achievement was measured by 28-item, five-point Likert Achievement Motive Scale (Hermans, 1970); the scale is presented in Appendix 3. The scale measures the following dimensions of the need for achievement construct: moderate aspiration level, preference for moderate level of risk, striving for upward mobility, persistence in task completion, desire to complete interrupted tasks, dynamic time perception, future-oriented time perspective, partner


choice based on competence, seeking recognition through excellence, and strong desire to perform well. The scale demonstrates adequate reliability (coefficient alpha .82) and validity (Hermans, 1970). Feedback Seeking Behavior
Five subscales make up the Feedback Seeking Behavior Scale and are comprised of newly developed items. These items are designed to identify the strategies that individuals use when they seek information about their performance, the types of feedback information that they seek, the sources from which feedback is sought, the functions that feedback serves for individuals, and the costs that are incurred when feedback is sought. The method used to develop the items will be discussed first, followed by a discussion of the feedback seeking behavi or subscales.
Students enrolled in Organizational Behavior and Principles of Management classes at the University of Florida responded to open-ended questions. The questions were designed to assess the types of performance information sought, the strategies used to obtain performance information, the sources of information, the functions that performance feedback serves, and the costs of seeking feedback. The items used appear in Appendix 4. Only the responses from students who were working at least part-time


51
were used to generate the feedback seeking items used in
this research
The responses to each question were recorded, and separated into categories consistent with feedback seeking
theory. Then, the most frequent responses were chosen for the research questionnaire. Forty- eight items were
retained and make up the Feedback Seeking Behavior Scale
Respondents were asked to mark on a five-point Likert
scale how much they agreed or disagreed with questions that
asked for their feelings and opinions about performance
information that they received from their supervisors. The anchors ranged from strongly disagree (1) to strongly
agree (5).
Feedback Seeking Strategies
These items are designed to determine the strategies of
monitoring and inquiry that individuals use to obtain performance feedback. Monitoring strategies
Monitoring items assess whether individuals obtain
performance information by reflective or comparative appraisal. Reflective appraisal items measure a feedback seeking strategy based on the individuals observation of the
favorableness of others' behavior towards him or her.
6. I try to figure out how well I am doing by considering how my supervisor treats me.
12. Getting respect from my peers is a good indicator of
how well I am doing on the job.


52
27. My supervisor's attitude toward me is a sign of how
well I am doing my job.
31. I would not ask my supervisor for an
evaluation of my performance because I assume that I am doing my job well unless he/she
something to me.
Comparative appraisal is measured by the following
i terns:
4. Comparing my raises and promotions to those of my
coworkers is one way that I know how I am doing on the job.
14. A good way to tell how well I am doing on my job is
to compare my performance to those who are really considered successful here.
23. If I am unsure how well I am doing my jobf I try to
compare my performance to that of others.
Inquiry strategies
The inquiry subscales determine whether individuals obtain information by either direct or indirect questioning The direct inquiry strategy items are as follows:
16. When I want more information about my job
performance, I ask my supervisor.
18. If I did not understand how my performance
evaluation was determined, I would ask my supervisor for an explanation.
26. I am not hesitant about asking my supervisor
or co-workers for advise on improving my performance.
28. If I am uncertain about how I am doing on my
job, I would ask my supervisor.
Indirect inquiry is assessed by
10. When asking for evaluation information from
my supervisor I think it is best to ask indirect rather than direct questions.


21. When I want more information about my job
performance, I try to hint to my supervisor that I want an evaluation.
33. If I wanted to know how I well I was doing
on my job, I would talk to my co-workers about my performance and hope my supervisor over-hears the conversation.
Types of Feedback Souqht
These items were designed to assess the two basic types of information that people seek, evaluative and cognitive. Evaluative feedback
Evaluative feedback items include
15. It is important to know how my job performance
compares to that of my co-workers.
17. I prefer to know how I am doing overall rather than
to know specific information about my performance.
30. If I was given a choice between getting an overall
rating or information on how to improve my job performance I would prefer the overall rating.
Coqn i t i ve feedback
Cognitive information is assessed by the following
5. In a performance review, I am more concerned about finding out specific ways of improving my performance rather than just finding out my supervisor's overall evaluation.
8. Specific information about my job performance is more important to me than an overall rating.
13. I prefer to be told how I can improve my
performance rather than to be told how well I am doing on the job in general.
items:


Sources of Feedback Sou
The items in this scale measure an individual's preference for information from different sources. The research examined two sources leg i t imate and expert. Legitimate source
Legitimate source items are
7. I do not think a co-worker's opinion of my
performance is important because he/she is on the same level as I am.
11. No matter how much experience a co-worker
has, I do not think his/her opinion about my performance is important.
19. My supervisor's evaluation of my performance
is important because he/she controls my future in the company.
32. My supervisor's comments on my performance
would be more important to me than my co-workers' comments even if my performance were more readily visible to my co-workers.
36. Even if I trust my co-worker's more, I think
my supervisor's opinion of how I am doing my job is more important.
41. I would value my supervisor's opinion of my
job performance because he/she is the boss, even if he/she were not the best qualified to judge my performance.
Expert source
Expert source is measured with the following:
22. To do the best job, it is useful to ask
people who know the job best even if they are co-workers.
25. I would rather have a respected co-worker
comment on my performance than my supervisor.
29. If I thought my co-workers were more
knowledgeable about ray job than my boss,I would take ray boss's evaluation less seriously.


55
45. If my co-workers are more objective than my
supervisor, I would rather have their opinion about my performance than my supervisor's
opinion.
48. If I need more information about my job
performance, the best person to ask would be someone who knows the job best, even if that person is a co-worker.
Functions of Feedback
Feedback serves several purposes for the individual
including approval from others, progress toward meeting
one's own goals, and progress toward meeting other's goals.
The two functions examined in this study are approval and
goal.
Approval function
The approval function of feedback is assessed with the
following items:
3. Knowing that I am doing a good job is important to me because I want others to like me.
34. My supervisor's opinion of my performance is
important, because I don't want him/her to think badly of me.
43. My supervisor's evaluation of my performance
is important, because I want him/her to think well of me.
Goal function
The goal function of feedback is assessed by three
35. I care about knowing how well I am doing
my job because then I know if I am meeting my own expectations.
37. My own performance expectations are more
important to me than my supervisor's.
i terns.


47. Knowing how well I am doing my job is
important to me because it tells me how well I am meeting my supervisors expectations.
Costs of Seeking Feedback
The costs of seeking feedback was measured with
subscales designed to identify two costsface saving ego defensive.
Face saving
Face saving cost items are
2. I would not ask my supervisor about my
performance because it might call attention to my performance.
44. I would not ask my supervisor about my job
performance because he/she might think I am too pushy or aggressive.
46. I would not ask my supervisor about my
performance because someone might think I was brown-nosing.
Ego defensive
Ego defensive cost is measured by
39. I would rather hear positive comments about
my performance than negative ones even if the
negative ones would help me improve my performance.
38. If I need more information about how well I
am doing my job I would not ask my supervisor because he/she might be critical.
42. I would not hesitate to ask my supervisor
about my job performance even if I might hear something negative about myself or my performance.
40. I would find it intimidating to ask my
supervisor about my job performance.


57
Satisfaction with Feedback
The items in the satisfaction with feedback subscale
measure respondents' satisfaction with the current amount,
type, and frequency of both formal and informal feedback
that they receive from their supervisors.
1. I would like it if my supervisor would tell me more often how I am doing on my job.
9. I am satisfied with the amount of information my supervisor gives me about my performance.
20. I would like more information about what's
wrong with my performance than I am currently getting.
24. I would like to know more about how my performance
compares to my coworkers'.
Perf ormance
Individuals were asked to rate on a five-point scale from Unacceptable (1) to Outstanding (5) their job
performance based on their last formal performance
evaluation.
Formal Feedback
Respondents were asked for information on the formal
evaluation process where they worked. They were asked to indicate how often they receive a formal performance
evaluation (responses ranged from there is no performance evaluation system where I work (1) to more than four times a
year (7) .
In addition, they were asked to indicate whether
they received (yes) or did not receive (no) the following types of information in their formal performance evaluation
overall rating, specific examples of job performance, what


53
they did right or wrong, suggestions on how to improve performance, and information about how they compare with
other employees. Informal Feedback
Respondents were also asked to indicate on a five-point scale how often they received certain kinds of performance information outside of the formal evaluation process. Frequencies ranged from Never (1) to Several times a week (5). The kinds of information were: how they are doing on the job, suggestions on how performance can be improved, how their performance compared to that of others, praise for the job they are doing, criticism for the job they are doing.
Having described the sample, procedure, and survey used to collect data for this research, we turn now to a discussion of the descriptive statistics, factor analyses, and correlations obtained.
Preliminary Analysis Descriptive statistics for each major variable were computed. In addition test for differences in means of each major variable on demographic and organizational variables were conducted.
Descriptive Statistics
The means, standard deviations, coefficient alpha reliabilities, Kolmogorov-Smirnov D-statistic, and the index of Skewness for each major variable were computed and are


59
presented in Table 7. The differences in sample sizes across the variables represent missing values. The means and standard deviations of the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale and the Achievement Motive Scale are
similar to those generally reported for those scales (Crowne & Marlowe, 1964; Hermans, 1973). Since the feedback seeking behavior scales are new, there are no figures with which to compare them.
The reliability of the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale and the Achievement Motive Scale (.88 and .77, respectively) are consistent with reliabilities previously reported for those scales (Crowne & Marlowe, 1964; Hermans, 1973). The reliabilities for the feedback subscales range from .73 to .43 with all but three below the .70 criterion recommended by Nunnally (1978).
Columns 5 and 6 of Table 7 show the results of tests for normality for the scales used in this research. The statistical analyses used in this study are based on the assumption that data come from a normal distribution. The Kolmogorov-Smirnov D-statistic is used to assess this assumption. Values of this statistic range from zero to one; smaller values indicate that the data are more likely to come from a normal distribution (Afifi & Clark, 1984). Only Need for Achievement (p < .05) is normally distributed. Need for Approval, comparative appraisal, expert source,


60
Table 7
Means, Standard Deviations, and Distribution
Statistics
Var iable
n
Mean
Std. Coef.
d:
Skewness
Dev. alpha Norm.
Need for
Approva1
Need for
Achievement
373
360
17. 55
102.76
7.08
9.77
. 88
.77
0.088*
0.047
0.291
-3.54 7
Comparat ive
Appra i sa1
361
9.15 2.61
.53
0.107** -0.053
Reflect ive
Appra i sal
361
10.11
2.48
.57
0.146** -0.630
Direct Inquiry
361
15.53
2. 92
73
0.184** -0.963
Indirect Inquiry
361
6.40
2.02
43
0.187** 0.838
Cognitive
Feedback
Evaluative
Feedback
361
356
10. 61
3.73
2. 25
2. 05
52
59
0.132** -0.471
0.195** 0.266
Expert Source
359
11.65 3.17
.58
0.087* -0.120
Leg i t imate
Source
361
8.47
2. 31
.67
0.138** 0.326
Approval
Funct i on
361
15. 23
3.41
.62
0.100** 0.169
Goal Function
372
7.39 1.68
.67
0.195** -0.603
Ego Defensive
Cost
361
9.12 2.07
.51
0.161** -0.483
Saving Cost
373
6.04
2.32
.70
0.202** 0.955
Satisfaction
Feedback
358 10.79
2.76
.82
0.128** -0.022
* p<.05 **p<.01


61
and approval function are closer to a normal distribution than the others.
The index of skewness showed that reflective appraisal and direct inquiry were relatively more negatively skewed,
while indirect inquiry, legitimate source face saving costs were more positively skewed than others.
Since both the Kolmogorov-Smirnov D-statistic and the
index of skewness tend to be overly sensitive to minor deviations from normality, histograms and normal probability plots may be more useful in assessing normality (Afifi & Clark, 1984). The histograms and normal probability plots show that the distribution of values is roughly normal. The deviations from normality indicated by the Kolmogorov-Smirnov D-statistic and the index of skewness probably do not represent severe departures from normality. Moreover, because the general linear model used for analysis in this study is fairly robust against all except severe violations of normality (Afifi & Clark, 1984), the deviations from normality observed for these data are not likely to affect the validity of the results. Demographic and Organizational Analysis
The demographic data on age, gender, ethnic background, marital status, and education were obtained from respondents. Respondents were also asked to indicate the type of work they performed, whether they worked full- or part-time, if they supervised other employees, tenure in


62
their current job, tenure in the organization, and tenure under their current supervisor. To assess whether there were any significant differences among the variables on the demograpnic and organizational variables, several one-way analyses of variance (ANOVAs) were conducted on the categorical variables (gender, ethnic background, marital status, and education). If the F-statistic (t-statistic for gender) was found to be significant, Scheffe multiple comparison methods were used to determine which of the means were significantly different.
Significant gender differences were found on Need for Approval, Need for Achievement, monitoring strategy, evaluative feedback, and cognitive feedback. Table 8 contains the result of the Anova analyses for the pairwise compar isons.
Specifically, women scored higher on the MSCD scale measure of Need for Approval and on Herman's Need for Achievement scale. Women report that they use monitoring strategies less often than men. However, there was no difference between the use of inquiry strategies for men and women. Women also report that they seek less evaluative and more cognitive feedback than men.
Individuals who have attended or completed high school have higher Need for Approval and lower Need for Achievement scores than those who have at least attended college. Individuals who have attended or completed high school


Variable
Need for
Approval
Need for
Achi evement
Moni tor i ng
Evaluat ive
Feedback
Cogni t ive
Feedback
Table 8 Gender differences
MSE F-statistic 0.469 3.885
0.784 3.885 0.889 3.885
0.649 3.885 0.996 3.885


report that they seek evaluative information more than individuals who have at least completed graduate or professional school.
There are only three significant correlations between the continuous demographic variables (age, job tenure, organizational tenure, and supervisor tenure) and the variables related to the hypotheses. Older individual tend to score higher on the MCSD scale (r=.17, p<.01) and report using less comparative appraisal than their younger counterparts (r--.ll, p<.05). Supervisor tenure is negatively correlated to Need for Approval (r=-.13, p.<.05).
These results suggest that demographic and organizational variables should not significantly confound testing of the hypotheses of the study.
Factor Analysis Maximum likelihood (ML) factor analyses were conducted on each of the scales used to measure the variables for Hypotheses 1 through 15. This method of factor analysis allows the researcher to perform a confirmatory factor analysis by specifying the number of factors to be rotated prior to factor extraction (Afifi & Clark, 1984). The procedure tests the hypothesis that the number of factors retained is sufficient to explain the correlations among the observed variables. Table 9 contains the number of factors that were specified, eigen values, Chi-square statistic for


65
Table 9
Results of Maximum Likelihood Factor Analyses
Scale
#fact E-value Chi-sql Chi-sq2 Prob>Chi
Need for
Approval
1
9.75
2088.21
774.45
Need for
Achievement 9
14.33# 2182.76
184.40
Comparat i ve
Appraisal
1
0.83
81.45
0.00
Reflective
Appraisal
1
0.99
104.35
0.00
Direct Inquiry
1
1.22
110.73
0.00
Indirect Inquiry 1
0.56
47.16
0.00
Evaluative
Feedback
1
3.72
67. 60
0.00
Cognitive
Feedback
1
0.76
74.29
0.00
Leg i t iraate
Source
1
1.02
106.03
0.00
Expert Source
1
0.95
100.18
3.0 0
+ *
#
More factors are needed to explain the data. Number of factors specified adequately fit the data. Total of the eigen values for the first nine principal components.


the hypothesis that there are no common factors, Chi-square
statistic for the hypothesis that the number of factors specified is sufficient, and Prob>Chi for each of the
scales. The results for each scale are discussed in turn. Need for Approval
The Need for Approval as measured by tne MCSD scale has
been interpreted to be a unidimensional construct. Results of this factor analysis suggests that more than one factor is needed to explain the data. Additional factor analyses were conducted, in order to identify the number of factors that produced a non-significant Chi-square statistic.
A non-significant Chi-square (p=.06) was obtained with an eight factor model. However, this model produced a
factor structure with six factors on which no items loaded .40 or greater. While the Chi-square supported this model
components (with eigen values of 9.75, 1.64, 1.05, and 0.97, accounting for 94 percent of the variance in the data)
indicate that a three or four factor solution may be more appropriate.
The ML procedure was repeated with a both a three and four factor solutions. The Chi-square statistic was still significant for both models, indicating that more than three factors are needed to represent the scale. However, when the pattern factor loadings for both models are examined,
as the best fit of the data, the first four principal


67
the three factor solution appears to be more appropriate. This factor solution is presented in Appendix 5.
Need for Achievement
Hermans constructed the Need for Achievement scale to represent the nine dimensions of the achievement motive. The ML factor analyses conducted with nine factors produced a non-significant Chi-square statistic (p=.1097), indicating that nine factors adequately explain the data. However, the model appeared to be severely overrotated; four of the factors had no items with factor loadings of .40 or greater.
The eigen values of the first four principal components (7.59, 2.68, 1.40, and 1.10, respectively) indicated that four rather than nine factors underlie the scale. Additional ML factor analyses were conducted for other
factor models. The results of the four factor solution are contained in Appendix 6. These results indicate that although the Chi-square obtained for the four factor solution was significant, the pattern of factor loadings was better than any other model.
These factor analyses results indicate that the both scales may have psychometric problems that could potentially confound testing of the hypotheses of this study. Both scales are multidimensional, and their factor structures are weak; many items have loadings less than .40 and some factors have only one or two items which load on it.


Feedback Seeking Strategy
The ML factor analyses conducted for the feedback seeking scales, supported a one factor solution. Although two of the factor loadings were below the generally accepted .40 criterion, solutions with more than one factor did not improve the fit of the data.
The one factor solution for the three item comparative appraisal scale yield factor loadings of .41, .59, and .60. Factor loadings of .37, .65, and .66 were obtained for the three items comprising the referent appraisal scale. For the three item direct inquiry scale, factor loadings were .42, .55, and .63. The factor loadings on the three items of the indirect feedback scale were .35, .46, and .59. Type of Feedback Souqht
The one factor solutions specified for each of the two types of information sought scales were supported. Factor loadings on the two evaluative feedback items were both .65. The three item cognitive feedback scale yielded factor loadings on one of the items of.37. The other two factors loaded .47 and .73 on the other two items. A two factor
solution for the cognitive feedback scale failed to improve the fit of the data. Source of Feedback Sought
The one factor solution for two source of feedback
sought scales were also supported. The factor loaded .71 on both items comprising the legitimate source scale. For the


69
expert source scale, the one factor solution produced factor loadings of .47, .56, and .67 for the three items.
These analyses suggest that the factor structure of the feedback seeking behavior items should not significantly affect tests of the major hypotheses of this study.
Correlat i ons Table 10 contains the Pearson product moment correlations among the variables. First, the correlations among the major variables are presented. Next, the correlations which provide evidence of validity and potential problems with hypothesis testing are discussed. Finally, correlations between feedback seeking behavior and the types and amount of feedback individuals currently receive are discussed.
Individual Needs and Feedback Seeking Behavior
In this section the correlations among the major variables are discussed. This discussion is for descriptive purposes only; the correlations are not used to test the hypotheses.
Need for Approval is negatively correlated with comparative appraisal (r=-.20, p<.0001) and indirect inquiry (r=-.14, p<.01) and positively correlated with direct inquiry (r=.18, p<.001). The correlation with referent appraisal is not significant. Need for Achievement is positively related to direct inquiry (r=.23, p<.0001);


70
Table 10
Correlation Coefficients
NAPP NACH COM REF MON DIR
NACH 4 0 *
COM -.20**** -.04ns
REF -.37ns .39ns .35****
MON -.17*** .33ns .83**** .81****
DIR .18*** .23**** .01ns 2 7 * .16***
I ND -. 14** -.05ns .10* .05ns .09ns .36****
INQ 08ns .20**** 08ns .31**** .23**** .76****
EVL 05ns -.16** 02ns -.03ns -.03ns .13*
COG .12* .20**** 00ns .20*** .12* .23****
LEG .15** .30ns .15** -.08ns -.14** .27****
EXP -.18*** -.13** .19*** .06ns .15** .24****
APP -.05ns -.17*** .18*** .22**** .20**** .35****
GOA 07ns .14** .10ns 05ns 07ns .31****
FAC 34ns -.20**** .01ns -.06ns .03ns .53****
EGD -.35ns -.08ns 24 ** .26**** .25**** .19***
SAT .32ns .34ns 21 * -.20**** 21**** .03ns
PEV 02ns .13* 39ns .35ns 36ns 11ns
FRT .03ns -.33ns 05ns -.38ns -.08ns 09ns
FXM 00ns .30ns 08ns -.31ns -.05ns .12*
FRW -. 02ns .32ns 06ns -.34ns -.06ns 12*
FIM 36ns .31ns 02ns -.08ns -.06ns .23****
FCO -.08ns .08ns .12* -.03ns -.09ns 31ns
IRT 03ns 05ns 3 6ns .07ns 07ns .13**
IIM .02ns -.01ns .13* .06ns .11* .14**
ICO 03ns .01ns .10* 10* 12* 00ns
IPR -.31ns .35ns 04ns .32ns .03ns .12*
ICR -.11* -.03ns .03ns .18*** .13* 03ns
ns not significant
* p<.05 *** p< .001
p< .31 ? ? p< .0001
NAPP Need for Approval FAC Fac e saving ( cost)
NACH Need for Achievement EDG Ego defens i ve (cost)
COM Comparative appraisal SAT Feedback sa ti sfacti o
REF Referent appraisal
MON Monitoring (COM+REF) DIR Direct
IND INQ EVL
PEV Performance
FRT Formal
rating overall
l nquir y Indirect inquiry Inquiry (DIR+IND) Evaluative feedback
ratlng
examples FRW Formal right and
FXM Formal
COG Cognitive feedback
LEG Legitimate source
EXP Expert source
APP Approval (function)
FIM
FCO IRT -
wrong
- Formal how to improve
- Formal
comparison Informal
IIM Informal
rating how
improve
ICO Informal comparison
IPR Informal GOA Goal attainment (funct.) ICR Informal
praise criticism


Table 10 (continued)
IND INQ EVL COG LEG EXP
NACH
COM
REF
MON
DIR
IND
INQ 3 3 *
EVL 2 3 * 04ns
COG .11* -.38****
LEG .21**** -.12* .29**** -.15**
EXP .18*** -. 12* -.33ns .31ns -.17***
APP 41 * -.36 n s .24**** -.0 5ns 2 3 * 25**
GOA 23**** .14** -.39ns .21**** -.35ns 36ns
FAC # 4 4 ? 23**** .23**** -.18*** 929**** 24**
EGD .27**** -.01ns .19*** 3 4ns .11* .24**
SAT -.09ns -.09ns 3 2ns -.39ns 35ns -.12*
PEV .08ns 36ns -.34ns 32ns -.17** .31ns
FRT -.06ns -.13* 34ns .33ns 3 2ns .12*
FXM -.32ns -. 14* -.07ns .33ns .13 .38ns
FRW -.08ns -.17** -.3 2ns .13* -.01ns 17**
FIM .34ns 20*** -.03ns 10ns .32ns .15*
FCO 30ns -.01ns -.10ns -.3 2ns .01ns -.36ns
IRT 00ns 14** -. 31ns -.38 ns -.33ns -.33ns
I IM .02ns .17*** 0 2ns -.35ns -.3 Ins -.34ns
ICO .14** .09ns .39ns 01ns .03ns 3 5ns
IPR -. 33ns .11* .00ns -.37ns -.31ns -.01ns
ICR .37ns 06ns .3 2ns .37ns -.36ns .31ns


Table 13 (continued)
NACH
COM REF MON
DIR IND INQ EVL COG LEG EXP APP
APP
GOA
FAC
EGD
SAT
PEV
GOA -.22****
FAC 30****
EGD 75 * -.11* .34****
SAT -.13** 09ns -.01ns -.18***
PEV .07ns 02ns .05ns -.31ns .33ns
FRT -.31ns -.01ns 03ns .33ns 0 2ns -.16**
FXM .09ns 37ns -.0 2ns .04ns 10ns -.17**
FRW 33ns -.02ns -.3 2ns .01ns .02ns -.13ns
FIM 02ns .07ns .05ns .01ns -.05ns -.10ns
FCO .04ns -.31ns .03ns 00ns 06ns 33ns
IRT 01ns 04ns -.01ns .37ns .03ns .23**
I IM -.02ns 06ns .00ns .31ns -.34ns 11ns
ICO .10ns -.01ns .39ns -.01ns -.32ns .39ns
IPR 05ns .10ns -.05ns 00ns 33ns .16**
ICR .00ns -.38ns -.36ns .04 ns 38ns -.13ns


Table 13 (continued)
FRT FXM FRW
NACH
COM
REF
MON
DIR
IND
INQ
EVL
COG
LEG
EXP
APP
GOA
FAC
EGD
SAT
PEV
FRT
FXM 29****
FRW .27**** m48****
FIM 2 4 * 3 ^ ? 49****
FCO -.03ns .13* .03ns
IRT -.18** -.26**** -.28****
IIM -.11ns -.27**** -.33****
ICO 03ns -.11ns -.12*
IPR -.09ns 25**** -.24****
ICR .01ns .30ns -.16**
FIM
FCO
IRT
08ns
28**** 4 0 ? ? ?
07ns 28****
38ns
-.08ns -.16** -.26**** -.3 4ns -.05ns
52 32** 72** 13*


Table 10 (continued)
NACH COM
REF
MON
DIR
IND
INQ
EVL
COG
LEG
EXP
APP
GOA
FAC
EGD
SAT
PEV
FRT
FXM
FRW
FIM
FCO
IRT
IIM ICO IPR
I IM
ICO .31****
IPR .40**** .26****
ICR .32**** .34**** .12


75
correlations with the other feedback seeking strategies are
not significant.
Both Need for Approval and Need for Achievement are positively correlated with seeking cognitive feedback (r=.12, p<.05 and r=.20, p<.3031, respectively). While there is a significant negative correlation between Need for Achievement and seeking evaluative feedback (r=-.16, p<.31), the correlation between Need for Approval and seeking evaluative feedback is not significant.
The correlations between seeking feedback from an expert source and both Need for Approval and Need for Achievement are negative (r=-.18, p<.331 and r=-.13, p<.31).
Need for Approval is positively related to seeking feedback
from a legitimate source r=.15, p<.31); the correlation between Need for Achievement and seeking feedback from a legitimate source is not significant.
Performance evaluations are negatively related to seeking feedback from legitimate sources (r=-.17, p<.001), but there is no relationship between performance evaluations and seeking feedback from expert sources. None of the strategies and types of feedback are related to performance
The correlations provide some evidence regarding validity: variables that are independent should be uncorrelated, subscales which measure related behavior or
evaluations.
Validity and Potential Confounds


76
constructs should be positively correlated, and subscales which measure opposite behavior or constructs should be negatively correlated (Anastasi, 1986).
Need for Approval is significantly correlated with Need for Achievement (r=.40, p<.0001). Although they are theoretically independent, the correlation between these two needs indicate problems with construct validity. This could significantly confound tests of the hypotheses.
The correlations between Need for Approval and the functions of feedback and costs of seeking feedback are not significant. There are positive correlations among the functions and costs that characterize an approval dependent person (i.e., approval function, face saving cost and ego defensive cost) and a negative correlation of these characteristics and the goal function of feedback (see columns 1 through 4 on page 72). Moreover, the correlations between these characteristics and feedback seeking behavior are significant and in the directions consistent with the hypotheses (columns 3, 4, and 6 on page 70 and columns 1, and 3 through 6 on page 71). This pattern of correlations indicates potential problems in testing hypotheses related to Need for Approval and in interpreting the results obtained.
Overall, the correlations between Need for Achievement, functions of feedback, and costs of seeking feedback are consistent with previous theory and the relationships


hypothesized in this study (r=-.17, p<.301 for approval function; r=.14, p=.31 for goal function; r=-.23, p<.3331 for face saving cost; and non-significant for ego defensive cost). These correlations suggest that there should be no significant confounding of tests of the hypotheses related to Need for Achievement.
Comparative appraisal and referent appraisal are positively correlated (r=.35, p<.3301), referent appraisal negatively correlated with direct inquiry (rs-.27, p<.3031)f comparative appraisal is positively correlated with indirect inquiry (r=.13, p<05), and direct and indirect inquiry are negatively related (r=-.36, p<.3031). The monitoring strategies seem to be measuring similar feedback seeking strategies. However, the negative correlation between direct and indirect inquiry indicate that these subscales may be measuring different types of strategies.
Seeking evaluative feedback is negatively related to seeking cognitive feedback (r=-.38, p<.3031). Seeking feedback from a legitimate source is negatively correlated with seeking feedback from an expert source (r=-.17, p<.031). These relationships indicate that the scales are probably measuring different types of feedback and different sources of feedback.
There is only one significant correlation between individual needs and the current amount of feedback. Individuals high in Need for Approval tend to report


receiving more informal criticism from their supervisors (r=.ll, pf.05). The correlations between the goals and functions of feedback and reports of the current amount of formal and informal feedback are not significant. In addition, there are no significant correlations between goals and functions of feedback and performance evaluations. Need for Approval is not related to performance evaluations. However, Need for Achievement is significantly related to performance evaluation (r*.13, p<.05). Overall, this pattern of correlations suggests that information about they type and amount of current feedback and performance are probably not biased.
Current Feedback and Feedback Seeking Behavior
The correlations between both formal and informal feedback that respondents currently receive and feedback seeking behavior are predominantly negative (columns 3, 4 and 6 on page 70 and columns 1 and 3 through 6 on page 71). There are negative correlations between comparative appraisal and receiving criticism in formal evaluations (r=-.12, p<.05)and between direct inquiry and receiving specific information about performance (see column 6 on page 70). This indicates that greater amounts of formal feedback are associated with the reductions in feedback seeking behavior.
Informal feedback, however, tends to be associated with increases in the amount of feedback seeking behavior. Comparative appraisal is positively related to suggestions


79
for improvement (r=.13, p<.05) and comparisons with others (r=.10, p<.05); referent appraisal is correlated positively with comparison with others (r=.10, p<.05) and criticism (r=.18, p<.001). Direct inquiry is positively related to informal ratings (r=.13, p<.01)# suggestions for improvement (r=.14, p<.01) and praise (r=.12, p<.05). These correlations indicate that individuals who receive more informal feedback of various types tend to seek feedback more frequently.
There is only one significant correlation between current feedback and types of information sought. In that casef individuals who receive more formal information about what they have done right and wrong tend to seek more cognitive information (r=13, p<.05).
The correlations between current formal feedback and sources of feedback sought indicate that ratings (r=.15, p<.05), information about what they have done right and wrong (r=.17, p<.01), and suggestions for improvement (r=.15, p<.05) are associated with seeking feedback from expert sources. There are no relationships either between current feedback (both formal and informal) and seeking feedback from legitimate sources or between current informal feedback and seeking feedback from legitimate sources.
These correlations indicate that the type of current feedback is not systematically nor significantly related to differences in feedback seeking strategy, the type of


feedback sought, or the source from which feedback is sought.
Satisfaction with current feedback is correlated with comparative and referent appraisal (r=-.21, p<*0001 and r=
-.20, p<.0001) and with seeking feedback from an expert
source (r=.-.12, p<.05). However, feedback is not related
to the characteristics of current feedback.
The results of a series of regression analyses used to
test each of the fifteen hypotheses developed in Chapter 1
will be presented in the next chapter. A discussion of
those results will be presented in Chapter 4.


CHAPTER 3 RESULTS
This chapter contains the results of the data
analyses performed to test the hypotheses presented in
Chapter 1. The statistical procedure used to test the
hypotheses is described, each hypothesis is restated, and a
brief statement is made about the support found for each
hypothesis.
Statistical Procedure
Scores on all of the major variables in the study were
standardized with a mean of 0 and a standard deviation of 1
so that all variables would be on the same metric.
There are two prototypical hypotheses. The first is
exemplified by Hypothesis 1--Individuals who are high in
Need for Approval are more likely to use monitoring than
individuals who are high in Need for Achievement. Consider
the regressions of monitoring on Need for Approval and of
monitoring on Need for Achievement. Because all three
variables are standardized, each regression line must pass through the (0,0) point. Consequently, there are just three
possible patterns for the two regressions
In the first,
the two regression lines are conincident and consequently the hypothesis is not supported. In the second, the lines
81


82
cross at the (0,0) point and the slope for the regression of
monitoring on Need for Approval is larger than the slope for
the regression on Need for Achievement. Then the hypothesis
is supported. If the slope for the regression of monitoring
on Need for Approval is smaller than the slope for the regression on Need for Achievement, the hypothesis is not
supported.
Because there are only three possible outcomes for the
two regressions, the required test is of the null hypothesis
that the slopes are equal against the alternative hypothesis
that the slope of the regression of monitoring on Need for
Approval exceeds that for monitoring on Need for
Achievement. Moreover, since all of the variables are
standardized, the slopes of the regression lines are, in
fact, correlation coefficients. Consequently, what is
needed is a test of the null hypothesis that monitoring is
equally correlated with both needs versus the alternative
hypothesis that monitoring is more highly correlated with
Need for Approval.
Let Zl, Z2, and Z3 denote Need for Approval, Need for
Achievement, and monitoring, respectively. By simple
algebra, it can be shown that
p (Zl Z2, Z3) a p (Zl, Z3) p (Z2, Z3).
Consequently, the comparison of correlations can be
accomplished by testing the null hypothesis that monitoring
is uncorrelated with the difference between Need for


83
Approval and Need for Achievement against the alternative hypothesis that the correlation is positive.
Operationally, in this dissertation the hypothesis was tested by conducting three regression analyses: a) the regression of monitoring on Need for Approval, b) the regression of monitoring on Need for Achievement, and c) the regression of the difference between Need for Approval and Need for Achievement on monitoring. Hypothesis 1 would be supported if the slope for the first regression is larger than the slope for the second, and the slope in the third regression is significant at the .13 level* Of course, the first two regressions are not actually required to conduct the hypothesis test. All that is required is to test the appropriate directional hypothesis for the third regression. However, the first two regressions provide useful descriptive information.
The second type of hypothesis can be illustrated by Hypothesis 2--Individuals who are high in Need for Approval are more likely to use monitoring strategies than inquiry strategies. Here the required regressions are a) Need for Approval on monitoring, b) Need for Approval on inquiry, and c) Need for Approval on the monitoring-inquiry difference. This hypothesis would be supported if the slope for the
first regression is larger than the slope of the second, and the slope of the third is significant at the .10 level. All


84
that is required again is to test the appropriate directional hypothesis for the third regression.
Feedback Seeking Strategy
In order to provide a more meaningful and useful test
of these four hypotheses, monitoring and inquiry were broken
down into their two components (comparative and reflective
appraisal and direct and indirect inquiry, respectively).
The results of the regression analyses are presented in
Tables 11 through 13.
Hypothesis 1 Individuals who are high in Need for
Approval are more likely to use monitoring strategies than individuals who are high in Need for Achievement.
The results of the first two regressions in Table 11 show that the negative correlation between Need for Approval and comparative appraisal is significant (F-15.02, p<.0001); the correlation of Need for Achievement and comparative appraisal is not significant (F=0.50). The third model tested shows that there is a significant difference in the correlations obtained from the first two regressions (F=7.98, p.<.01), but the results are in the opposite direction from what was hypothesized.
The results of the first two regressions presented in Table 12 how that the negative correlation between Need for Approval and reflective appraisal is not significant (F = 1.94); the positive correlation between Need for Approval
and reflective appraisal is also not significant (F=2.65).


85
Table 11
Results of Regression Analysis for Comparative Appraisal Comparisons
Corrected
Total
COM
NAPP
Source DF Sum Sqs. Mean Sq. F
Model 1 14. 4597 14. 45970 15.02***
Error 359 345. 5403 0 9625
Corrected Root MSE
Total 360 360 0000 0.981075
COM NACH
Source DF Sum Sqs. Mean Sq. F
Model 1 0 4973 0 .49733 ns
Error 358 358 0436 1 .00012
359
358.5409
R-square 0.040166
R-square 0.001387
Root MSE 1.000061
Source Model Error Corrected
Total
DF 1
358
359
COM = DIFF
Sum
7.
Sqs. 8159
350.7250
358.5409
Mean Sq. 7. 81591 0.97968
F
7.98
R-square 0.021799
Root MSE 0.989787
ns
? *
? *
? ? ? *
not significant p<.05
p<.01 p<.001
P<.0001


Table 12
Results of Regression Analysis for Reflective Appraisal Comparisons
REF = NAPP
Source
Model
DF 1
Sum
1
Sqs. 9381
Mean Sq. 1.93806
F ns
R
0
Error 359 358. 0619 0.9974
Corrected Root MSE
Total 360 360. 0000 0.998693
REF = NACH
Source DF Sum Sqs. Mean Sq. F
Model 1 2. 6355 2.63554 ns
Error 358 356. 0018 0.99442
Corrected Root MSE
Total 359 358. 6374 0.997205
REF = DIFF
Source DF Sum Sqs. Mean Sq. F
Model 1 6. 8741 6.87409 7.00**
Error 358 351. 7633 0.98258
Corrected Root MSE
Total 359 358. 6374 0.991251
R
0
R
0
ns not significant
* p<.0 5
** p<.01
*** p<.001
**** p<.0001


While the results of the third regression equation show that the differences in the correlations obtained in the first two models is significant (F=7.00, p<.01), the relationship is opposite from the predicted direction.
Taken together, these two analyses do not provide
support for Hypothesis 1. While the use of monitoring
strategies differs significantly between those individuals
who are high in Need for Approval and those who are high in
Need for Achievement, the relationships are in the opposite
direction from those which were hypothesized. Individuals
who are high in Need for Approval do not use either
comparative appraisal or reflective appraisal more than
those who are high in Need for Achievement.
Hypothesis 2 Individuals who are high in Need for
Approval are more likely to use monitoring strategies than inquiry strateg ies.
Table 13 shows the results of the regression analysis for the comparison of comparative appraisal with direct inquiry. The F-values for comparative appraisal and direct inquiry are significant (F=15.02, p<.0001 and F=12.04, p<.001, respectively). The difference between the use of comparative appraisal and direct inquiry for individuals high in Need for Approval is significant (F=5.81, p<.05). While the difference is significant, the relationship is in the wrong direction. That is, individuals who are high in Need for Approval use more direct inquiry than comparative appraisal when seeking feedback.


88
Table 13
Results of Regression Analysis Comparing Comparative Appraisal with Direct Inquiry for
Individuals High in Need for Approval
Source Model Error Corrected
Total
DF 1
359
360
OM = NAPP
Sur
Sqs 14.4597 345.5402
360.0000
Mean Sqr. 14.459702 0.962508
F R-square 15.02*** 0.040166
Root MSE 0.981375
Source Model Error Corrected
Total
DF 1
359
360
DIR NAPP
Sura
Sqs, 11.58378 0.97325
360.00000
Mean Sqr. 11.680776
F R-square 12.34*** 0.332447
Root MSE 0.985012
Source Model Error Corrected
Total
DF 1
359
360
DIFF = NAPP
Sum
Sqs. 52.13283 660.62791
712.76073
Mean Sqr. 52.132926 1.840189
F R-square 28.33****0.073142
Root MSE 1.356536
ns *
* *
* *
not significant
p<.05
p<.01
p<.001
p<.0301


89
Table 14 contains the results which compare the use of
referent appraisal and direct inquiry. There is no
significant relationship between the use of reflective appraisal strategy and an individual's Need for Approval
(F = 1.94), but there is a significant positive correlation between direct inquiry and Need for Approval (Fs12.04, p<.001). The difference between the use of reflective appraisal and direct inquiry strategies is significant
(F=16.42, p<.0001). These results, however, show that the relationship is opposite of what was predicted. Individuals who are high in Need for Approval use more direct inquiry than reflective appraisal.
Table 15 contains the regression results comparing the use of comparative appraisal and indirect inquiry strategies. The relationships between Need for Approval and comparative appraisal and indirect inquiry are significant
(F=15.02, p<.0001 and F=7.25, p<.01, respectively). However, the difference between comparative appraisal and indirect inquiry strategies is not significant (F=0.72).
The results of the regression analysis for referent appraisal and indirect inquiry are presented in Table 16. This analysis shows that there is not a significant relationship between Need for Approval and the use of referent appraisal strategy (F=1.94). There is a significant negative relationship between Need for Approval and indirect inquiry (F=7.24,p<.01). The difference between


90
Table 14
Results of Regression Analysis Comparing Reflective Appraisal with Direct Inquiry for Individuals High in Need for Approval
REF = NAPP
Source DF Sum Sqs. Mean Sqr.
Model 1 1.93810 1.9380957
Error 359 358.06190 0.9973870
Corrected
Total 360 360.00000
DIR = NAPP
Source DF Sum Sqs. Mean Sqr.
Model 1 11.58078 11.680776
Error 359 0.97025
Corrected
Total 360 360.00000
DIFF = NAPP
Source DF Sum Sqs. Mean Sqr.
Model 1 23.13485 23.134850
Error 359 505.90953 1.409219
Corrected
Total 360 529.04438
F R-square 1.94** 0.005384
Root MSE 0.998693
F R-square 12.04*** 0.032447
Root MSE 0.985012
F R-square 16.42****0.043730
Root MSE 1.187105
ns not significant
* p<.05
** p<.01
*** p<.001
** p<.0001


91
Table 15
Results of Regression Analysis Comparing Comparative Appraisal with Indirect Inquiry for
Individuals High in Need for Approval
Source Model
Corrected
Total
COM NAPP
DF 1
Sum Sqs 14.4597
Mean Sqr. 14.459702
F
R-
15.02*** 0
square 040166
Error 359 345.5402 0.962508
Corrected Root MSE
Total 360 360.0000 0.981075
IND = NAPP
Source DF Sum Sqs. Mean Sqr. F R -square
Model 1 7.11485 7.114853 7.24** 0 .019763
Error 359 352.88515 0.982967
Corrected Root MSE
Total 360 360.00000 0.991447
DIFF i NAPP
Source DF Sura Sqs. Mean Sqr. F R -square
Model 1 1.28873 1.288732 ns 0 .001989
Error 359 646.69446 1.801377
360 647.98320
Root MSE 1.342154
ns *
*** ?
not significant p<.05
p<.01 p<.001 p<.0001


92
Table 16
Results of Regression Referent Appraisal with Individuals High in
Analysis
Indirect Inquiry Need for Approval
Comparing
for
REF NAPP
Source Model
DF 1
Sum Sqs. 1.93810
Mean Sqr. 1.9380957
F R-square 1.94** 0.005384
Error 359 358.06190 0.9973870
Corrected Root MSE
Total 360 360.00000 0.998692
IND = NAPP
Source DF Sum Sqs. Mean Sqr. F
Model 1 7.11485 7.114853 7.24**
Error 359 352.88515 0.982967
Corrected Root MSE
Total 360 360.00000 0.991447
DIFF = NAPP
Source DF Sum Sqs. Mean Sqr. F
Model 1 1.62617 1.626168 ns
Error 359 680.15595 1.894585
Corrected Root MSE
Total 360 681.78212 1.376439
R-square 0.019763
R-square 0.002385
ns
? *
? *
not significant p<.05
p<.01 p< .001
P<.0001