Publication Type

Journal Article

Version

Publisher’s Version

Publication Date

1-2018

Abstract

The present research shows that managers communicate negative feedback ineffectively because they suffer from transparency illusions that cause them to overestimate how accurately employees perceive their feedback. We propose that these illusions emerge because managers are insufficiently motivated to engage in effortful thinking, which reduces the accuracy with which they communicate negative feedback to employees. Six studies (N = 1883) using actual performance appraisals within an organization and role plays with MBA students, undergraduates, and online participants show that transparency illusions are stronger when feedback is negative (Studies 1–2), that they are not driven by employee bias (Study 3), and occur because managers are insufficiently motivated to be accurate (Studies 4a–c). In addition, these studies demonstrate that transparency illusions are driven by more indirect communication by the manager and how different interventions can be used to mitigate these effects (Studies 4a–c). An internal meta-analysis including 11 studies from the file drawer (N = 1887) revealed a moderate effect size (d = 0.43) free of publication bias.

Keywords

Feedback, Performance Appraisal, Illusion of Transparency, Bias, Accountability, Incentives, Communication Directness

Discipline

Organizational Behavior and Theory

Research Areas

Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources

Publication

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes

Volume

144

First Page

171

Last Page

186

ISSN

0749-5978

Identifier

10.1016/j.obhdp.2017.09.002

Publisher

Elsevier

Embargo Period

2-6-2018

Copyright Owner and License

Authors

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.obhdp.2017.09.002

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