Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

9-2017

Abstract

The present research showsthat managers communicate negative feedback ineffectively because they sufferfrom transparency illusions that cause them to overestimate how accuratelyemployees perceive their feedback. We propose that these illusions emerge because managers areinsufficiently motivated to engage in effortful thinking, which reduces theaccuracy with which they communicate negative feedback to employees. Sixstudies (N=1,954) using actualperformance appraisals within an organization and role plays with MBA students,undergraduates, and online participants show that transparency illusions are stronger when feedbackis negative (Studies 1-2), that they are not driven by employee bias (Study 3),and occur because managers are insufficiently motivated to be accurate (Studies4a-c). In addition, these studies demonstrate that transparency illusions are driven by more indirect communicationby the manager and how different interventions can be used to mitigate theseeffects (Studies 4a-c). An internal meta-analysis including 11 studies from thefile drawer (N=2,082) revealed a moderate effect size (d=.43) free of publication bias.

Keywords

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

Discipline

Organizational Behavior and Theory | Organization Development

Research Areas

Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources

Publication

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes

ISSN

0749-5978

Publisher

Elsevier

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.

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