Feedback Acceptance: a New Conceptualization and Consideration of Individual Difference Effects

Date of Graduation

Spring 1997


Master of Science in Psychology



Committee Chair

Robert Jones


While a vast amount of research literature has focused on feedback acceptance, these studies yield mixed findings which may be a result of a vital element having been ignored. Existing research seems to point to individual differences as moderator variables in reactions to feedback and potential explanations for these mixed results (Ilgen, Fisher, & Taylor, 1979; Stone, Gueutal, & McIntosh, 1984; Sweeney & Wells, 1990). The impact of various individual differences on performance feedback acceptance was explored. Because the intended purpose of performance feedback in organizational settings is often to provoke changes in job behaviors, a multidimensional (cognitive, affective, and behavioral) approach to feedback acceptance was employed. Performance feedback acceptance was evaluated for 136 introductory psychology students (94 females and 42 males; mean age= 19.2 years) randomly assigned to either a positive or negative feedback condition. Contrary to hypotheses, individuals high in conscientiousness exhibited stronger cognitive reactions to feedback; that is, they were more cognitively accepting of positive feedback and less cognitively accepting of negative feedback than were their low conscientiousness counterparts. Emotional maturity was shown to influence behavioral feedback acceptance with individuals who were more emotionally mature indicating behavioral intent to improve effort. Self-efficacy had no effect on feedback acceptance. Findings also showed that individuals receiving negative feedback indicated greater intent to improve effort than did individuals receiving positive feedback.

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© Lonna J Anderson