Nathalie Houlfort, Caroline Marcoux & Richard Koestner
McGill University, Department of Psychology, Montreal (QC), Canada

E-mail:nhoulf@ego.psych.mcgill.ca

 

THE IMPACT OF FEEDBACK ON MOTIVATION:
ON THE MODERATING EFFECT OF THE EMPLOYEE-SUPERVISOR RELATIONSHIP

 

In the present day, companies are aware that motivation is not just a question of quantity, but also of quality. Thus, they wish to increase employee's self-determined motivation towards their work, which was proven to be linked with more positive outcomes (e.g. work satisfaction, physical and psychological well-being) than non self-determined motivation. One way to increase employee's motivation is by providing them with feedback on their performance. However, does feedback always increase self-determined motivation? This study sought to assess whether or not the quality of the employee-supervisor relationship acts as a moderator variable in the feedback-motivation relation. A significant feedback by quality of the employee-supervisor relationship interaction was found, such that giving feedback to employees who have a good relationship with their supervisor will lead to an increase in self-determined motivation, whereas feedback will lead to non self-determined motivation when employees perceive their relationship with their supervisor as bad. These findings suggest that feedback does increase motivation, but enhancement of self-determined motivation is realized only when feedback is used in conjunction with acknowledging workers' sense of self. Otherwise, feedback will lead to a more detrimental type of motivation, one that is harmful to workers' psychological and physical well-being.