Understanding Heterogeneity in the Performance Feedback – Response Relationship: A Meta-Analysis


Organizational performance feedback theory (PFT), which is derived from the Behavioral Theory of the Firm, has emerged as a key perspective guiding studies investigating the effect of performance feedback on organizational responsiveness. While the PFT literature refers to a common core prediction - negative performance feedback induces more responsiveness than positive performance feedback does - empirical evidence reveals considerable conflicting findings. We propose a series of more refined predictions by considering the granularity of performance feedback information on the one hand, and the organizational context on the other hand. We test these refinements with various meta-analytic approaches, based on 263 effect sizes extracted from 156 studies. Our results demonstrate that organizational responsiveness to performance feedback is context and outcome dependent, with meta-analyzed effect sizes ranging from -0.106 to 0.055. Our findings reveal that both granularity of performance feedback information (feedback valence, aspiration level, performance domain) and the organizational context (organizational age, form of ownership, environmental turbulence) are systematically related to heterogeneity in the performance feedback-responsiveness relationship. These results support our contention that more refined models of organizational performance feedback are needed.

In Academy of Management Proceedings