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  • Sahil Shaikh

Learning : Feedback and Failure

There is an urgent need for us to expand our knowledge of the differential consequences of feedback and failures. Specifically, the need to elaborate on how conscientiousness and extraversion contribute to illustrate whether employees gain from failure and feedback for forthcoming responsibilities. In line with a hypothesis, it can be declared that employees who are highly conscientious and/ or highly extraverted are more likely to learn from feedback and failure than their counterparts. In today’s article, we will discuss and derive practical implications on how failure feedback can evoke defensive reactions and employees may infer that they are perceived as not committed to the task at hand or that they lack aptitude which can compromise their motivation to learn and discourage adaptation and improvement

Feedback: Expression and Emotion

Feedback is an essential element for effective functioning of any organization. The aim of any progressive feedback is to boost and encourage employees to make them strive harder and set more challenging goals. Failure feedback–i.e., feedback citing that an employee’s past performance does not meet forecasted expectations–is thought to create awareness for disparity between what has been achieved and what is expected and to motivate employees to work harder, learn, and adapt to their behavioral action and approaches.

Past studies always indicate that failure feedback often does not have the intended consequences. In fact, a considerable amount of studies has revealed that failure feedback may have no effect at all and can even damage the ensuing performance of feedback recipients. One core cause of this is that failure feedback not only provides guidance learning and adaptation but can also arouse dissatisfaction, prompt defensive reactions AND disapproval and interfere with motivation and adaptation among the feedback received by the employees. Elaborating on what determines the consequences of failure feedback, contextual factors, such as the credibility and quality of the feedback provided can help to explain how employees react to failure feedback. Exploring how employees’ individual differences affect the consequences of feedback.

Focusing on conscientiousness and extraversion seems beneficial for several reasons. First, the two personality traits are widely recognized as particularly important in the work context. Second, both personality traits encompass aspects of achievement motivation and have been connected to the learning goal orientation of employees which has previously been identified as a relevant precursor to the consequences of failure feedback.

Theory and Hypothesis

Failure feedback is widely recognized as decisive for attaining long-term effectiveness in organizational conditions and ambience, as it helps to re direct the efforts of employees and motivate them to learn and improve their performance. Nonetheless, failure feedback does not always have these expected or calculated consequences. Clearly, failure feedback can be of developmental value, as it may help the employees to accept certain notions and illustrate the probable justifications for failure, which can guide transformations to behavioral strategies.

However, failure feedback is also always unpleasant, creates dissatisfaction and can be perceived as a threat to one’s self- esteem. As such, failure feedback can evoke defensive reactions and recipients may infer that they are perceived as not committed to the task at hand or that they lack aptitude, which can compromise their motivation to learn and discourage adaptation and improvement. Mirroring this ambiguity, studies reveal that failure feedback can help to stimulate learning and improvement but may also impair or have no effect on subsequence performance Scholars have thus called for further research to identify what determines the performance implications of failure feedback. Responding to these scholarly calls, we elaborate on why we expect the personality of feedback recipients to play an important role in this regard.

Specifically, how differences in transient dispositions, such as administrative focus and learning goal, can affect whether employees learn from failure feedback.

Conscientiousness and failure feedback learning

Conscientiousness reflects the extent to which employees are ambitious, hard-working, perseverant, and disciplined in focusing on goals, As such, conscientiousness is widely recognized as the most consistent predictor performance in various work contexts and has been connected to employee differences in learning goal orientation. Building on these insights, we anticipate that conscientiousness plays a significant role in explaining whether individuals learn from failure feedback. Specifically, we suggest that conscientiousness will stimulate learning, as reflected in the relationship between failure feedback and subsequent task performance.

When conscientiousness is high, employees have a firm and steady appetited achieve, preserve and control high performance standards, and lean towards perfection. Confronted with feedback indicating that an outcome generated does not meet expectations, highly conscientious individuals will thus likely feel tension and the pressure to improve and take steps to learn and hone their capabilities. Given that highly conscientious employees tend to be well organized, they should also be able to effectively orchestrate their learning activities to enhance their future performance.

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