The Performance Effects of Narrative Feedback

49 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2021 Last revised: 6 Jul 2022

See all articles by Jan Hendrik Lampe

Jan Hendrik Lampe

WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management

Utz Schäffer

WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management

Daniel Schaupp

WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management

Date Written: June 23, 2022

Abstract

This paper investigates how narrative feedback affects employee performance. We build on affective events and cognitive self-regulation theory to investigate the effects of three narrative feedback message characteristics (i.e., valence, specificity, and causal language use) on employees’ performance improvements. Using archival data from a European e-commerce company, we find that receiving feedback with a negative valence can decrease the likelihood of performance improvements. Furthermore, we find that while higher specificity in feedback on strengths and higher causal language use in feedback on weaknesses can positively affect performance improvement, higher specificity in feedback on weaknesses and causal language use in feedback on strengths can have adverse effects. In additional analyses, we show differing effects of narrative feedback for employees who receive positive or negative feedback surprises. These findings advance our understanding of whether and how narrative feedback can be valuable for employee development.

Keywords: performance feedback, narrative feedback, textual feedback, performance management

JEL Classification: C99, J24, M12, M41, M51

Suggested Citation

Lampe, Jan and Schäffer, Utz and Schaupp, Daniel, The Performance Effects of Narrative Feedback (June 23, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3825100 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3825100

Jan Lampe

WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management ( email )

Burgplatz 2
Vallendar, 56179
Germany
+492616509476 (Phone)

Utz Schäffer

WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management ( email )

Burgplatz 2
Vallendar, D-56179
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.whu.edu/controlling

Daniel Schaupp (Contact Author)

WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management ( email )

Burgplatz 2
Vallendar, 56179
Germany

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