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The impact of feedback frequency on learning and task performance: Challenging the “more is better” assumption

  • Lam, Chak Fu
  • DeRue, D. Scott
  • Karam, Elizabeth P.
  • Hollenbeck, John R.
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    Previous research on feedback frequency suggests that more frequent feedback improves learning and task performance (Salmoni, Schmidt, & Walter, 1984). Drawing from resource allocation theory (Kanfer & Ackerman, 1989), we challenge the “more is better” assumption and propose that frequent feedback can overwhelm an individual’s cognitive resource capacity, thus reducing task effort and producing an inverted-U relationship with learning and performance over time. We then propose that positive and negative affective states will moderate the inverted-U relationship between feedback frequency and task performance. We test these propositions in an experimental study where the frequency of task feedback is manipulated. Results show that feedback frequency exhibits an inverted-U relationship with task performance, and this relationship is mediated by task effort. This curvilinear relationship is then moderated by individual’s positive affective state.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749597811000513
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

    Volume (Year): 116 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 217-228

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:116:y:2011:i:2:p:217-228
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/obhdp

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    1. Kluger, Avraham N. & Lewinsohn, Shai & Aiello, John R., 1994. "The Influence of Feedback on Mood: Linear Effects on Pleasantness and Curvilinear Effects on Arousal," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 276-299, November.
    2. Bandura, Albert, 1991. "Social cognitive theory of self-regulation," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 248-287, December.
    3. Lurie, Nicholas H. & Swaminathan, Jayashankar M., 2009. "Is timely information always better? The effect of feedback frequency on decision making," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 315-329, March.
    4. Vancouver, Jeffrey B. & Morrison, Elizabeth Wolfe, 1995. "Feedback Inquiry: The Effect of Source Attributes and Individual Differences," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 276-285, June.
    5. Podsakoff, Philip M. & Farh, Jiing-Lih, 1989. "Effects of feedback sign and credibility on goal setting and task performance," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 45-67, August.
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