Individual assessment for development reflects a large and growing investment by organizations in their leaders and high potential personnel. A critical component in effectively directing leader development is providing feedback based on assessment results. This study examines the effect of including two features in written developmental feedback, namely a graphical display and development suggestions, on important feedback outcomes. A 2x2 experimental design was utilized randomizing the inclusion of graphs and development suggestions as conditions. 311 undergraduate students completed personality scales relevant to leadership and received feedback in a leader development context. They also completed general personality questionnaires and provided their ACT scores as a measure of cognitive ability. Participants then responded to items addressing important feedback reactions, including feedback acceptance, gaining insight, and intentions to improve. They also drafted free response behavioral plans to improve their leadership based on the feedback they received for each of four leader characteristics. One week later, participants responded to items which assessed the accuracy of their feedback recall. Results indicate that graphical displays of results promote more accurate recall of one's standing relative to meaningful referent groups and may help illuminate important goal-state discrepancies. Additionally, the results showed a positive effect of development suggestions on gaining insight from the feedback and driving the direction of behavioral development intentions. Thus both of these features can be useful for driving behavior change following developmental assessment and feedback. Personality and cognitive ability were also found to impact the reception and retention of feedback. These results can inform how practitioners should communicate written personality feedback to recipients to ensure maximum value. Such implementation would be particularly beneficial for participants of psychological assessment in business contexts where subsequent development is often considered a critical outcome.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. November 2013. Major: Psychology. Advisor: Nathan R. Kuncel. 1 vcomputer file (PDF); ix, 160 pages, appendices A-C.
Higdem, Jana L..
Making feedback compelling: examining the format of written development feedback to promote feedback insight and retention.
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