Positive / Negative Feedback – Or Just Feedback?

Hackman and Oldham (1976) * identified five factors that enable a person to enrich their job and role:

  • Using a number of skills during the task
  • Completing the entire task rather than segments or small components
  • Understanding the impact of the task on the key stakeholders, both internally and externally to the organization
  • Providing the task holder with increased decision-making and autonomy in completing the task
  • Increasing the feedback provided during and after the task

Regarding feedback, is it positive or negative?  It is neither.  It is what it is, an observation of someone’s behaviour or performance. Good feedback should be given as soon as an event occurs – not at the end of the year during a formal appraisal session. 

Before we can either give or receive feedback between two individuals, there has to be a relationship between them.  If this does not exist then the feedback will not be internalized, or at worse, seen as an attack on someone’s character.

* Hackman, J. R., & Oldham, G. R. (1976). Motivation through the design of work: Test of a theory. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 16, 250-279.

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