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What happens after the developmental assessment center? Employees' reactions to unfavorable performance feedback

I.J. Hetty van Emmerik (Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands)
Arnold B. Bakker (Institute of Psychology, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Martin C. Euwema (Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 23 May 2008

Abstract

Purpose

Departing from Hobfoll's conservation of resources theory, the paper aims to examine the relationship between resource losses (excessive job demands and unfavorable performance feedback) on the one hand, and negative job attitudes (dissatisfaction, reduced commitment, intention to leave) and burnout (exhaustion, cynicism, and reduced personal accomplishment) on the other hand.

Design/methodology/approach

The sample included surveys from 272 male constabulary officers who had participated in a developmental assessment center. Data were analyzed using hierarchical regression.

Findings

The results showed direct associations between resource losses and negative outcomes. There were indications for the development of loss spirals for four out of six negative outcomes. Specifically, these relationships between job demands and negative outcomes were stronger for those officers receiving unfavorable feedback than for officers not receiving unfavorable feedback.

Practical implications

Employees confronted with excessive job demands and unfavorable developmental assessment center (DAC) feedback were most vulnerable to combined resource losses, and this experience was associated with negative outcomes (i.e. more dissatisfaction, less affective commitment, more emotional exhaustion, and more cynicism).

Originality/value

The unique contribution of this study is that, besides balancing the benefits of using DACs with the costs of implementation, it is emphasized that it is important to anticipate consequences of unfavorable feedback. Moreover, the disappointment and association with negative outcomes should be explicitly considered in the design of the DAC.

Keywords

Citation

Hetty van Emmerik, I.J., Bakker, A.B. and Euwema, M.C. (2008), "What happens after the developmental assessment center? Employees' reactions to unfavorable performance feedback", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 27 No. 5, pp. 513-527. https://doi.org/10.1108/02621710810871826

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited