The purpose of this paper is to examine whether the presence of an audience inhibits or facilitates feedback-seeking behaviors.
A sample of 148 employees completed a survey questionnaire regarding feedback-seeking behaviors. Perceived value of public and private feedback, public self-consciousness (PSC), and tolerance for ambiguity were used to predict public or private feedback-seeking behaviors. Hierarchical multiple regression were used to test the hypotheses.
Statistically significant relationships were found between perceived value of public feedback, PSC, tolerance for ambiguity, and public feedback seeking. Subsequently, statistically significant relationships were only found between perceived value of private feedback, tolerance for ambiguity, and private feedback seeking.
Future research should focus on how individuals respond to less privacy in the workplace in regards to feedback-seeking behaviors.
Many more companies are moving to open office spaces and cubicles which suggest there is less privacy for employees to seek feedback. This study found that employees do make a distinction when seeking feedback in a public or private context.
This is the first field study to identify specific antecedents relating to seeking feedback in a public or private context. With this study, the feedback context becomes another important variable in understanding how an individual's feedback environment may relate to feedback seeking.
Thank you to Marcia Simmering, Timothy Chandler, Hettie Richardson, and Kevin Mossholder for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper.
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