April 13, 2016

Autonomy support may stimulate feedback seeking

Getting good feedback is essential for learning new things. Giving good feedback is therefore an important skill (here and here are a few ideas about how you might do that).

Giving feedback can probably become easier when the person who's learning asks for feedback. A new study suggests that autonomy support by supervisor makes employees who are new in a job ask for feedback more.

Self-Determined Feedback Seeking: The Role of Perceived Supervisor Autonomy Support 
Beenen, Pichler, & Levy (2016)

Abstract: We use self-determination theory (SDT) as a framework for investigating how perceived autonomy-supportive supervision positively influences conditions that motivate newcomer subordinates to engage in feedback seeking. Based on data collected from MBA interns at two time periods, perceived autonomy support predicted task autonomy, informal supervisor feedback, and subordinate relationship building, and the latter two mediated the relationship between autonomy support and feedback seeking. Our study provides an SDT perspective on newcomer socialization by highlighting the important role supervisor support for autonomy can play in motivating feedback seeking as a proactive socialization tactic. Organizations and human resources management professionals should consider including training around autonomy support in supervisory training programs.

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