Eager or Vigilant? A Meta-Analytic Review of Organizational Responses to Performance Feedback
Department of Management
The notion that performance shortfalls trigger problemistic search and strategic change is the main premise of performance feedback theory and has inspired a burgeoning strand of literature. The empirical findings it produced, however, do not unequivocally support this claim and recent research has suggested that social and historical performance feedback might trigger different behavioral responses. To provide and explanation for these contradictory results, we draw upon regulatory focus theory and argue that historical performance shortfalls trigger eager strategies focused on change while social performance shortfalls trigger vigilant strategies focused on stability. Our meta-analytic synthesis of 54 primary performance feedback studies supports this idea and shows that organizations respond differently to social and historical performance feedback, with varying degrees of problemistic search and strategic change.