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The paradoxical consequences of leader feedback seeking for subordinates: a theoretical framework

The paradoxical consequences of leader feedback seeking for subordinates: a theoretical framework Scholars in the feedback seeking domain have predominantly focused on subordinate feedback seeking. The authors still know very little about feedback seeking when the leader is the “seeker” and subordinates are the “targets” of such seeking. This paper aims to develop a theoretical framework that explores the potential benefits and costs of leader feedback seeking, specifically, leader feedback inquiry for subordinates.Design/methodology/approachThe authors draw upon the transactional theory of stress to propose a framework in which leader feedback inquiry influences two subordinate behaviors (in-role and proactive skill development behaviors) via appraisal processes (challenge and threat appraisals). With insights from regulatory focus theory, the authors propose that individual characteristics, namely, the regulatory focus of subordinates (promotion and prevention focus), determine the appraisals of leader feedback inquiry, subsequently influencing subordinate behavioral outcomes.FindingsThe authors contend that leader feedback inquiry can be appraised as a challenge which then produces beneficial subordinate behaviors (i.e. higher in-role and proactive skill development behaviors). However, leader feedback inquiry can also be appraised as a threat which then elicits detrimental subordinate behaviors (i.e. lower in-role and proactive skill development behaviors). The authors then argue that subordinates with a high promotion focus appraise leader feedback inquiry as challenging, thereby enabling beneficial behaviors. Subordinates with a high prevention focus, by contrast, appraise leader feedback inquiry as threatening, thereby prompting detrimental behaviors.Originality/valueThe authors shed light on the benefits and costs of leader feedback seeking for subordinates. The resulting framework underlines the importance of including individual characteristics and cognitive appraisal processes in research investigating the effects of leader feedback inquiry on subordinate outcomes. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png European Journal of Training and Development Emerald Publishing

The paradoxical consequences of leader feedback seeking for subordinates: a theoretical framework

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References (105)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2046-9012
eISSN
2046-9012
DOI
10.1108/ejtd-07-2021-0101
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Scholars in the feedback seeking domain have predominantly focused on subordinate feedback seeking. The authors still know very little about feedback seeking when the leader is the “seeker” and subordinates are the “targets” of such seeking. This paper aims to develop a theoretical framework that explores the potential benefits and costs of leader feedback seeking, specifically, leader feedback inquiry for subordinates.Design/methodology/approachThe authors draw upon the transactional theory of stress to propose a framework in which leader feedback inquiry influences two subordinate behaviors (in-role and proactive skill development behaviors) via appraisal processes (challenge and threat appraisals). With insights from regulatory focus theory, the authors propose that individual characteristics, namely, the regulatory focus of subordinates (promotion and prevention focus), determine the appraisals of leader feedback inquiry, subsequently influencing subordinate behavioral outcomes.FindingsThe authors contend that leader feedback inquiry can be appraised as a challenge which then produces beneficial subordinate behaviors (i.e. higher in-role and proactive skill development behaviors). However, leader feedback inquiry can also be appraised as a threat which then elicits detrimental subordinate behaviors (i.e. lower in-role and proactive skill development behaviors). The authors then argue that subordinates with a high promotion focus appraise leader feedback inquiry as challenging, thereby enabling beneficial behaviors. Subordinates with a high prevention focus, by contrast, appraise leader feedback inquiry as threatening, thereby prompting detrimental behaviors.Originality/valueThe authors shed light on the benefits and costs of leader feedback seeking for subordinates. The resulting framework underlines the importance of including individual characteristics and cognitive appraisal processes in research investigating the effects of leader feedback inquiry on subordinate outcomes.

Journal

European Journal of Training and DevelopmentEmerald Publishing

Published: Feb 3, 2023

Keywords: Regulatory focus; Cognitive appraisals; Feedback inquiry; In-role behavior; Leader feedback seeking; Proactive skill development behavior

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