• Shifting focus: Antecedents and outcomes of proactive feedback seeking from peers

      De Stobbeleir, Katleen; Ashford, Susan; Zhang, C. (Human Relations, 2020)
      Are there benefits to seeking feedback from peers, or is it not worth the time and effort as employees sometimes believe? If there are benefits, does it matter in teams both with and without formal supervisors, and what contextual conditions facilitate such seeking? These questions motivate the current research. Based on the theoretical differences between peers and supervisors as targets of feedback seeking, we adopt a cost-value perspective to examine whether task interdependence and psychological safety affect the seeking of feedback from peers in a team. We also assess whether such seeking creates value for the seeker him-/herself (by having a cross-source effect on the supervisor’s evaluations) and for the collective (by impacting the team’s creativity). We test these ideas in two studies. In a sample of 209 employee-supervisor dyads (Study 1), we find that employees seek more peer feedback when tasks are interdependent, especially when they perceive their working environment as psychologically safe, and that supervisors view employees who seek more peer feedback as better team contributors. Then, in a longitudinal sample of 88 self-managed MBA consulting teams (Study 2), we find that the average level of peer feedback seeking in a team enhances the team’s creativity. Our findings highlight the power of seeking feedback from peers as well as the context factors shaping it.