Does constructive feedback improve idea quality in idea contests? Exploring the role of hierarchy and feedback overlap
Publication typeVlerick strategic journal article
JournalR & D Management
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractTo fuel the innovation process with high-quality ideas, firms are increasingly soliciting ideas from their employee workforce and involving them in idea contests. During an idea contest employees suggest ideas on a firm-internal, digital idea platform. Once submitted, idea holders can receive constructive feedback from colleagues on their ideas – which has been advanced as positive instrument for stimulating idea improvement and idea quality. Examining three firm-internal, multi-staged idea contests that generated 395 ideas from a global management consulting firm, we examine under what conditions constructive feedback positively influences idea quality. We focus on the hierarchical roles of feedback providers and receivers and the role of feedback overlap (which indicates whether feedback focuses on similar issues). We find that the effect of constructive feedback on idea quality is larger when feedback providers have a higher hierarchical rank, but that this effect does not depend on the hierarchical rank of feedback recipients. Further, we show that (partial) feedback overlap strengthens idea quality. Our results generate new insights for both idea-contributing employees and innovation managers about the important role of managing feedback during idea contests.
Knowledge Domain/IndustryOperations & Supply Chain Management