Contextual and individual difference factors related to motivation to provide accurate upward feedback ratings

Austin Fentress Ray Smith


The main criticism of upward feedback systems is that participants typically do not provide honest, or, therefore, accurate ratings. Although theory and research have examined antecedents of rater motivation in downward ratings and rater participation in upward ratings, no research has examined similar antecedents of rater motivation in an upward feedback context. In the current study, survey data collected from a demographically diverse sample ( N = 203) of hospital employees was used to examine a proposed expectancy-based model of the contextual and individual difference predictors of motivation to provide accurate upward feedback ratings. The perceived consequences (i.e., perceived benefits/fear of retaliation) of providing accurate upward feedback mediated the relationships between rater motivation and organizational trust, understanding of upward feedback, and opportunity to observe. Also, rater self-efficacy mediated the relationship between rater motivation and understanding of upward feedback and opportunity to observe. Furthermore, conscientiousness related positively to rater motivation. Neither rating purpose nor self-monitoring related to one's motivation to provide accurate upward feedback ratings. By considering the results of this study in the design and implementation of future upward feedback systems, practitioners may be able to enhance the motivation of upward raters, and, thus, the success of these systems.