Feedback inquiry is a proactive behaviour that is instrumental for gaining information about job performance. However, feedback inquiry also has a social component, especially in the context of flexible team-work environments. Feedback inquiry implies interacting with others, suggesting that relational considerations might affect whether individuals accept and apply feedback to improve their performance. Drawing on this relational perspective, we examined the role of attachment styles in employees' peer-focused feedback inquiry, as well as the subsequent association of feedback inquiry with job performance. We proposed that individuals higher in attachment anxiety would be more inclined to engage in feedback inquiry from peers, whereas those higher in attachment avoidance would be less likely to do so. We also proposed that individuals higher in attachment anxiety would benefit more from feedback inquiry, such that the association between feedback inquiry and performance is stronger for these individuals. Results from multi-source data from 179 employees in a flexible team-work environment and up to three of their peers generally supported these hypotheses. This study broadened our understanding of the dispositional antecedents of feedback inquiry, and suggests a boundary condition for when such behaviour is associated with enhanced job performance.

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ERIM Top-Core Articles
Human Relations
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Wu, C.-H., Parker, S., & de Jong, J. (2014). Feedback seeking from peers: A positive strategy for insecurely attached team-workers. Human Relations, 67(4), 441–464. doi:10.1177/0018726713496124