Nicole Nikiforow, Sebastian Wagener: The contextual effect of completion on the effectiveness of performance feedback


This study investigates the varying effects of performance feedback on performance, depending on the task context. Specifically, we analyze the state of completion (of a product or process) as an essential dimension of the task context. Using a laboratory experiment with a folding task, we predict and find that performance is lower under completion compared to non-completion. Further, we predict and find that the effect of performance feedback on performance differs, depending on the state of completion. Specifically, we find that performance feedback improves performance under completion. Performance feedback, however, is overall ineffective for non-completion. Our results extend research on the interplay between feedback and contextual factors within firms by providing initial evidence of the impact of the state of completion. In addition, our study has important implications for performance feedback design choices.