This paper investigates image cost as a potential downside of proactivity. Drawing on attribution theory, we examine how people construct subjective evaluations of one manifestation of proactivity, feedback-seeking behaviour. Using a scenario methodology, we examined how employees' performance history, their manager's implicit person theory (IPT), and the frequency of their feedback-seeking affect how managers evaluate employees' feedback seeking. Results indicate that manager attribute average performers' feedback seeking significantly less to performance-enhancement motives than superior performers' seeking. Results further show that the frequency of feedback seeking and a manager's IPT interact in influencing managers' attributions for feedback seeking, with more entity oriented managers attributing frequent feedback seeking significantly more to impression-management motives than infrequent feedback requests. These results highlight the importance of not only the instrumental benefits of employee proactivity, but also its potential costs.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||23|
|Journal||Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology|
|State||Published - Jun 2010|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Psychology
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management