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Effects of Specific Versus Nonspecific and Absolute Versus Comparative Feedback on Performance and Satisfaction.

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Final rept. 1 Jul 75-30 Sep 76,

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The first portion of this report focused on intrinsic motivation as a possible approach to improving the motivation and productivity of Air Force personnel. While it was acknowledged that our knowledge of intrinsic motivation is limited, it was concluded that the use of intrinsic determiners offers great potential for improving motivation, and hence productivity. A list of these factors was generated from reviewing the literature and by intuitive analysis. For this report, performance feedback was selected for further study. Various dimensions of feedback were then identified and defined. In addition, a number of psychological processes were outlined in terms of their possible relationships with feedback. Two dimensions of feedback were then selected and manipulated in an experimental setting. The first dimension, specificity, varied the amount of information subjects received about the types of errors they made. The second dimension was absolute versus comparative feedback. Subjects were either given only their own performance data or their own plus their relative standing in their work group. Results showed a positive effect for feedback on both performance and errors. Nonspecific feedback was found to contribute most to increases in performance and reduction in errors, and within the nonspecific condition comparative was found to be superior. Results are also presented which attempt to explain the findings in terms of the psychological processes outlined earlier. It was concluded that increasing performance feedback shows good potential for ultimately enhancing productivity in Air Force field settings. Author

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  • Humanities and History
  • Psychology

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