How future work selves guide feedback seeking and feedback responding at work

Frederik Jacques C Anseel, Karoline Strauss, Filip Lievens

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

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Theoretical work has sought to understand how the self is implied in feedback processes by drawing on self-motives research in social psychology. A central assumption of this line of work is that feedback is essentially a self-related phenomenon and that the effectiveness of the feedback process depends on the dynamics of the self. According to this perspective, how people deal with feedback depends on a complicated interplay of competing self-motives, with performance improvement resulting only when self-improvement motives outperform self-enhancement motives. The present conceptual work extends the self-related perspective on feedback processes by putting future work selves forward as a mechanism to explain why and when self-improvement strivings may prevail over self-enhancement strivings in feedback processing. Drawing on construal level theory, which proposes that psychologically distant situations are construed on a higher level (i.e., using more abstract and central features) than more proximal situations, we propose that future work selves determine the construal level at which feedback is processed. The central premise of the current theoretical perspective is that activation of future work selves is likely to increase psychological distance, thereby shifting the focus to a high-level construal and downplaying self-enhancement strivings relative to self-improvement strivings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Self at Work: Fundamental Theory and Research
EditorsD Lance Ferris, Russell E Johnson, Constantine Sedikides
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9781138648227
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

Publication series

NameSIOP Organizational Frontiers Series


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