Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy



Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Therese Macan, PhD


James Breaugh, Ph.D.

Stephanie Merritt, Ph.D.

Deborah Balser, Ph.D.


The face-to-face feedback element of performance appraisal has been described as the “Achilles’ heel” of the entire process. Specifically, the upward distortion of ratings made for feedback purposes is believed to be a pervasive effect. Two studies were conducted to explore factors to help understand the upward distortion of ratings that must be fed back – the first using a survey design from actual work settings and the second conducted as a laboratory experiment. Findings in the first study revealed that, regardless of feedback valence, upward rating distortion was minimized as positive emotions and supervisor beliefs of beneficial outcomes increased, and as negative emotion and supervisor beliefs of harmful outcomes decreased. In the second study, beliefs of beneficial outcomes led to increased levels of hope, decreased levels of anxiety, and less upward rating distortion than beliefs of harmful outcomes. For beliefs of harmful outcomes, ratings were higher when made for face-to-face than anonymous purposes; however, differences in ratings were minimal for beliefs of beneficial outcomes regardless of feedback requirement.

OCLC Number


Included in

Psychology Commons